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Mound in Riverland Conservation Park active for the first time in 27 years

Rowena Danks (on behalf of Murraylands and Riverland Landscape Board) 

It can be disheartening monitoring mounds year after year that look non-existent. Walking through the scrub to find no sign of activity at that mound again, you could be forgiven for losing hope and wondering if the birds are still persisting in the area.   This year we are extremely excited to report that an active mound in the Riverland, South Australia is being worked for the first time since 1994.

With the usual vagaries a malleefowl grid is exposed to, there had been no activity recorded at the grid since 2004. Since this time, more dry seasons and a wildfire in the conservation park in 2007 had made it challenging for malleefowl in the area.

During the annual monitoring early in December this year, we were very surprised to find a newly active mound with fresh leaf litter and fresh activity that day. There had recently been much welcomed rains in the Riverland.

On the way home Graeme Tonkin checked the database to confirm the last recorded activity for this mound was in 1994.  A series of photos (below)  shows the changes in this mound since last season (2020).

This grid was monitored for many years by the Friends of Riverland Parks volunteer group and in more recent years by Graham Frahn, Peter Haines and Robert Norman. The efforts of these volunteers were not in vain. It’s a great reminder that the monitoring being undertaken is important even when the mounds appear to be permanently abandoned.

2020 monitoring photo showing a very unused mound.
New mound activity 3/12/21
Volunteer Robert Norman at the mound 20/12/21. Photo Peter Haines.