It was a lovely autumn day today so I walked several kilometres of Cowies Creek. I walked from the Ring Road, crossed over Anakie Road and followed the creek to Thompsons Rd - and then walked back again. It was a very pleasant walk.
There is a sealed footpath on the northern bank of the creek and the entire length is very well-maintained and mown parkland. The creek banks have been planted with a variety of Australian plant species most of which appear to be those that grow locally - Acacia, Bursaria, Lomandra, Poa, Eucalyptus, Goodenia, and Cassinia. The creek bed is very weedy and numerous drains from the surrounding suburbs and industries enter the creek, especially downstream of Anakie Road. I saw a bit of rubbish but on the whole I was surprised by the cleanliness of the creek and the surrounding area.
Now for the good news. It was early afternoon but I counted 15 species of birds - the usual introduced species (Common Myna, Starling, Spotted Dove, Sparrow and Blackbird) as well as some nice locals including a White-faced Heron standing in some shallows, New Holland Honeyeaters and White-plumed Honeyeaters, Dusky Moorhens, Magpielarks, Red Wattlebirds and, best of all, a number of Grey Fantails. Dragonflies and damselflies were patrolling and I saw five species of butterflies (Cabbage White, Common Brown, Yellow Admiral, Common Grass-blue and Meadow Argus).
Common Grass-blue (attracted by a piece of foil)
Prior to walking this section I had read Aboltins' report on the Growling Grass Frog survey (referenced in the last blog). The frogs and several other species were found in several small dams constructed during the building of the ring road, in the creek upstream from Anakie Road and in a dam near the council depot of Anakie Road. The dams have been planted with water ribbons and other aquatic vegetation.
This section of the creek looks to be in good condition and it was here that I also heard some frogs calling today. There is a weir under the road leading into the depot and Aboltins reports that this prevents the introduced fish, including Eastern Gambusia Gambusia holbrooki, from moving upstream into the dam. The fish are known to predate on tadpoles and must be kept excluded if the frog population is to survive. This is a section of the creek that I will be recommending to the Mid-week Bird Group for their monthly excursion.
Creek near depot dam
Council depot dam
Click on photos to view large.
...to be continued