THE galah is now widespread all through the Ballarat region, but this has not always been the case.
Once found only in drier inland areas, it expanded with European settlement and moved into our region in the 1950s and 1960s. Some of our older readers will remember this.
In the early 1960s it was probably found only in red gum country north of the Great Dividing Range.
Its local spread was rapid in the 1960 and 1970s. It crossed the divide then and is now widespread and common not only here but also throughout all southern Victoria. It occurs in all types of open country, including suburban parks and gardens.
Most of my sightings seem to be of fewer than 30 birds, but larger flocks certainly occur, particularly in grain-growing areas.
A 1983 book mentions that the galah was occasionally seen in small numbers over Ballarat, but it rarely settled at that time.
Now it has increased further, with pairs or small groups settling in many parks and gardens.
The 1983 book mentions a flock of 500 galahs as being the largest group recorded in this region. This figure has probably now been exceeded, although we have no reports of this.
In some places the increase in galahs has been attributed - at least partly - to aviary escapees becoming established. This is unlikely to have occurred here.
Like the crested pigeon in the 1980s, an expanding galah population moved in from the north, with some settling here and others spreading southward.
NEW broods of cygnets are appearing at Lake Wendouree every week or so.
Many of the lake's adult swans have bands on their legs. This is often obvious when the adult birds are guarding their cygnets when the family is grazing on the shore.
Most of the banded swans were banded at Lake Wendouree before it dried several years ago. A smaller number were banded at Albert Park Lake in Melbourne.
No swans have been banded at Lake Wendouree since its water (and its swans) returned.
Over the years there has been considerable movement of swans between our lake and the Albert Park lake. Although there is an obvious connection between the two lakes, it seems that Lake Wendouree's swans prefer to return to Lake Wendouree to breed.
They have remained faithful to our lake, even though it was dry for a few years.
EVERY year there is a spring flower show at Pomonal, at the foot of the Grampians.
This year's show is to be held on October 6 and 7.
Presented by the Grampians Group of the Australian Plants Society, the Native Flower Show features a huge range of named native flowers all picked from members' gardens. For more information phone 5356 6352.