Will our platypus families survive?

We are pleased to bring you a second installment about  Ed Frazer's platypus family sightings.

Well, perhaps not so pleased, because it seems the drought is making life difficult for this platypus mum.

Here is the latest of Ed's reports, regarding the second platypus family he is monitoring:

The female platypus with the den in the Goldmont reach of Gold Creek is having a difficult time. The creek is rather shallow in this reach and it is drying out rapidly. 

The pool outside the den is slightly deeper than most of the rest, but clearly the pool is not big enough to continue to support a family of platypus unless it rains soon.

 Platypus den in the Goldmont reach

I haven’t seen the platypus mother for several days but I know she is still active at night because of the clues she leaves.

As she enters her den she leaves a wet mark on the log where I have previously seen her climbing up.

 Print on a log left by the platypus entering her den 

She also leaves paths through the weed patch that is rapidly drying out. The insect larvae she feeds on such as caddis fly, dragonfly and midges will also be concentrating in the damp weeds as the water level goes down.

  Food sources are starting to dry up

It will probably be easier for her to get food for a while as the water goes down with all the creatures retreating to the small area of water left. 

But it won’t take long before that supply is exhausted as she and the babies which are due out any day will have to compete with others feeding in the same reduced area.

There is a large eel, a short-necked turtle, lots of fish and wading birds including a beautiful Intermediate Egret in full breeding plumage.

 This Intermediate Egret shares the platypus family's feeding ground

Unfortunately the opportunist “Dump Chooks” (Sacred Ibis) have found the spot too. One came first about a week ago and it has now brought its mates. There are usually six poking around in the shallows.

 Ibis moving in, in search of food

Hopefully it will rain soon and all will be well, but I think it will be touch and go for this family. 

She may be able to lead her young about 200 metres down to the Adavale reach where the first family are in a much deeper part of Gold Creek, but there are several dry parts sections that may be difficult for the young platypus to negotiate. 

Perhaps they could release some water from the Gold Creek Reservoir to help the Platypus and other wildlife in the creek if it doesn’t rain soon?

Do you know anyone who can help with Ed's suggestion regarding a water release?

Photos are copyright of Ed Frazer