Serendip Sanctuary is a 250 ha protected area that is near the You Yangs and the small town of Lara, Victoria. You can easily get there via public transport by taking the train to Lara from either Geelong or Melbourne if you do not have access to a vehicle. Lara is about 20 kilometres from Geelong or 60 kilometres south-west of Melbourne.
It is free to enter Serendip Sanctuary and as you drive or walk up the road into the parking area there are opportunities to see kangaroos and wallabies as you can see above. There are toilet facilities in the car-park and a picnic area. I would advise allowing as much time as possible if you hope to walk all of the trails and to be able to explore the different environments and the many species of birds. Many visitors appear to do the short walks, so you can enjoy the area mostly alone other than the wildlife. The sanctuary is open from 8am-4pm daily.
Map of the walk trails
There were a lot of White-winged Choughs when I was there and I wrote about them here. On the walk in I also saw Emus and Grey Fantails and then in the car-park I noticed a pair of Tawny Frogmouths. Although Tawny Frogmouths are well camouflaged I did notice the shape of the tree was not quite right and there they were. Hiding in plain sight just like they are all across Australia.
Grey Fantail-constantly on the move catching insects
I decided to walk all of the trails by combining them into a long walk to last a few hours. You are then able to appreciate the birds of the woodlands and wetlands. Almost 200 bird species have been recorded at Serendip Sanctuary and I was not disappointed with my day out. The bird species observed at any time will vary, but most people that visit that are making lists recording around fifty bird species.
The Cape Barren Geese had goslings when I visited. Chestnut Teal and Hardheads were the predominant ducks and there were several Masked Lapwings amongst them. There were also Dusky Moorhens and both Australasian and Hoary-headed Grebes. The Black-fronted Dotterels could almost be overlooked until they faced you and their fronts gave them away.
Cape Barren Geese
Chestnut Teal and Masked Lapwings
In the woodland areas you can walk quietly along the trails and watch out for small birds that appear at your feet as they feed along the trail. There is also seed made available near the educational centre, so the Red-browed Finch take advantage of that.
With so many bird species in the area you feel like you are constantly looking from the trails to the trees and beyond. Sometimes you notice a colour or a shape and stop and move slightly and find more bird species. You can move carefully and get some sky behind the birds and then they become clearer!
However, sometimes you can only get rear shots of some species and as soon as you move they take off!
There were plenty of New Holland Honeyeaters feeding in the trees, but of course the closest one got to me was on a wire fence!
New Holland Honeyeater
Even if you are not able to commit a lot of time to visiting the Serendip Sanctuary you can always visit and do a short trail and have a picnic. Keep an eye out for the Tawny Frogmouths in the car-park!