Each year in September, a group of volunteer ‘platy-watchers’ gathers before sunrise at the Brookfield Showgrounds prior to heading off to observation posts on Moggill and Gold Creeks. They spend an hour or so at their appointed site then return to the Showgrounds to deliver their results and share a BBQ breakfast provided by MCCG.
The Annual Platypus Survey began in 2005 and is entirely volunteer-driven. Since the survey began, sightings have fluctuated but happily this unique species is still living in Brisbane’s back yard.
Snapshot over the years:
2018: 7 platypus sightings across the catchment
2017: 15 platypus sightings in total, of possibly 12 individuals
2016: 11 platypus in total; some in new spots from previous years
2015: 11 platypus, most on lower reaches of Moggill Creek and mid-Gold Creek
2014: 9 platypus, similar to 2013. Platypus reported in less disturbed areas of the creeks
2013: (another wet summer, but dry late winter): 7 individual platypus seen
2012: (wet summer, but 7 weeks without rain prior to survey): 17 individual platypus seen
2011: (severe flooding of creeks early in year): 13 individual platypus seen
2010: (continuing good rains): 20 individual platypus seen
2009: (severe flooding of creeks early in year) 7 individual platypus seen
2008: (10-year drought broken, good rain, water in the creeks) 15 individual platypus seen
2005-2007: (extreme drought years): maximum of 6 individual platypus seen.
The following graph shows how sightings have fluctuated over the years we have been doing the snapshot surveys:
2018 Survey Report – Sunday 9 September:
- 47 volunteers turned up at their assigned sites on a damp and misty morning before 4.30am searching for the ever elusive platypus
- We recorded 7 platypus sightings across the catchment
- The platypus were seen at upper Gold Creek (just below the dam), Upper Brookfield and downstream at lower Brookfield/Kenmore
- And on an even more positive note, at numerous sites that yielded a negative result for this year’s survey, platypus have recently been seen by local residents
- … all indicating that platypus are maintaining their presence within the catchment!
- Click here to read the full 2018 report by Dr Christine Adams-Hosking: Platypus Survey 2018 Report
2017 Survey Report – Sunday 10 September:
- We had an outstanding number of 76 volunteers who eagerly turned up before 4.30am
- Despite the dry winter and shallower pools, we had 15 platypus sightings in total
- By checking descriptions of times and behaviours, we believe there were possible 12 individual platypus that were active on the morning
- Key areas included Kilkivan Avenue, Huntington Estate, mid to lower Gold Creek, Mumford Bridge the fig tree pool at Brookfield and Smith Rainforest Reserve
- The habitat quality is consistent with fair to good results; no major changes from last year
- Click here to read the full 2017 report by Tamielle Brunt: Platypus Survey 2017 Report
2016 Survey Report – Sunday 11 September:
- We had an amazing number of 71 volunteers dispersed along Gold and Moggill Creeks.
- Our survey results yielded 11 platypus sightings in total, with platypus seen across a broad spatial scale:
- Two recorded at one site at Branton Street, Kenmore and a total of three animals seen in this section (exciting ! We haven’t seen this many platypuses for a few years.)
- Sightings in Moggill Creek and Gold Creek in Upper Brookfield, near Brookfield Produce, in the Huntington Estate, near Kenmore High School and in lower Moggill Creek in the Kilkivan/Manyung streets area.
- A platypus seen close to the Gold Creek dam on Gold Creek. (They haven’t been seen that far up the creek since the refurbishment of the wall back in 2005).
- The creek habitat assessments were similar throughout the catchment’s survey sites. Most were fair to good, with only two records of very poor quality habitat.
- Click here to read a full report authored by Tamielle Brunt: Platypus Survey 2016 Report
2015 Survey – key points:
- Platypus are persisting in lower Moggill Creek, despite its urban environment
- Number of platypus sightings was low in upper Moggill Creek
- Platypus have returned to two sites in upper Gold Creek where they haven’t been observed for several years
- This is a snapshot survey on one morning. We know there are platypus in some sites where they weren’t observed this time
- We don’t know if a couple of sightings in close proximity were the same animal or two individuals. We also don’t know if there are any breeding pairs
You can see a video of a platypus sighting here (thanks to Tim Vanlint and Debbie Miller).
2013 Survey Report:
In 2013 the sightings (with one exception in Upper Brookfield) were all in lower Moggill Creek. This is a higher density urban area of the catchment that has been the focus of tireless community riparian restoration efforts led by MCCG volunteers such as Malcolm Frost, Bryan Hacker and Damien Egan over many years. Perhaps the continual presence of platypus in these areas is in no small part due to their dedication to conserving the area’s biodiversity.
Why was the number of platypus observed lower in 2013 and why were none seen in Gold Creek, a former platypus stronghold? There is no simple answer, but factors may include:
- Little recent rainfall and therefore generally less water and flow in the creeks, meaning that platypus are currently concentrated in restricted ‘stronghold’ areas.
- Since the surveys began, Gold Creek has been subjected to controlled water releases from the Gold Creek Dam (including flooding and complete cessation of flow) and major disturbance during dam wall reconstruction. Perhaps platypus numbers in this creek have been declining as a result.
- Platypus were there but simply were not seen at the time of the survey. We know from reported sightings from local residents that they are being regularly observed at some of the stronghold sites where they weren’t seen on the survey morning.
- You can click here for a Google Map of the platypus sightings for 2011 and here for the 2015 map showing all survey points and those at which platypus were sighted.
2011 Survey Report:
Link to Noam’s video of a platypus in Moggill Ck near the Brookfield Showgrounds taken during the 2011 survey.
For information contact Chris Hosking: [email protected]