By Cam Lucadou-Wells
During the height of Covid-19 restrictions, walkers were stampeding park trails while traffic on roads fell silent.
The changes weren’t unnoticed by wildlife.
Birds became more prominent, kangaroos were spotted in places never seen before, says Friends of Dandenong Valley Reserve president David Lumb.
In a season of high rainfall, higher numbers of fungi are rising from the soils – as are the Friends Group’s tree and shrub plantings along Dandenong Creek and Jells Park.
But then there’s the hundreds of new human faces seen on the Dandenong Creek trail, from just north of Dandenong to Bayswater.
“Every day on the walk, there’s literally hundreds of people on the trail,” says Mr Lumb – who is also a member of Waverley Bushwalking Club.
“If you step off to look at something, you have to wait for groups of people to pass before you get back on the track.”
Another thing to notice is the rejuvenation of wetlands and waterways, he says.
“Because there’s more water around, the water birds are dispersed over (additional) wetlands.”
Will the popular discovery and re-discovery of nature walks last?
Mr Lumb is not sure, but as soon as social distancing rules relax, his Friends group will be back re-planting and beautifying these newly appreciated scenes.
Meanwhile, Star Journal photographer Gary Sissons roamed some of Greater Dandenong’s reserves to capture their rain-drenched splendour.