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 September 2014, 184 bird, seven frog, three reptile, eight mammal and two fish species identified.
Heavy rain in the second week of each month caused minor problems surveying at three of the sites with one not completed and teams sheltering at the other two sites. Long grass, considered a safety hazard, prevented the northern wetland at South Golf Links Road from being surveyed in September, and at Rigby’s, the July survey was abandoned as padlocks on the Parks Victoria gate had been changed, preventing access to the site.
Highlights at individual sites
Frog Hollow Wetland, Endeavour Hills (Melway: 91 G9)
Eurasian Coot numbers continue to be high: July (138), August (163) and September (100). A Nankeen Night-Heron was a surprise sighting in July.
Kilberry Boulevard, Hampton Park (Melway: 96 J9)
Four Musk Lorikeet in July, and unfortunately a ‘dumped’ Mallard Cross in September.
River Gum Creek Reserve, Hampton Park (Melway: 96 H9)
Silver Gull have returned in large numbers: July (826), August (400) and September (244). Little Corella (52) and Scaly-breasted Lorikeet (4) in July. A lone Australasian Shoveler and eight Black-winged Stilt in August. Two Buff-banded Rail in September – a species not recorded at the site for many months.
South Golf Links Road, Narre Warren (Melway: 110 F11)
No survey in July. Black Swan breeding in August and Australian Wood Duck with young in September. Eurasian Coot numbers high in August (128) and September (109).
Hallam Valley Road, Dandenong South (Melway: 95 K3)
Habitat conditions perfect for Superb Fairy-Wren: July (37) and August (56). Also in August, two Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater; the only site to record this species on a survey day. It has been recorded at Kilberry, River Gum and Troups Creek on a non-survey day. One Yellow-billed Spoonbill in September.
Waterford Wetlands, Rowville (Melway: 73 E10)
Latham’s Snipe returned to ‘their’ favoured site in August (2), but in September, 37 recorded. An amazing record as this site is the smallest of the 11 being surveyed. Perhaps the Snipe know they won’t be disturbed as the site is completely fenced and is at the rear of a Retirement Village. An Olive-backed Oriole was added to the site list in September.
Troups Creek, Hampton Park (Melway: 95 K5)
Weather conditions in July were cold and foggy. Silver Gull was overhead. Heard but not seen. Species numbers were low for the day, only 28, down for the normal 40s. A pair of Black Swan with five young brightened the morning. The Black Swan family were still there in September and a lone Tree Martin was a new species for the site list. September also produced Silver Gull (206) and White-necked Heron (2).
Mordialloc Creek, Braeside (Melway: 73 E10)
Species numbers still in the mid forties for each month. Long-billed Corella new to the site in August and in the same month, a lone Pink-eared Duck, a species not recorded at any site for several months.
Heatherton Rd South, Dandenong (Melway: 90 H4)
Grey-headed Flying-Fox starting to build up again with the approach of the summer months with 650 recorded in September. Little-Corella (31) July, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo (31), Collared Sparrowhawk (1) in August.
Heatherton Rd North, Dandenong Nth (Melway: 90 H2)
Yellow-billed Spoonbill (1) in July with Eurasian Coot (38) in July and 30 in August. White-plumed Honeyeater (24) and Eurasian Skylark breeding in September.
Rigby’s Wetland, Rowville (Melway: 72 C11)
No survey in July. Unable to access site. Two new species for the site in August. Long-billed Corella and New-Holland Honeyeater, the latter previously recorded on a non-survey day. Horsfield’s Bronze-Cuckoo new to the site in September, was a non-survey species and Little Grassbird (61) numbers high in September. Red-kneed Dotterel were seen swimming in August and September. Is this a first, a swimming Dotterel?
River Gum Creek – Interpretive Signs
Funding received from the Catchment Management Authority for this site has been put into excellent use providing plants for re-vegetation both on land and in the water, brochures, and now several signs surrounding the wetland depicting the common bird species that may be located in the area. One sign is allocated to the Latham’s Snipe migratory habits with a map showing the flyway route to and from its northern breeding grounds. The signs were installed during September. On the October survey it was found that two signs had been defaced by graffiti and one removed. Very disappointing. The local ‘Friends’ Group couldn’t believe why this would occur.
New Recorder required
This is the last report I shall be producing. After seven years, a new volunteer is required.
In conjunction with the production of this report is the up-dating of the three month sighting register for the 11 sites being surveyed and entering data for three sites where the ‘Team Leaders’ do not have facilities for this purpose. Approximately 15-20 hours are required a month to complete this project.
If you know anyone that could continue this project for the Catchment Survey, I may be contacted on 9802 5250.
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.
See attached spreadsheet of July to September results: MW_BirdLife Melb & Bayside Jul-Sep 2014.xlsx
Graeme Hosken, BirdLife Melbourne DCS Recorder