A visit from Maggie Goose and other interesting birds at Yalukit Willam Nature Reserve

The following article is taken from the Banksia Bulletin – Winter 2023 edition.

Words by Natalie Davey, President Yalukit William Nature Reserve

Photos by Danny Fog

A recent visit of Magpie Geese to Yalukit Willam Nature Reserve is a testament to the incredible memory animals have for Country, or at the very least a wonderful detective skill in discovering newish wetland habitats. It highlights how important wetland revival projects are and gives cause for the community to celebrate.

The Magpie Goose, known as Anseranas semipalmata, is the sole living representative species of the family Anseranatidae. This is an ancient species, emerging around 67 million years ago – a true living fossil. They love to eat mostly vegetation such as dry grass blades, grass seeds, spike rush bulbs and wild rice. While this waterbird is commonly found now in northern Australia and southern New Guinea, it was once widespread in southern Australia as well. However, due to the drainage of wetlands where they once bred and overhunting by colonial settlers, the species all but disappeared from Victoria.

Spotted at Yalukit Willam Nature Reserve

Magpie Geese visiting the Yalukit Willam Nature Reserve is an exciting development. Over our last two monthly bird surveys, there has been an increase in bird populations in the Chain of Ponds, particularly survey areas E and F, which have undergone significant revegetation efforts.

This achievement has been helped by the dedication of numerous volunteers who laboured tirelessly alongside Bayside contractors and officers to propagate, plant, and protect the vegetation, enabling it to reach a stage of maturity that can support diverse wildlife. Such observations highlight the importance of ongoing monitoring and documentation to understand and appreciate the biodiversity within the wetland ecosystem that is developing in the reserve. It also marks a turning point in the fact that in a relatively short time, the newly established Chain of Ponds is now attracting more biodiversity than the original golf course pond. It’s incredible to think that not very long ago it was just an open space with a few trees. I wonder who will be our next visitor?

This article has been edited for the website reading, the full article can be found on page 14 of Banskia Bulletin Winter 2023.

Photo Gallery: bird species count in YWNR up to 124

Check out some of the other feathered visitors to Yalukit Willam Nature Reserve.

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