Golly Walk: Coastal Path¦Hillarys to Watermans

NS BRANCH Excursion Report

Our November GOLLY Walks—the last of the year—are always along the coast, usually combining a mix of paths and beaches. This year we started from last year’s finishing point, Hillarys Marina, and walked approximately 3km south to the old Department of Fisheries laboratories at Watermans.

Prior to setting off we were joined by Mike Norman, co-ordinator of the Friends of Sorrento Beach and Marmion Foreshore (FSBMF), and two other volunteers from that group. The FSBMF look after 2.4km of foreshore reserve between Hillarys Marina and the City of Joondalup’s southern boundary at Beach Road. We were told that volunteers had planted over 20,000 seedlings in an effort to re-establish the original vegetation communities in the areaMike pointed out the various native plants, most of which had finished flowering—with the exception of Thick-leaved Fan Flower (Scaevola crassifolia) and Chenille Honeymyrtle (Melaleuca huegelii).

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FSBMF’s revegetation efforts along the foreshore

At Beach Road we were met by Rae Kolb, convenor of Stirling Natural Environment Coastcare (SNEC), and other members of that group. After viewing more revegetated areas, we stopped at Granny’s Pool near Watermans Bay to view the remnants of the wave cut platform formed during the Holocene sea-level maximum between 5000 and 6000 yr B.P.  The platform, which is about 2m above today’s sea level, contains large fragments of numerous coral species: evidence of warmer air and sea temperatures at that time.

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Fragments of coral on the rock platform

Ian Abbott was our bird spotter but even with his keen eye only seven species were recorded, the most notable of which were the Nankeen Kestrel and Osprey.

Ian noted the removal of weeds and the restoration of native vegetation by the Friends groups had been so well done that it now provides excellent habitat for Fairy-wrens. However, possibly owing to the strong sea breeze, none of them were sighted. Perhaps they are present but were not detected, or are yet to recolonise. The nearest known localities with Purple-backed (previously known as Variegated) Fairy-wrens and White-winged Fairy-wrens are in the foreshore reserve on the northern Hillarys Marina.

We finished our walk at SNEC’s “club house” where Rae gave us a presentation on the restoration undertaken by the group while we enjoyed the morning tea they had provided.

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Mike and Rae quite often come across Dugites, but the only reptile we encountered was a pale brown King’s Skink (Egernia kingii), which was unusual, as most of the coastal ones are dark.

Don Poynton

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