See the updated list of birds for the Wetlands

See the Hobsons Bay conservation activities for 2018

Wader Beach for Birds not Litter.

FOWW was awarded further funding by the Metropolitan Waste Resource and Recovery Group to implement the Action Plan developed by the first phase of the Wader Beach Project. 

FOWW volunteers worked with volunteers from Friends of Greenwich Bay, Jawbone Marine Sanctuary Care Group, Scab Duty, Sea Shepherd Marine Debris Team and 3016 Beach Patrol to continue with a litter survey, clean ups and some investigations into the stormwater drainage system.

For more detailed information, please read our

Project Report  2015-2017

Appendix 1 - Litter Survey and Analysis

Appendix 2 - Plastic in the Environment - a Literature Review

Appendix 3 - Examination of Fish Gut Contents

Appendix 4 - Waterways and Wetlands Investigations

in the attachments below.

(please note that the files are e-versions due to limited space on the website.  For the full version for printing, please email your request to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)


Wader Beach for Birds not Litter.

In October 2014 FOWW was awarded a grant by the Metropolitan Waste Resource and Recovery Group to conduct a litter survey at Wader Beach as part of the Victorian Government's Litter Hotspots Project.  

FOWW partnered with Hobsons Bay City Council.  They provided some additional funding and in-kind help.

FOWW volunteers worked with volunteers from Friends of Greenwich Bay, Jawbone Marine Sanctuary Care Group, Scab Duty and 3016 Beach Patrol to improve the situation along our coast. 

The results of our survey have been analysed by Port Phillip Eco-Centre and we have developed an Action Plan for 2015-2017 to reduce litter build up in the future.  

For more detailed information, please read our project report for 2014-2015 below: 


Spring is in the air

This season ten pairs of white-headed stilts nested at the Jawbone salt marsh flats. So far a total of 7 chicks have hatched.

Life is  certainly precarious for these long legged birds - they have had to deal with a lot this year including storms, king tides, marauding little ravens and the ever present foxes.

At one stage during a high-tide, water breached the nest and was lapping against the then 3 eggs. The stilts worked furiously and eventually saved the nest. The next day there was an extra egg in the nest. Miraculously all 4 eggs hatched from this nest.

Protecting the eggs and chicks

Protecting the eggs and chicks is a team effort for these birds. At the first sign of danger the stilts will start their warning call which is a continuous and excitable yap, until the danger passes. If the danger is not to close a single stilt will do a fly-by all the while making the warning call. If the danger persists in the general area, the stilt will swoop closer and closer to whatever is causing the problem.

 If the threat is more direct, like a little raven flying over or near a nest or chick, a squadron of stilts will take off flying low, fast and aggressively attack the threat. Only after the threat has been seen off will the stilts return to the nesting area.

Within hours of the chicks hatching the family of stilts will leave the nesting site to avoid being an easy target for predators.

The day after the chicks hatched the parent birds with chicks in tow headed west from the Jawbone saltmarsh flats to Wader Beach, a distance of 800 metres. It's interesting to note that the group of birds is no longer working as a team to protect the young and that individual parents are doing this job as well as keeping other adult stilts away from their brood.

So the precarious life for these new arrival continues with the added danger of off-leash dogs on the Wader Beach sand bar.

As Malcolm Fraser once said  "Life wasn't meant to be easy", and it's certainly true for these little chicks.

Hobsons Bay City Council commissioned a Vegetation Management Plan for the Rifle Range Reserve. The plan includes recommendations for managing the vegetation in the residential areas and improving and protecting  biodiversity and ecological values of Jawbone Reserve.

The final plan was published in July 2013 and can be found at


Williamstown Wetlands 29th October 2017

Today’s bird (and lizard) walk started at just after 10.00am. We walked back along the Paisley-Challis path to the drain diversion where we observed a small group of Royal Spoonbills and one well camouflaged Yellow-billed Spoonbill. It wasn’t until the birds took flight we were able to confirm the single Yellow-bill was in fact there.


Just before the second bridge we received word from a cyclist that a tiger snake was in the grass just off the end of the bridge. With some caution we approached the area to find an Eastern blue-tongue Lizard doing his best impersonation of a tiger snake!


Hiding in the drain to the left of the bridge was a Great Egret hunting for prey. In the main lake we saw a good variety of ducks including the above Hardhead (White-eyed Duck), Blue-billed Ducks, Grey Teal, Chestnut Teal and Pink-eared Ducks.

Looking south back towards the bay we saw a large flock of panicking Silver Gulls that were put up by two Whistling Kites.

Along the edge of the Western Lake we heard Australian Reed Warblers, Little Grass Birds and Superb Fairy Wrens all doing their thing.

Other notable birds observed included a couple of Black-tailed Native Hens, Pied and Little Cormorants on Crofton Drive Islands and Little Black Cormorants on three of the four posts in the Quest Lake.

The highlight of the walk was seeing all three of the grebes species. We saw two Great Crested Grebes, one at each end of the main lake. The Australasian Grebes and the more common Hoary-headed Grebe were all swimming close to the reeds.


We were also lucky enough to see a family of swans with five cygnets in tow. These particular cygnets are just over a month old and have had a very fast growth rate. The swans nested in the Arboretum Lake, amongst bull rushes. They moved their brood to larger lake shortly the chicks hatched.


On the way back for refreshments we sighted a Nankeen Kestrel hovering over the soccer fields.

The bird walk was very successful with a total species count of 49. For a full list of birds observed please click here.

Thank you to Andrew Webster and HBCC for organising this event and providing the refreshments, which followed the walk.

On 28th August 2017 we held our AGM after our family day at Paisley-Challis Wetlands.

Our President, Ian Rae, gave a summary of his annual report for 2016-2017, as follows.  A full copy of the report is attached.  

Download this file (President's Report 2017.pdf)President\'s Report 2017[ ]44 kB

On 24th July 2016 we held our AGM after our family day at Paisley Challis Wetlands. 12 people attended the meeting.

Our President, Ian Rae, gave a summary of his annual report for 2015-2016, as follows.  A full copy of the report and the minutes of the AGM are attached. 

While planting is confined to the cooler months, there was much to do at other times of the year, and our activities included informative walks, continuation of the water Watch programme in the Jawbone lakes, and the construction and maintenance of paths. Work at the southern end of the Paisley-Challis Wetland has intensified during the year, with improved paths and signage and more planting. Our efforts and those of Council staff have been augmented by energetic groups such as the Conservation Volunteers and the Mobil employees on the ‘Day of Caring’.

Less work has gone into the Arboretum this year as we move from the establishment phase into ongoing management of the area. Some plantings have failed, while others have thrived, sometimes outgrowing the area we had assigned to them. This poses questions about signage and replanting: should we replant? or should we accept that some of the sites were not appropriate, introduce species we think might be more suitable, and face up to the difficult task of replacing signs? Our response has been ‘a bit of both’ as we carry the work forward.

Similar considerations apply to the broader Jawbone Flora and Fauna Reserve, especially along the lake edge where conditions good vegetation was never established. Council has established a vegetation management plan and we have worked with Council staff to take action under the plan in areas where vegetation needs to be adjusted or established. We have worked with Council staff to decide on priorities and to indicate whether they or the Friends should be doing the necessary work.

The Wader Beach litter project, led by Marilyn Olliff, was successful in identifying some sources of the litter and classifying it carefully in selected study area. In addition large quantities of litter, including many tires, were removed. The project has brought together kindred groups such as the Jawbone Marine Sanctuary Care Group, 3016 Beach Patrol, Scab Duty and also Friends of Greenwich Bay who used our methodology in a litter project in their area. Litter was the theme of an Open Day that was held at the Bayview Campus of Williamstown High School in October.

A second grant was obtained from Metropolitan Waste and Resource Recovery for continuation of the project and Peter Smith has begun to examine locally-caught fish, seeking evidence that small plastic particles have been ingested. An offshoot of our local project has been the formation of the Western Shorelines Alliance that links local groups to those in Altona and Werribee.

Clean Up Australia, in March, organized by Peter Smith, was again hugely successful, with 180 kg of rubbish collected. I July 2015, a number of our members joined in the National Tree Day planting at Harris Reserve on the slope above Lower Kororoit Creek. Our financial situation remained healthy, some expenses being shared with litter grant funding, but we were able to purchase a shelter and flag. A substantial grant was received from Coast Care to support the work of the group.

We saw a small growth in active membership during the year. At Committee level, as we have come to expect, our team worked effectively, keeping on top of secretarial and financial business, circulating notices, and planning planting and maintenance. Secretary Sandra Thorn and Vice-President Richard Leppitt, as well as others mentioned in this report, played important roles. We maintained close liaison with Council and their staff, particularly Libby Rigby and Andrew Webster, did a lot to help us. And Council appreciate us: several members were able to attend the Afternoon Tea provided by the Council in early June 2016 to thank volunteers for their efforts.