MCCG Annual Platypus Survey
Moggill Creek Catchment Group have been carrying out annual platypus surveys in the catchment since 2005. The surveys are coordinated by Dr Christine Hosking (UQ) and held in early September each year during the breeding season, when platypus are most active. Since platypus are predominantly nocturnal, the surveys involve 50 or so volunteers taking up predetermined observation sites before dawn, observing their section of the creek for a couple of hours, then sending in their report (with photos where possible) for collation and analysis of the results. Observers need to be careful not to mistake other species, notably water dragons, freshwater turtles and the rarer native water rats (Rakali) which are distinguishable by the white tip on their tails.
Regular surveys of native wildlife are important in monitoring the health of the environment over time, with changes in numbers providing important indicators of seasonal variations due to drought, flood, bushfires etc. and longer-term changes due to pollution, land clearing, urban development and climate change. Platypus numbers are a good indicator of creek health, but are significantly affected by drought and flood cycles. Since 2005 the surveys have recorded individual platypus sightings across the catchment varying from around 6 to a maximum of 20. Numbers were low following the drought years of 2005-7 but recovered in 2008. They fell in 2013 and again in 2018 following dry winters, but overall seem to be reasonably stable, averaging around 11 confirmed sightings each year. Recently there have been few sightings in the upper reaches of Moggill Creek, with numbers concentrated in Gold Creek and the mid-sections of Moggill Creek, both of which benefit from environmental flows emanating from Gold Creek Dam.
In previous years participants were rewarded by a cooked breakfast at the Pony Club in the showgrounds, but this has not been possible over the last two years due to Covid restrictions. This year’s survey was held on Sunday 12thSeptember. Results are still being verified but about 11 confirmed sightings were recorded. Many thanks to all those dedicated volunteers who sacrificed a Sunday sleep-in for a very good cause!
Platypus Moggill Creek Photo: Ed Frazer