Where have the Blue-billed ducks gone?
When we think water birds, we understandably think Lake and seagulls, pelicans, and so on. We tend not to associate water birds with Munibung Hill, but not so. There are over 20 waterways that have their headwaters at Munibung Hill. One of the creeks that runs through Lakelands is a haven for a number of water birds including Blue-billed ducks, Purple swamp hens and others that we will feature in future issues of the MMM.
The Blue-billed duck (Oxyura australis) is listed as vulnerable on the SOS NSW register. Blue-billed ducks are divers rather than flyers. The species is distributed across relatively large areas and is subject to threatening processes that generally act at the landscape scale e.g. habitat loss or degradation. Discovering the ducks in the local area makes the creek an important habitat within an urban setting. 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.
Vina Chubb has been keeping an eye on the water birds that frequent the creek and wetland swamp area behind Biddabah Public School. The area has small sections of open water ideally suited to these native birds and nearby bushland provides the birds with habitat for safe nesting places.
While feral predators are a constant threat to native species, an ever present threat is 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 or be conscious of the possibility that water birds are in the area.
MMM … Issue 25, December 2021