19 October, 2011

Another hidden gem

Today I rediscovered a lake which I had not visited for more than ten years; and in the bright sunshine of our first 30 degree day of the season, Blue Waters Lake in Ocean Grove did indeed sparkle like a jewel - a sapphire.
Blue Waters Lake, Ocean Grove
This very pretty little lake is another of the wetlands which drains ultimately into Barwon River. It has been substantially developed in recent decades, but was originally a natural lagoon. Like Balyang Sanctuary, Jerringot Wetlands and Gateway Sanctuary, it now filters stormwater, trapping harmful pollutants before they can end up in the larger river system. A City of Greater Geelong council report from 2003 acknowledges the vital importance of the lake in collecting and treating a significant proportion Ocean Grove's stormwater runoff and looks at ways to improve water quality. It also recognises the value the local community places on the lake as a recreational facility.
Hardhead Duck
Like the other wetlands along the river, Blue Waters is home to a sizable bird population. Today I noted at least a dozen species after only a cursory check, including quite a number of Hard Head Ducks. The only other place I have seen hard heads was a pair at Jerringot Wetlands a few months ago. Aside from a tendency to dive every time I attempted to take a photo, they were reasonably unconcerned by the presence of people.
Unlike the other wetland areas along the river, Blue Waters has a substantial number of non-native plantings, which whilst probably not helpful environmentally, make the lake significantly more attractive. These include quite a number of large willows at the water's edge which along with interspersed native plantings screen out many of the houses which border the lake.
Today's walk did not see us complete a lap of the lake, so I will return in the not too distant future to take a few more snaps and count a few more birds.

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