French Island – near but different

Today we had an overseas trip in a day, crossing by ferry from Stony Point to the Tankerton Jetty on French Island, Victoria, Australia.

We were participating in a survey with the Friends of French Island.
The island has some unique features:
– It is in Westernport Bay which is a RAMSAR wetland
– The swamps abound in wading birds: the group recorded green shanks, dozens of spoonbills, hoary-headed grebes and various types of ducks, including Australasian Shovellers.
– There are no foxes, therefore the indigenous potoroos continue to thrive.
– two thirds of the island is national park, with abundant vegetation, including over 100 varieties of orchids.

We visited a landowner who showed us a tree that had been shattered by lightning a few days prior. I’ve included a photo.

It is not included in any local government, the 120 permanent residents pay no rates and must provide their own water and power.

It certainly made an interesting day’s outing. The ferry connects to a station on the mainland so you can actually get to it by train.

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