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Bicentennial Waterbird Habitat

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by Rachel Timmins (subscribe)
I am a senior writer for Weekend Notes, a copywriter, editor, published poet and former editor of poetry magazine Fruit Salad. I have also authored children's fiction and inspirational pieces.
Published June 3rd 2020
Honk if you love geese
Bicentennial Waterbird Habitat Toowoomba
The Bicentennial Waterbird Habitat, Rangeville, Toowoomba.

The Bicentennial Waterbird Habitat is an important sanctuary for many species of birds and reptiles. The beautiful lakes are designed to mimic natural wetlands. There are three shallow lakes and one lagoon. Feeding, roosting and nesting are all catered to in the birds' natural habitat. Grassland, mud-banks, reeds and islands make up some of the natural formations of the park. The lakes never run dry as they are spring-fed.

Purple Swamphen Waterbird Habitat Toowoomba
These colourful purple swamphens are easy to spot.

The wildlife viewing observatory minimises human impact as you spy out the purple swamphens. The swamphen looks bluer to me, but have a sweet disposition unless you disturb their nests, which makes them shriek. The nests are formed by trampling reeds and the surrounding vegetation is used as protection. There was one fluffy youngster visible the day I visited. Swamphens may mate twice a year, with up to twelve birds in one group. They eat the soft shoots of reeds, frogs, snails and other small animals.

Waterbird Habitat viewing observatory
The wildlife viewing observatory minimises human impact.

Waterbird Habitat feeding boardwalk Toowoomba
Feeding the birds is a relaxing way to enjoy the fresh air and sunshine.

Feeding the birds from the boardwalk, you can see white geese, maned geese, diver ducks, ibis, purple swamphens, pacific black ducks and mooching Indian Minas. The pacific black duck is common and feeds on the seeds of aquatic plants and insects as well as crustaceans and molluscs which it locates by dabbling, ie plunging its head underwater. During mating season these ducks will perform bobbing, preening and wing-flapping. You may also spot herons or turtles. Wading birds feed around the mud-banks.

waterbirds habitat Toowoomba feeding boardwalk view
Some of the waterbirds which you might see from the boardwalk.

Bicentennial Waterbird Habitat Toowoomba walks
Take the children exploring around one of the many bushwalks.

Take the children exploring around one of the many bushwalks, or circumnavigate the whole 19 acres. Native trees and plants are an added delight. The Bicentennial Waterbird Habitat has no barbeque facilities but there are picnic tables and on the west end there is a charming, shaded bridge plus an expansive lawn for Frisbee-throwing. If you're simply out for a walk or jog, there is a path crossing the park from MacKenzie to Alderley Sts, under the lofty eucalypts.

Ibis sculpture Waterbird Habitat Toowoomba
An ibis sculpture adds a touch of art to the middle lake.

The Bicentennial Waterbird Habitat on East Creek was established in 1988 as part of the Australian Bicentennial Celebrations. Late last century, market gardens were planted along the creek. A well was added by the Chinese market gardeners and is located near the middle lake.

Bring a picnic lunch and wear a hat. No pets, please. Ample parking. In the quiet suburb of Rangeville, the Bicentennial Waterbird Habitat is ideal for family fun in the winter sun.

Bicentennial Waterbird habitat Toowoomba bridge walk
The shady bridge on the western end of the Waterbird Habitat.
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Why? Family fun in the winter sun, discover the waterbirds and their habitat.
Phone: 131 872
Where: 10 Waterbird Dve, Rangeville, Toowoomba
Cost: Free
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