KRM Branch, 27 November 2022
The November outing was to Lake Claremont, where Nick Cook from the Friends of Lake Claremont group joined our group of 10 attendees for a walk around the lake. It was great to have Nick along as we learned about the restoration projects undertaken by the Friends group and some of the issues they face.
Nick told us that the restoration projects that the Friends group has undertaken have been so successful that Quenda has now been introduced to the reserve. A total of 45 were released, and there is evidence that they are now breeding. Nick told us that the lake water levels were high following the good winter rains, but overall bird numbers were low, probably due to wetlands and lakes throughout the Swan Coastal Plain also holding good water levels such that the wetland birds were well spread out. However, Nick did mention that Pink-eared Ducks had bred at the lake again during 2022 though we would only spot two during our walk. Fox control is performed using camera traps plus a shooter. One of the major issues at the reserve is the presence of the Polyphagous shot-hole Borer (PSHB) 1, 2, and Nick took us into a fenced area to see the damage they are causing to Moreton Bay Figs. Another issue is the protection of Long-necked Turtles, with ravens and foxes impacting numbers.
As we made our way around the lake, we did spot many wetland birds, including Pink-eared Ducks, Pacific Black Ducks, Australian Shelducks, Pied Stilts, Black Swans, a Nankeen Night Heron, Musk Duck, Australasian Grebe, Eurasian Coots, Dusky Moorhen, and a Little Pied Cormorant. Little Grassbirds were heard calling but proved very elusive, with only fleeting sightings as they flew between patches of reeds. Woodland birds were also hard to spot in the tree canopies; most were recorded based on their call. A single Bobtail Skink was the only reptile spotted. Daniel used our butterfly nets and found many insect species, including Tau Emerald Dragonflies, a Blue-banded Bee on Scaevola crassifolia, a sawfly, a Blackburniella sp. beetle and a Caedicia sp. Katydid nymph in some low shrubs. We also found a medium-sized jumping spider, Cytaea aspera, plus a Crusader Bug.
At around the halfway point, Nick took us into the workshop area used by the Friends group to show us around before bidding us farewell as he had to prepare for a group meeting that afternoon. We thanked him for taking the time to join us. Others also decided to turn back at this point, and only a small group continued our walk around the lake. We were able to add a few more bird species to our list on the way around the remainder of the trail, such as Laughing Kookaburra, Spotted Dove, and Black-faced Cuckoo Shrike.
Our list totalled 33 species, which was submitted to Birdata. It had been a very enjoyable visit.