The Waterbowls project is a community effort to provide water for wildlife on the Bayside foreshore. Waterbowls have been strategically placed near the foreshore walking track between Ricketts Point in Beaumaris and Brighton Baths. They are usually located beside or close to a tap.
There are twenty water bowls that are regularly monitored, cleaned and filled by Friends volunteers across the year with more frequent visits during summer.
Changes to the local environment over time have seen drainage and water soaks mostly disappear. Wildlife relies on some moisture, particularly seedeaters during these increasingly hot and long summers. Birds, reptiles, small mammals and even insects use these water bowls. During the warmer months volunteers often notice birds waiting nearby to quench their thirst.
Since 2004 FoNW have spent many hours walking the beach track in Bayside. During the years of the severe Millennium Drought, lack of water along the dry foreshore became more evident. Numbers of small birds dropped significantly and blue tongue lizards became uncommon. Water helps birds digest the seeds obtained from grasses and shrubs, especially when the food supply is also under stress from drought, with the plants themselves drier than usual.
Ian Parsons and Elizabeth Walsh of FoNW had an idea as they surveyed the Bayside forshore - to provide shallow water bowls for wildlife along the often dry cliff tops.
The project started in 2007. We listed all the water taps we could find, with Val LaMay taking GPS readings of the most suitable sites for water bowls under those taps. Growth covered some taps, and some were not connected or not suitable.
Bayside Environmental Friends Network, led by Barbara Jakob, won a grant to have the bowls made by Beaumaris Art Group and students at the Hampton Community Centre. A major rollout of waterbowls was done in 2012-13, and a few final bowls and adjustments were done in 2015. Stephan from Citywide supported us through concreting in most of the bowls and he arranged re-plumbing of a few taps.
Wildlife is making use of the bowls. Superb blue wren, thornbills, silvereyes and scrubwrens have been seen, along with larger birds and skinks including the occasional blue tongue lizard. It has also been a joy to have watched birds bathing in a few bowls.