In the last week of August ten volunteers conducted the annual platypus survey on the Upper Murrumbidgee River at Scottsdale Reserve, in association with Cooma Waterwatch coordinator, Antia Brademan and Reserve Manger, Phil Palmer.
Liz Shelly's account of the trip:
We braved the cold on three early mornings (-5 one morning!) and late afternoons to record sightings of both Platypus and Water Rats. The survey requires the observer to sit still and quiet for an hour each time and to also observe the site conditions.
Over the ten sites, four Platypus and four Water Rats were sighted, on numerous occasions. All of us got very excited when we saw either animal, both of whom can be seen swimming briefly on the surface before diving to feed.
In between our fauna survey duties, we helped out on reserve, doing things such as installing a new (second-hand) wood fire in the shed (and yes, it’s a big improvement on the old one!), raking gravel onto the floor of the new plant nursery, cutting and storing willow timber from Gungoandra Creek (and then having two large bonfires at night to burn the timber!).
Other jobs completed included weeding in the nursery and trouble-shooting greywater management.
Overall, we had a great time conducting the survey in such a beautiful place, and it’s very rewarding getting jobs done around the reserve. Phil also took time out to give us a tour around Scottsdale, which was great for both seeing the reserve and hearing about all the great things being achieved there.
I’m sure all us volunteers would thoroughly recommend the experience, and hope to return next year to take part in the survey again!