Melton is fortunate in having many areas of natural beauty, although these are often unnoticed or underrated. The natural vegetation that remains provides a refuge for a rich variety of native wildlife that would otherwise disappear from this region. The Melton area has a surprising amount of wildlife. Large numbers of kangaroos can be seen in the area around the forests to the north of Melton (extending from Toolern Vale to Bacchus Marsh, and also in Eynesbury Forest to the south, at Exford. Wallabies can also be seen occasionally (singly or in pairs) in the forests north of Melton, but are also sometimes seen in the narrow wooded fringes that line the local watercourses. Both kangaroos & wallabies can occasionally be seen along Toolern Creek, south of Melton. Brush-tailed Possums are common along the creeks within Melton that retain fringes of woodland remnants, especially large, old trees with hollows for nesting (especially Toolern Creek & Little Blind Creek).
The open grassy plains that surround Melton mainly consist of agricultural farmland. There are however, several surviving remnants of native grassland (although these are quite small and are rapidly being destroyed). Unfortunately, most people seem to regard native grasslands as useless and suitable for real estate only. The presence of natural grassland on properties is usually seen as a liability, (limiting land use options & sub-divisions) rather than an asset to be protected. Their continued survival prospects appear bleak.
Several patches of the original woodland also survive around Melton. These include Bush’s Paddock, Pinkerton Forest, Strathtulloh Woodland and Harkness Road/Gilgai Woodland. One of these, Eynesbury Forest, is the largest grey box woodland surviving south of the Great Dividing Range. Another woodlands are in Telephone Road, Ryans Lane & near Hopetoun Park, but these are on private land and very degraded. These woodlands are home to a considerable variety of wildlife, some of which are found only in this habitat. Many birds are restricted to a woodland habitat, and these are increasingly endangered. As these woodland remnants gradually disappear, so do the birds that depend upon them for their survival, Woodlands and grassland are the two most endangered habitats in Victoria and these survive now only in small remnants. We are fortunate in having a few of these endangered landscapes left in the Melton area, but their future survival depends upon our continued care and protection.
Lower Arnolds Creek: 74 species
Between Black Dog Drive & Brooklyn Road Bridge, Arnolds Creek flows through a wide scenic park in a residential neighbourhood. There is a footpath between Black Dog Drive & Brooklyn Road. Walking is easy on both sides of the creek, due to the wide verges of short mown grass. A large variety of native birds both live & nest here, particularly those that nest in tree hollows, making this reserve of major importance as a nesting site. Without these nesting sites, birds such as parrots & cockatoos (& those with similar nesting requirements)
In spring various species of parrots squabble over tree hollows. Three species of lorikeet (Rainbow, Musk & Purple-crowned Lorikeets) fight with Eastern Rosellas, Red-backed Parrots & Galahs for nest sites. Ducks are commonly seen swimming in the open pools of water that are scattered along this stretch of creek.
Lower Arnolds Creek gorge: below Brooklyn Road Bridge
Below the Brooklyn Road Bridge the creek starts to cut into the volcanic plain.
Arnolds Creek dips steeply into a narrow gorge.
- The escarpment rim supports a narrow woodland remnant of Grey Box trees (including hollow-bearing trees) with patches of understorey of Bursaria (Bursaria suaveolans), Hop Bush (Dodonea viscosa), Lightwood Wattle (Acacia implexa), Austral Indigo (Indigofera australis), Fragrant Saltbush (Rhagodia parabolica), Rock Correa (Correa glabra).
- The Grey Box trees on the rocky escarpment rim also shelter remnant Native Tobacco (Nicotiana suaveolens) & Turkey Bush (Eremophila deserti) among the on the rocky escarpment.
- The riparian streamside vegetation consists of a remnant Red Gum woodland of mature trees, many hollow-bearing), with Red Gum saplings regrowth & thickets of Black Wattle.
- Native fish in lower Arnolds Creek include Common Galaxia.
- At least three species of frog are found here, including Eastern Froglet, Pobblebonk & Whistling Treefrog (as per recordings forwarded to Melbourne Water Frogwatch Survey).
- The occasional kangaroo & koala are also seen along lower Arnolds Creek, along with the resident population of Brushtail Possums.
- A large variety of water invertebrates is found here, forming the base of a food chain affecting wildlife both in & around the water environment
Little Pied Cormorant White-faced Heron Greater Egret
Straw-necked Ibis Wood Duck Mallard
Pacific Black Duck Black-shouldered Kite Whistling Kite
Brown Goshawk Wedge-tailed Eagle Little Eagle
Australian Kestrel Australian Hobby Brown Falcon
Latham’s Snipe Rock Pigeon Spotted Dove
Crested Pigeon Galah Long-billed Corella
Little Corella Sulphur-crested Cockatoo Rainbow Lorikeet
Musk Lorikeet Purple-crowned Lorikeet Swift Parrot
Eastern Rosella Crimson Rosella Red-rumped Parrot
Horsfield’s Bronze-Cuckoo Pallid Cuckoo Southern Boobook
Sacred Kingfisher Kookaburra Eurasian Skylark
Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike Australasian Pipit White-winged Triller
Eurasian Blackbird Australian Reed-Warbler Scarlet Robin
Golden-headed Cisticola Willie-wagtail Gray Fantail
Rufous Fantail Golden Whistler Rufous Whistler
Grey Shrike-thrush Superb Fairywren Yellow Thornbill
White-browed Scrubwren Yellow-rumped Thornbill Silver-eye
White-fronted Chat Spotted Pardalote Striated Pardalote
Mistletoe Bird Red Wattlebird Magpie-lark
White-plumed Honeyeater New Holland Honeyeater Dusky Woodswallow
White-browed Woodswallow Little Raven Common Myna
Australasian Magpie European Starling Zebra Finch Red-browed Firetail House Sparrow European Greenfinch European Goldfinch Welcome Swallow