Waterway home for dabbling water bird.
The water birds of Munibung Hill are rarely seen on the hill proper. They live in the waterways and ‘wetlands’ that have their headwaters in the slopes around Munibung Hill. One such ‘wetland’ is located in Lakelands, hidden for the most part in the bushland behind Biddabah Public School.
Vina Chubb has been keeping an eye on the water birds that frequent the creek and wetland swamp area and wants to ensure the area is kept safe for the bird life that visit and live there.
Biddabah Creek that runs through Lakelands is a haven for a number of water birds including the Chestnut teal (Anas castanea) which is a dabbling duck protected under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974. Dabbling because they feed by upending and foraging in shallow water for critters living in the mud. And then these’s the Wood duck. Unlike the Chestnut teal they are not threatened. That is not directly.
But because they prefer tree hollows for nesting, and as hollow bearing veteran trees are becoming less common, by default, the wildlife that depend on them,
such as the Wood duck, are threatened. Every which way we turn, everything is connected.
Not all waterways have the diversity of life that is found in this creek. The density of the habitat within this stretch is critically important. Since this picture was taken the family has disappeared – relocated perhaps, taken by foxes or cats perhaps – it’s hard to say. Let’s just hope they’re safe and sound and will be on deck again next breeding season.
While feral predators are a constant threat to native species, an ever present threat comes in the form of cars, when birds attempt to cross busy roads.
Just as we have zebra crossings and signs for people, we need some way of alerting motorists to the presence of birds that live in nearby water catchment areas – slow down and be conscious of the possibility that water birds are close by – and might need to cross the road.
MMM … Issue 26, February 2022