Daylesford Lake and Jubilee Lake

2016-01-25 Robin Whittle

This is one of several pages concerning Daylesford and places nearby.  The index for those pages is here: ../.   A guide to some of the local birds is below: #birds.

Looking east-north-east across Daylesford Lake to Wombat Hill, July 2014.  The new Boathouse Cafe is being built, to replace the original which was burnt down earlier that year.

Just east of the Boathouse Cafe is the Bookbarn Cafe - books, meals and a place to sit by the water, or inside by a fire in winter.  In the main street is a fine and most extensive bookshop with new, second-hand books - Paradise Books .

June 2015, with the paddle boats which are now moored there, and presumably available for hire, all year round.

In May and June 2014 we saw quite a few rakali (rackalis?) - Australian Native Water Rats:

They have quite large bodies, small heads, eyes and ears and a long tail with a white tip.

We saw them at the north end of the lake and at the southernmost part of Wombat Creek, to the south of the lake, just after it emerges from underneath the Ballan Road from Shaw Dam.

Since then (to January 2016) we only seen one twice, in the lake not far from the dam.  In the second instance (perhaps September 2015), the rakali swam across the lake and landed next to the clump of tall leaves which are visible just right of centre in the photo above.  It promptly scurried inside what was presumably its home.

In late 2015 this clump was beautified and thinned and we can't imagine any self-respecting rakali residing there any more.

Rakali are widespread in Papua New Guinea, much of eastern Australia, Tasmania and in some coastal parts of the Northern Territory and Western Australia.  They are proper rodents, not marsupials, and share a similar ecological niche with the platypus. They sometimes live in the same burrows, but not at the same time.  The Australian Platypus Conservatory takes an interest in rakalis and has a page on their site for reporting rakali sightings, which we did.

On warm sunny days we quite often see turtles in the north-west corner of Daylesford Lake.  The most we have seen is five.

Amanita muscaria.

We think these are Little Black Cormorants: otherwise known as a "little black shag".  They seem to be present all year round. 

There are also occasionally some Darters also known as "snake birds" since their feathers are not water resistant, which helps them stay submerged when hunting fish.  According to the Wikipedia article (subsection):

These birds are foot-propelled divers which quietly stalk and ambush their prey; then they use their sharply pointed bill to impale the food animal.  They do not dive deep but make use of their low buoyancy made possible by wettable plumage, small air sacs and denser bones.  On the underside of the cervical vertebrae 5-7 is a keel, which allows for muscles to attach to form a hinge-like mechanism that can project the neck, head and bill forward like a throwing spear.  After they have stabbed the prey, they return to the surface where they toss their food into the air and catch it again, so that they can swallow it head-first.  Like cormorants, they have a vestigial preen gland and their plumage gets wet during diving.  To dry their feathers after diving, darters move to a safe location and spread their wings.

They swim with just their heads above the water, and can be seen drying out their wings, which we think the cormorants sometimes also do.

At the end of this page #birds is a guide to some of the birds commonly seen at Daylesford Lake.

Australian Wood Ducks.

Australian Black Duck.

I think these are Pilgrim Geese - a domestic breed which may also be known as Australian
Settler Geese.

There are peacocks and peahens at the Jubilee Lake Caravan Park:

Water lilies at Jubilee Lake.

Some birds frequently found at Daylesford Lake or nearby

I have not shown the most well-known bird species, including: Sulphur Crested Cockatoo, Corella, Australian Magpie, Pied Currawong, Australian Raven, Black Swan and Kookaburra.  

There are some other kinds of larger duck - I am not sure which species.  The Pilgrim Goose, Little Black Cormorant and Darter are mentioned above.

The following images are from Wikipedia pages and the like.

Purple swamphen or Australasian swamphen
Porphyrio porphyrio melanotus

Dusky Moorhen
Gallinula tenebrosa

Australasian Coot
Fulica atra

Australian Wood Duck
Chenonetta jubata

Australian Black Duck
Anas superciliosa

Red-browed finch
Neochmia temporalis


Supurb Fairy Wren
Malurus cyaneus

The dominant males have the blue and black plumage while the females and non-dominant males are brown.

This is one of several pages concerning Daylesford and places nearby.  The index for those pages is here: ../.