Re: RFI: Winton Swamp bird list

Subject: Re: RFI: Winton Swamp bird list
Date: Wed, 3 May 2006 10:06:41 +1000
Hello Mark, interested to know what you hope to use the bird data for.

I offer the following sources of information and thoughts for you on the 
old Winton Swamp.

1. Published information
As you may already be finding, there is little published information on 
the fauna of Winton Swamp prior to the construction of Lake Mokoan.

Cowling and Lowe (1981) mention Lake Mokoan as a site for ibis breeding, 
with 1950s records of Sacred Ibis nesting at the old Winton Swamp viz.
Studies of Ibises in Victoria  -

But this a rare mention of this location in my experience.

As part of the Wetland and Waterbird Mapping project I was involved in 
during the 1990s, we mapped the current and pre-European wetland 
boundaries of wetlands across northern Victoria.  The natural boundaries 
of Winton Swamp and associated wetlands have been recorded in a Geographic 
Information System (GIS) held by the Department of Sustainability and 
Environment in Melbourne.  Any associated bird surveys we undertook as 
part of the mapping project were of course for Lake Mokoan.

Helen Aston (National Herbarium, South Yarra) did some flora studies on 
Winton Swamp in the 1950s and 1960s.  These unpublished reports can be 
found in the Royal Botanic Gardens Library.

2. Atlas of Victorian Wildlife data
Dedicated, government-funded fauna surveys in Victoria largely commenced 
about 1970.  This means there may be very little flora and fauna data in 
government databases.

Lake Mokoan was constructed in the late 1960s I believe (see photo at and finally 
completed in about 1971.  As far as I'm aware there was no 
Environmental Impact Statement or equivalent studies done on Winton Swamp 
and associated wetlands prior to the commissioning of the reservoir.

The Atlas of Victorian Wildlife (AVW) has data for this area but you would 
need to request a printout of data for the period before 1971 to see 
whether any old information has been reported.  Data request from the AVW 
can be made by email to the following address: 

3. Regional staff
Maybe local people, particularly Department of Sustainability and 
Environment (DSE) Fisheries and Wildlife Officers, would remember or know 
of such information.  I would contact the DSE office in Benalla and ask. 
The Benalla office may also have old files on this area.  To contact any 
DSE office, just ring 136 186 for the cost of a local call.

4. Old DSE files
Old records and files of the department may be a mine of information. Last 
year I searched old files (existing as paper copies only) for records and 
reports of colonially breeding waterbirds in Barmah and Gunbower and found 
much useful information.

I would look for files produced by the old Rural Water Commission (RWC) or 
State Rivers and Water Supply Commission and maybe the old Forests 
Commission of Victoria (FCV).

Old government records are held and made available to the public at the 
Public Records Office (PROV) in North Melbourne.  They can be contacted 
via the following URL:

5. Public requests
It might be worth placing a request for information in the Bird Observers 
Club of Australia newsletter.  I had a few replies to my request for King 
Quail sightings last year.  Benalla area locals might be able to help.

Let us know how you go.

cheers, Martin

Martin O'Brien
Threatened Species & Communities Section
Department of Sustainability and Environment
2/8 Nicholson St. (PO Box 500), East Melbourne  3002


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