Eleven of us spent almost two hours, in perfect weather, wandering around Careniup Swamp Reserve looking at the flora and fauna in its wetlands, large open spaces and urban forests.
Inside the Secret Garden Photo: P Auty
The land around the Careniup Swamp was originally part of ‘Swan Location K’, one of the long tracts of land with short river frontage known as “ribbon grants” granted by Governor Stirling in 1829. Today it is managed by the City of Stirling, whose recent Draft Management Plan lists 38 bird, six frog and three reptile species and 117 species of plants, of which only 34 are native.
Three distinct vegetation types have been identified within the Reserve:
- Typha orientalis (Bullrush) Grassland associated with Pampas Grass (Cortaderia selloana)
- Arundo donax (Giant Reed) Grassland
- Melaleuca rhaphiophylla (Swamp paperbark) and Eucalyptus rudis (Flooded gum) Woodland over a weedy under storey.
We started our walk in the northeast corner of the reserve, where all three types are present, along with the even more invasive Coast Morning Glory (Ipomoea cairica). This area—known locally as the “Secret Garden”, although consisting of mainly weed species—has a romantic charm to it and has become not only the playground of many children but a favourite spot for wedding photos.
The ‘Secret Garden’ has a certain romantic charm, Photo: D Poynton
“GOLLY! Despite the rain this month there is less mud in the Secret Garden than six weeks ago.”; a sign of our drying climate.
The remainder of our walk was around the periphery of the wetland, where breaks in the vegetation allowed us to view eight species of waterfowl, two egret species, Australian White Ibis, Yellow-billed Spoonbill and Little Black Cormorant, as well as Reed Warbler and a Nankeen Night Heron. All up, we managed to record 29 species: 19 of the 38 bird species listed and 10 more that were not.
No fungi or reptiles were sighted but we did hear frog calls that we could not identify.