As the new Freshwater Ecologist at Edgbaston Reserve, I've been spending some time exploring the incredible spring complex. The diversity of life in these desert oases is astounding, and I'm very excited to learn about the adaptations that allow organisms to persist here.
I was working in the springs getting familiar with the fish, invertebrates and plants that occur only at Edgbaston when I stumbled across an exciting visitor. Bursting from one of the springs, which are home to the Red-finned Blue-eye, was an Australian Painted Snipe!
These birds are endemic to Australia and are listed as endangered under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act. The painted snipe has never been recorded at Edgbaston before, and it's incredible to see this species using our conservation reserve. How great that the springs on Edgbaston are providing habitat for another endangered Australian animal.
I visited the site a few times that week following a hunch that this bird might be nesting in the wetland of the spring. We had a heap of rain at Edgbaston two weeks ago, and these birds can reproduce in response to local wetland conditions rather than during particular breeding seasons.
This response to arid conditions, shown by a number of species out here, drives the boom and bust nature of these environments. The snipe was there each time I visited, and although I wasn’t able to find the nest I will definitely be keeping a keen eye out for hatchlings.
So my first month working at Edgbaston has been full of excitement, acquainting myself with the local wildlife and making the first record of the Australian Painted Snipe here. I have a feeling that Edgbaston will be full of surprises, and I can’t wait to see what we discover next!
Funding for our work protecting the endangered Red-fin Blue-eye in the artesian springs on Edgbaston Reserve has been provided by:
The Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund
The Queensland Government Nature Assist Program through an
Everyone's Environment Grant