Sanctuary Islands, Dawkins Lake Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Dawkins Lake lies smack-bang in the centre of Macksville, a smaller community in Northern New South Wales. The Old Pacific Highway connects this town with many other communities.

No rest @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

I have passed and rested at this inviting small nature reserve a few times over the years. In those days, this highway was the communal artery between Sydney and Brisbane. Bird or any wildlife were far and in between. I never had the urge to grab my camera to explore what may show up in front of my lens.

Sanctuary Islands @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

All this had changed due to one major factor.

Bypass traffic @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

A highway bypass was built in recent years, which eliminated all heavy-duty and commercial traffic from this small community.

Dance for joy @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

This aspect contributed positively to local bird and wildlife, particularly around these slow-moving waters.

Breeding Spoonbills @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

They became a breeding haven for a variety of birds.

Parrot audience @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

I wasn’t the only observer of this breeding spectacular. A few parrot species were marvelled by increasing bird numbers just as well.

Water filter system @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

A windmill powers the water filter system to ensure a low but constant amount of water-flow.

Oxygen enriched @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Water pumps guarantee a minimal level of oxygen in these otherwise stagnant waters for fish and other underwater dwellers to flourish.

Lifeless deception @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

No life would exist without irrigation, particularly in hot summer months. The windmill towers monumentally over these sanctuary islands and adds to the photographic aspect.

Power to breed @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Rotating silver blades looked already outstanding in blue skies, but turned this nature reserve into a breeding haven.

Fishing naturally @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

The natural layout of this pond is favourable for all birds. Fallen tree branches stick out like a flooded forest.

High vantage @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

They are perfect vantage points to spot bypassing fish, insects or crustaceans.

Where is it gone? @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

On the flip side of this very coin, submerged foliage offers a perfect hiding habitat for submarine species.

Mind your own business @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Shared with all other lake inhabitants, space may get a little tight.

Covid Marshall @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Social distancing was imposed by a neck-length. This is a different but just as popular waterlogged branch, which almost reaches the mainland shoreline.

Close the gap @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

The gap was just big enough to prevent uninvited guests from the mainland to enter.

Howdy ho neighbours @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Long-legged birds were particularly fond of this prime piece of Real Estick.

On patrol @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Great white egrets guarded this bridge to snatch a catch.

Backyard @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Realistically, the backyard sticky is a little tricky to navigate.

Station @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

These exposed branches offered favourable drying stations.

Where is everyone? @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Even though some trains derailed. Another few water inhabitants needed to soak up warm afternoon rays before nightfall. Turtles are cold-blooded just like all reptiles.

Face to Face @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Not everyone was brave enough to face an egret without regret.

Moving up @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

An adult turtle moved up the tree trunk, allowing others to follow in his footsteps.

Turtle take-over @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Once the branch was secured, the whole family joined for an afternoon siesta.

Here we go @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Online turtles on a twig, fabulous.

Camouflage @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Water dragons were in perfect disguise and hard to spot.

Quick escape @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

It’s best to keep a low profile, or one could end up in a beak.

Green cover @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

A carpet of small green surface plants covered the western, wind-sheltered side of Dawkins Lake.

Even odds @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

This factor made it harder for ambush fishers to pick their target, but equally as hard for pickers to be spotted.

Reflecting @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Dark-water reflections left their mark just as well.

Perfect frame @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

All aspects added perfectly in a picture frame.

Blending in @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Not only on a breathtaking colourful spectrum.

Endless options @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Or for the variety of birdlife to focus on.

Stunning @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

One simply couldn’t go wrong with outrageous background options.

Shadows on green @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

The lake’s floating carpet of green foliage cultivated astounding patterns on the water surface.

Bizarre creations @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Shadows and reflections created bizarre images in colour and structure.

Nesting in blue skies @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

On trees up high, deep blue skies intensify birdlife within their nesting spots.

Flying high @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Even more so with wings spread out.

Rustic @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Imposing paperbarks and gumtrees offered a rustic layout for bypassing birdlife.

Instant connection @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Trees connected to water and wildlife naturally.

Highrise @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

All trees on both islands were occupied for communal housing.

Moving up @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Birds that didn’t acquire a nesting spot on the island retreats took shelter in scrubburbia. Trees on the mainland were feathered with nesting sites just as well.

Late comers @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Breeding conditions were so favourable, that some birds laid another egg after the first chicks hatched.

Multiple survival chances @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

This increase the chances to raise at least one chick to adulthood.

Frizzled @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Up to three different sized chicks were identified in some nests.

Hungry chicks @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Most nests inhabited at least two chicks.

Food!@ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

All of these fluffy offsprings were insatiable hungry.

Fill the bill @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

They need to eat and increase their growing-staus.

Strong impact @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Life in these treetops is not for weaklings. Nature’s law, only the strong survive, prevails.

Balancing @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Slender branches offer less support for ever-growing chicks.

Invaders @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Overpopulation generates heavy traffic within the tree-tops, which causes chaos on regular basis.

Dire Straits @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

It’s easy to slip off or to get caught within the greenery.

Spot the snake @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Aerial and snaky predators may show interest in some tender offspring too.

Lost soul @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

But it’s the extreme natural forces of wind, rain and hail, which impact the young ones most.

Floods @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

We had unusual severe weather patterns this summer, which caused floods and fallen trees.

Hanging on @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Some birds only cling on with one wing like this poor buggar.

Fight to survive @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

There was absolutely nothing I could do for him. I had to accept nature’s law.

Job well done @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

None the less, if the Macksville Council created this ambush and resting area intentionally for those reasons, then congratulations to you.

All alone @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

I actually am surprised that no other people were here at my long visit.

Unbelievable @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

The whole nature reserve makes perfect sense to me.

Who’s to loud? @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

And even if most people complain about noise and smell, I personally thank you to create such tremendous nature extravaganza.

Observing @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Observing the quantity and variety of bird- and wildlife in close proximity surely was an incredible occasion. 

Happy Customer @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

We need to remember, that even the smallest change to our environment can have a drastic impact on natural habitats. In this case, a very positive outcome. 

Follow-up @ Dawkins Lake, Macksville, Northern New South Wales, Australia

My follow-up to this story will have a closer look on individual and group dynamics. 

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