Saltmarshes on the western shores of Port Phillip Bay provide important habitat for endangered Orange-bellied Parrots and a host of other fascinating plants and animals. These Singing Honeyeaters were recently sighted in saltmarsh shrubland at Jawbone Marine Sanctuary, Williamstown.
A southern population of Singing Honeyeaters (Lichenostomus virescens) is recorded from Mornington Peninsula to the South Australian border. They eat seeds and berries, nectar and pollen, and a whole range of animal life (insects, damselflies, praying mantis, grasshopper, bugs, lerps, beetles, larvae, ants and spiders). Pretty versatile!
Incoming tides can bring sediments into a saltmarsh area and outgoing tides can remove them. Over time, this causes small changes in the elevation and slope of the soil, creating different zones of soil salinity and waterlogging. As different saltmarsh plants are adapted to different zones, a longterm increase in sea level could favour some species and eliminate others.
This wouldn’t be a problem if the saltmarsh was able to migrate inland as sea levels rise. But the landward edges of many saltmarshes have already been filled in for residential development or agriculture. There’s no time like the present to start planning for substantial areas of saltmarsh to be protected into the future.