Wonga Wetlands…. water, birds, and nature’s own bluegrass band of frogs

Wonga Wetlands is a ecosystem of lagoons and billabongs, and is home to a variety of wildlife and River Red Gums. (a type of Eucalyptus tree)

The name Wonga means Cormorant in the local indigenous Wiradjuri language.

These wetlands cover around 80 hectares on the Murray River floodplains, near the city of Albury.

I have included a map showing Canberra in relation to Sydney and Melbourne, the two biggest cities in Australia.  Albury is about midpoint between Canberra and Melbourne.

We stopped off in Albury on our way down to Melbourne to visit our little granddaughter, and the Wonga Wetlands are on the outskirts of the town.

These  lagoons are being gently restored after many years of farming and grazing using reclaimed water from the Murray River.

It is an area that is now being developed  to conserve and protect the habitat, and the native flora and fauna.

It wasn’t that easy to photograph birds on the move in this wetland environment, so I have added a photo here of a  Cormorant taken along the bank of Lake Burley Griffin …to show this fine bird at close range.

The photo below shows an elegant  Egret and behind the Egret is a Cormorant, much smaller than the one from Lake Burley Griffin in Canberra.

How very well camouflaged they are in their true environment.

I wished I had a long range lens to capture the wild life on this dead gum tree…

Fortunately Paul took this great photo (below) of the Pelican and two black Darters looking on.

There is another Pelican nesting the branch below….one wonders how dead branches on dead trees stays steady, especially when the Pelican lands…


Paul’s second great shot was of this magnificent bird below, the Royal Spoonbill… close up you can see its eye, and the amazing white feathers flowing back from his head. I’ve read that the male Spoonbill develops a lush crest of white feathers during mating season.

We both spent a long time trying to photograph him as he put his amazing bill into the water, and skimmed along the edges of the lagoon, scooping up food to eat. ..but all our subsequent photos of this bird were blurry.

The White necked Heron

The ducks and swans seem to cruise happily through the thick algae.


Near this pool of water….

was a sign about the frogs…

There was very little sight or sound of these interestingly named frogs, but I did find some information from the website Backyard Buddies.

Pobblebonk Frog  (or Banjo Frog) are found in Eastern Australia, in ponds and lakes. Like nature’s own bluegrass band once the Banjo Frogs get going you’d swear you were hearing musical instruments….rather than a small frog looking for a mate.

When one frog starts to call, others will join in….a single bonk, or plonk sounds like a string of banjos being plucked.

Pobblebonk Frog: Photo from Museum Victoria

The Peron’s Tree (Maniacal Cackle) Frog is a tiny, and cute looking frog, but a very noisy creature. He sounds just like a jackhammer getting started when the mating season begins. Sometimes a Peron’s Tree frog gets into a drain pipe and calls, and there his call can reverberate and sound like the call of ten frogs, perhaps this is where the second name ”Maniacal Cackle” comes from …..

The Peron’s Tree Frog (Maniacal Cackle Frog): Photo from the Museum Victoria

The Eastern, or Common froglet must feel very ordinary next to these two!

Australia is the driest continent in the world, and we never take water for granted, so it is wonderful to see this wetland, full of water, wildlife and frogs!

I hope you are enjoying your green spaces, where ever you are in the world…

Copyright: Geraldine Mackey  All Rights Reserved.





22 Replies to “Wonga Wetlands…. water, birds, and nature’s own bluegrass band of frogs”

  1. What a fascinating place especially in such a dry country. I think you and your husband took some excellent pictures.

  2. Loved the froggie stories. How aptly named. I love the green tree frogs at my place – they are always welcome, but I can’t say the same for the cane toads though.

  3. What a wonderful post. Most of your bird posts are fascinating because your Australian birds are so exotic to me. But this one was fascinating because it highlighted how birds with long migration paths are so much alike world-over. We have similar cormorants, spoonbills, egrets, pelicans, and herons–halfway around the world. They are some of my favorite birds and such a treat to photograph.

    1. I agree these birds are wonderful, and their migration paths are just incredible….when you think of the weather conditions alone that they endure.

    1. I loved your description of the spoonbill, he does look as if he is dressed for a formal dinner! Thanks for the banjo frog call link, it sounds gentler that a group of banjos in reality, and cute!

  4. It is wonderful to hear how the wetlands at Wonga are being preserved and protected. How I wish I had stopped off there. The Cormorants are stunning, ours are all black. I did enjoy seeing all these beautiful birds and frogs, I remember seeing a spoonbill in Sydney, hubs had to drag me away in the end. Fascinating seeing the swans and ducks swimming in all the vegetation. Thanks for this, I did enjoy it. Best wishes to your grandbaby. Lucky you! xxx

    1. Thanks Dina .. the spoonbill is a beauty isn’t he … all dressed up & ready to go! PS our grand daughter is a lovely smiley baby … Cross finger for you too…one day

    1. Good question! I love my small city, Canberra, where we have rolling hills outside the front door, but can also go to Writers Festival at the National Library 15 minutes away.

  5. Australia really seems like a paradise for birders, and perhaps for froggers if there were such a thing. The Wonga Wetlands look like a very special place – and I like the name.

  6. That was a useful detour out of town. It looks a wonderful place for wildlife and I enjoyed seeing both Paul and your photographs. It is wonderful that you can enjoy a wetland habitat with your climate. Sarah x

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