New life on floating wetlands
Docklanders continue to enjoy a front-row seat to observe native wildlife returning to the heart of Melbourne, with more swan nesting sites, cygnets, and unhatched eggs being discovered on new floating wetlands.
Yarra Riverkeeper Charlotte Sterrett told Docklands News her group had been monitoring the wetlands at Yarra’s Edge and Victoria Harbour as local swan numbers increased.
“Our electric boat was next to one of the floating wetlands, so we were aware of the swans quite quickly because we were there every week,” she said.
“The first time we saw the swans was when one came to the boat with its baby on its back; the baby jumped off its back and was swimming around with the mother.”
Local resident Lawrence Gerver, who supplied some of the featured images to Docklands News, also found a pair of black swans building a nest on the floating ecosystem near Library at the Dock.
“My heart leapt with excitement like a child, and I quickly ran home and returned with my camera. I was intending to take photos of the two birds, not realising I was in for a surprise: there laid in the centre of the nest were two tennis ball-sized white eggs, which by the following day grew to five,” he said.
As a photographer for 40 years and videographer for 12 years, Mr Gerver said he had never captured unhatched eggs in a nest.
Photos by Lawrence Gerver.
“I have not captured anything like these before. Yes, I have taken photos and made videos of black swans at the Albert Park Lake and the Royal Park wetland, but with five unhatched eggs in a nest is the first time and the feeling is uniquely precious and wonderful,” Mr Gerver said.
Ms Sterret said the return of wildlife was good news for locals.
“We spoke to local residents who are very excited about the swans nesting near where they live. They think it’s fantastic. So, communities are very interested and watching what the swans are doing so it’s brought more people to the area,” Ms Sterret said.
Mr Gerver said excitement was building locally for the birth of the cygnets.
These are very anxious times, and I am sure deep down the hearts of the passers-by and the whole walking community wish to see these five cygnets born into this world, it is definitely worth the wait.
The series of floating wetlands was launched in Docklands in December last year under a City of Melbourne trial project to support a healthy ecosystem on the Yarra River.
Five large wetlands were towed into the river consisting of hundreds of young, native Indigenous plants in what Lord Mayor Sally Capp said was a “another step forward for the Greenline Project and a beautiful way to return native plants and animals to the heart of our city”.
The wetlands are located at Yarra’s Edge near Webb Bridge, the Turning Basin at Enterprize Park, and Victoria Harbour Promenade after the state government provided a $700,000 grant to the council.
Ms Sterret said the wetlands had provided a safe habitat for wildlife, and helped to raise awareness of the health of the Yarra River.
“It’s unique at the moment because prior to having the floating wetlands there wasn’t anywhere for the swans to nest easily but really that shouldn’t be the case,” she said.
“There should be places in the city where the swans should nest easily. And if we have more greenery in the city which is what we need, that would be a common occurrence.”
“More people are interested in how we restore the river’s full health as a result.” •