One of the major reasons we chose our little housing estate over the many others in the area was that it's surrounded on three sides by state-owned parkland. There are some pockets of undisturbed bush along the river, but most of the open space is reclaimed farmland. Parks Victoria have been working for years to turn the land into useable public space amongst quite large conservation areas.
On the weekend I discovered that the fenced-off conservation area that forms the largest part of the parkland has been opened for public access. Bike Boy now tells me it's been open for ages - I knew he goes mountain biking in there, but I just thought he was sneaking in....
So I went for a good old ramble and discovered a big lake, with at least six pairs of swans and a pair of cormorants, as well as the usual coots, mallards and other water fowl:
This is actually a disused quarry pit, but doesn't strike me as commercial-sized. The original property owner would most likely have been quarrying either bluestone or clay for bricks. I'm guessing bluestone for farm buildings.
I thought I'd walk around the lake, but it's pretty big and the terrain is hard going, so I ended up only going about a quarter of the way around. Another time...
The low-lying areas are natural wetlands and an extensive tree-planting program plus the addition of nesting boxes have turned these swampy areas into ideal breeding grounds for the birds.
....but those clouds look threatening.
I beat the rain home, but only just. The bonus was spotting the park's pair of resident wedgetail eagles soaring overhead as I headed back.
Next time I'll take my camera - I noticed the battery was flat a few days earlier but stupidly forgot to charge it, so the phone had to suffice for these pics. Maybe I can even catch a shot of the eagles with my telezoom, who knows?