My son and I took a visit to the Edithvale Seaford Wetlands Discovery Centre last Sunday for a spot of bird watching. To our delight we found the sustainably built centre commissioned by Melbourne Water, houses much more than a bird watching platform.
The Edithvale Seaford Wetlands Discovery Centre, an interesting state-of-the-art building located in Melbourne's South East, opens its doors to the public (FREE entry) every Sunday from 1.00 - 5.00pm.
It is designed to educate school groups and the local community in the role the wetlands and waterways play, manned by the Friends of the Edithvale Seaford Wetlands (FESW) and Melbourne Water on alternate weekends
Its panoramic windows provide a beautiful view of the wetlands, with sloped windows which apparently ensure external reflections are always of the ground, never of the sky, to avoid confusing the birds and causing injury. Binoculars are provided, as well as detailed summaries of the birds that can be found in the wetlands. A camera connected to an interactive touch screen map focuses in on areas of the wetlands for wildlife close-ups.
Illustrative displays are installed throughout the centre, covering indigenous history, interesting facts, photographs of the area's history, information relating to plants and animals that live in a wetland, and how the wetlands work.
There are small plastic jars of preserved wildlife, fauna and bugs and a small selection of fossils that have been found in the area.
Following sustainability guidelines, the majority of the construction of the Edithvale Seaford Wetlands Discovery Centre took place over autumn and winter 2010/2011 to avoid interrupting birds that visit during the warmer months. The centre has rainwater tanks, solar panels, a raingarden and composting toilets (which absolutely fascinated my 5yr old).
On the day of our visit, Melbourne Water staff were manning the centre, on hand to answer visitors questions. I asked which bird is the rarest seen in the wetlands, to which I was told The Australasian Bittern.
And on the far side of these same wetlands, one can find the Friends of Edithvale-Seaford Wetlands manning a bird hide with much closer bird viewing. For times they are open and further information, search on Facebook for their page...