Golly! Our planned circular walk around the Big Carine Swamp with a side visit to the historic Briggs’ lime kiln certainly didn’t go to plan! Firstly we couldn’t find the underpass beneath Reid Highway, then we couldn’t find the kiln site and to top it off it began to rain—so we backtracked instead of finishing the circle. Nevertheless, five members and four visitors did enjoy the morning’s outing.
No doubt due to the weather, most of the water birds had taken shelter within the thick vegetation around the two swamps. At Little Swamp we saw Eurasian Coot, Dusky Moorhen, Pacific Black Duck, Blue-billed Duck and a solitary Musk Duck. At our only stop at the Big Swamp before turning back, we spotted a small flock of Wood Ducks and an Eastern Great Egret.
The Carine Swamp Reserve has several resident Tawny Frogmouths but they were not in their usual tree, or were too well camouflaged. We did see another eleven bird species; the more unusual—but not rare—were the Grey Fantail and the Grey Butcherbird.
We spotted numerous fungi both in the ground and on the various trees but as no one had brought a fungi book we were not able to identify them (Lesson for next walk: bring the Nats’ Club fungi guide.)
As to be expected in wetlands: we heard lots of frogs calling but we didn’t actually spot any.
After the walk, I did finally locate the site of Briggs’ lime kiln (left, State Heritage Office). Thomas James Briggs learnt the trade from his father who had constructed a series of kilns for the production of lime and charcoal at Peppermint Grove and Cottesloe circa 1858. At the age of only 15, Briggs decided to begin lime-burning himself and chose the site at Carine in 1874. He went on to build and operate kilns at a number of sites around Perth and at one stage was the mayor of Claremont (1907-09).
Note the plaque ( right, D Poynton) wrongly acknowledges his father as the operator and has the incorrect date as mayor.