Merri birds webinar

If you missed our webinar in September – read on. 

At the Merri Birds Webinar, held on Saturday 12 September,  Friends of Merri Creek bird survey leaders highlighted their regular survey sites and spoke about their favourite Merri birds, including the Nankeen Night-Heron, Tawny Frogmouth and Golden-headed Cisticola.
An extensive question and answer session followed the presentations.
The webinar is available below.  
This was a joint event of Friends of Merri Creek and Merri Creek Management Committee.

Photo: Nankeen Night-Heron by C Tzaros.


Powerful owl webinar

Tune in and learn about the powerful owl in and around Yarra.  

Urban Ecologist and PhD Candidate, Nick Bradsworth (Deakin University), and Senior Biodiversity Officer, Craig Lupton (City of Yarra) shared their experience of the secret lives of Powerful Owls (Ninox strenua) in Melbourne. They explored our human power to affect the long-term home for Powerful Owls, even in our own backyards, where every bit of indigenous habitat matters.

More to explore:
Powerful owl project – to involve the community in identifying, monitoring and contributing to advocacy activities.
Hunt, rest and play – deakin University project.
Powerful owl – SWIFFT

Image: David Lochlin, Powerful Owl nesting in a hollow. This image is in copyright. Creative Commons Licence 2.0


Whittlesea Grasslands webinar

Celebrating National Threatened Species Day.    

58 participants tuned into a webinar: At home in Whittlesea’s Grasslands.
Michael Longmore, manager of MCMC’s Ecological Restoration Program, and Josh Cox, the Director of Reptile Encounters gave us a virtual tour of Galada Tamboore and some close insights into creatures of the Victorian Volcanic Plain.
Covering the geological history of the region, the plants of Galada Tamboore and fauna including the Growling Grass Frog – its almost as good as going there – hopefully next year.
The webinar was organised by Merri Creek Management Committee, with funds from the City of Whittlesea and the Commonwealth Government’s Communities Environment Program.


Hanna Swamp

Restoring swamps in the Merri catchment.        
Hanna Swamp Discussion Paper: Analysing the gaps in policy and planning for wetlands within Melbourne’s urban growth areas

Part of Hanna Swamp lies in the Beveridge North West Precinct Structure Plan (PSP) area. The draft PSP is currently being considered by a Planning Panel, and Mark Bachmann from the Nature Glenelg Trust is advocating for the inclusion of the swamp in the PSP. The paper explores what has happened to the wetland, and why, and the risks for these wetlands as the overarching Victorian Government water policy converges with the development planning system.

The Nature Glenelg Trust as worked on many such projects in the South east of Australia.
The Friends are supporting the campaign for these swamps to be restored as centrepieces of the proposed Wallan Regional Park. A feasibility study is underway. This park will also contribute to the vision of a linked parkland, the length of the creek, from the headwaters at Heathcote Junction, to Dights Falls, Abbotsford.
The park would provide an wonderful resource for local communities as development spreads north.

Hanna Swamp: a forgotten Wallan Wallan wetland that highlights the challenges of ‘business as usual’ urban development
Illustrated through contemporary and current maps, you can see how this feature has persisted over time, even though drained for agricultutural purposes. It flows into the eastern side of the much larger Herne Swamp. Reversing the drainage system will stop the flow of water through the system, and allow the swamp to restore.

“For a site like this in the agricultural landscape, a drained wetland is never really lost – just think of it as being in an artificially induced state of drought. Return the water by reversing drainage impacts, as Nature Glenelg Trust have now done at dozens of wetlands across Victoria, and both ecological values and hydrological function can be recovered and restored in very quick time.
This means, artificial or not, once the drought breaks, natural wetlands are very forgiving ecosystems, capable of supporting wetland plants that are especially adept at bouncing back (e.g. from seed, rhizomes or other propagules), as well as a wide range of animals recolonising all by themselves, once the water returns.”

Map: Sydney M3: Merriang. 1840. (Detail) Historic Plans Collection. Public Record Office Victoria


New guide – Look for our fungi      

A new guide, plus videos on the fungi of Merri Creek.     

This new guide by Dr Sapphire McMullan-Fisher explores the fungi of Merri Creek, explains their role and what you can do to help protect them and the bushland. There are excellent photographs for you to ID any fungi you come across – including weedy fungi. Dr McMullan-Fisher gave us a fascinating presentation at the 2019 annual general meeting, opening up the world of fungi and their role in plant life. The guide also steps you through the process of adding records to iNaturalist with tips for taking photographs that will best support your records.

Look for our fungi – Merri Creek.

Sapphire has also made a series of 5 videos to help you become familiar with the fungi of Merri Creek and where they grow:
Fungi habitat
Can I eat it?
Earthballs help plants grow 
Green Staining Coral Fungi is having a good season