Urunga Wetlands attract Magpie Geese breeding

Three Magpie Geese with nine goslings 2022. Photo: Ian Kethel.


BIRDERS are feasting their eyes on a local family of Magpie Geese with their nine goslings this Autumn.

The flourishing family was discovered by Chris Gillan and Merren Weaver at the Urunga Wetland on 23 April.

Bellingen Birders group members and Bellinger Keys residents Ulrieke and Ian Kethel told News Of The Area, “It looks like when we got sick of all the rain, the waterbirds had their best life.”

Last year the same trio of two females and one gander bred seven goslings on the Bellinger Keys Lake.

“We suspected they were breeding again, because they started to chase away last year’s surviving four grown

“It is normal for Magpie Geese to breed during wet periods and for a gander to have two females, who lay their eggs into the same nest and all three look after the young.

“There have been days when the family seems to have vanished, but last night we discovered them floating along very close to the edge.”

However, the sad news is that the Kethels counted only six goslings.

“The other three goslings might have been taken by eels or birds.”

The good news is, they have grown in size and are making happy chirping sounds.

“We watched the parents dragging up bits of water lily stems and roots for the babies and also trampling down the spike rushes so they could reach the seeds.

“The parents don’t seem to be disturbed by the presence of humans but become very protective when other geese approach.

“All together we have counted the presence of seven other adult geese in the wetland.”

The female geese from last year’s hatching have attracted a new gander and there is hope that they will start breeding too.

Lately the wetland has sprung back to life with the arrival of five Hardhead Ducks, Black Ducks, Wood Ducks, an Australasian Grebe and a beautiful Chestnut Teal.

“We also watched a fight between two male swans while the female waited to see who would come out the winner,” said the Kethels.

You never know what you find when you wander in the wetland.




Leave a Reply