This summary covers 11 wetlands in the Dandenong Creek Catchment that are surveyed monthly by volunteers from BirdLife Melbourne and Bayside Branches under a contract issued by Melbourne Water. The surveys commenced in June 2007 with 10 wetlands being surveyed. In December 2012, an additional wetland, Rigby’s, was added.
At the end of June 2014, 184 bird, seven frog, three reptile, seven mammal and two fish species identified.
No dramatic weather events this period. Water levels average at all sites. Unfortunately several sites were not surveyed in May due to an OH&R incident on a Melbourne Water property. OH&R procedures were updated for all survey volunteers and access to all sites was regained at the end of May.
Another parameter has been added to the three month species report listing. Column 13 has been used to indicate the total number of sites recording an individual species for the three month period. From these figures, a ‘count’ is obtained to record the combined bird species total for the period.
Highlights at individual sites
Frog Hollow Wetland, Endeavour Hills (Melway: 91 G9)
Eurasian Coot numbers unusually high: 118 in April, 167 in May and 76 in June. Numbers of Pacific-black Duck were also high with 54 in April and 117 in June. The normal five Black Swan were down to one in June.
Kilberry Boulevard, Hampton Park (Melway: 96 J9)
A flock of 50 Little Corella and a lone Flame Robin in April, one of four sites to note these species this period. Fortunately, new species do pop up with a Grey-shrike Thrush sighted in June.
River Gum Creek Reserve, Hampton Park (Melway: 96 H9)
Four Australasian Shoveler plus a Buff-banded Rail were a highlight in April. The Shoveler being absent from the site for several months and the Rail, a few years. Another species rarely seen at the site was a Golden Whistler, and Eurasian Coot numbers were also high with 105 recorded in June.
South Golf Links Road, Narre Warren (Melway: 110 F11)
No survey conducted in April due to storm conditions. Eurasian Coot numbers high with 96 sighted in June.
Hallam Valley Road, Dandenong South (Melway: 95 K3)
The April survey produced several highlights: Little Eagle (1), Flame Robin (6), Scarlet Robin (1) and Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater (1). Not to be outdone, Little Corella (67), Rainbow Lorikeet (52) and Superb Fairy-wren (93) were added to the species count in June.
Waterford Wetlands, Rowville (Melway: 73 E10)
Eurasian Coot (35) in April and three Hardhead in June. This site, although small, is one of the 11 where Hardhead are normally recorded.
Troups Creek, Hampton Park (Melway: 95 K5)
In February and March, White Ibis numbers were just above the 200 mark. In April, 192 but in June only 66 recorded. New for the site in April, one Flame Robin. The survey day in June was cold and windy but it didn’t deter the Silver Gull overhead with 1,820 recorded. The highest number of an individual species for any site since the surveys began.
Mordialloc Creek, Braeside (Melway: 73 E10)
Unfortunately, June was the only month a survey was conducted this period which resulted in four Brown Quail being recorded. An elusive species, with only three other sites to note this species on a survey day. Two other sites have ‘ticks’ on a non-survey day.
Heatherton Rd South, Dandenong (Melway: 90 H4)
Grey-headed Flying-Fox have taken up residence at this wetland with 2,000 recorded in April, 900 in May and 60 in June. Presumably the colder months has seen this species migrate to warmer areas. Two new species for the site in May: Swift Parrot (8), also new for all sites, and a lone House Mouse to add to the mammal total.
Heatherton Rd North, Dandenong Nth (Melway: 90 H2)
Little Corella (40) and Flame Robin (2) in April. May, a Little Eagle (1), new to the site. Superb Fairy–wren (58) were prominent in May plus Long-billed Corella (14). Several Superb-fairy Wren must have been in hiding the previous month as 68 were recorded in June.
Rigby’s Wetland, Rowville (Melway: 72 C11)
The largest and complex of all the 11 sites is still adding new species. A Kookaburra (1) in April, Scarlet Robin (1) in May, and in June, Yellow-rumped Thornbill (10) and at long last, White-plumed Honeyeater (5). Both the Kookaburra and White-plumed Honeyeater had previously been recorded on a non-survey day. White Ibis roost up-stream at Shepherds Bush and this may account for the high numbers recorded in April (289) and June (147).
River Gum Creek – Interpretive Brochure Launch
The brochure was launched in February and depicts photos of 60 bird species that may be found within the catchment area. It has not only been used for educational purposes at River Gum but other sites in the catchment, the latest being at Heatherton Road North on 15 July. Four volunteers from BirdLife and three staff from Melbourne Water assisted 70 Grade 4 students, teachers and helpers from nearby Lyndale Green’s Primary School with a project that involved Birdlife, Macros, Turbidity and Photography. The brochure provided an easy identification guide for the students and comments were received for its use to be extended for use at other wetland education activities.
A full tally of the three month sightings may be found on the BirdLife Website at http://www.birdlife.org.au/locations/birdlife-melbourne/projects-initiatives-mel and download the pdf below. The results are also displayed at the Birdlife Melbourne Branch monthly Balwyn meetings.
Graeme Hosken, BirdLife Melbourne DCS Recorder