Guilderton Coastal Walk and Boat Cruise

Notley Late Easter Excursion: Waterways Around Perth Metro. Northern Suburbs Branch, Thursday, 19th May 2022

The 17 members, including Johanna Notley and a visitor from Victoria, left Guilderton having had a very enjoyable, informative and relaxing day. Our morning began with Don Poynton and Diana Papenfus leading us along the boardwalk, which flanks the northern side of the Moore River estuary.

After identifying some of the limestone loving plants and observing the resident pelicans, we swung down onto the beach.

From here, we could see Silver Gulls, Crested Terns and Pied Oystercatchers resting on the sand bar, which, by preventing water from escaping during summer, maintains the river’s health and expansive healthy riparian habitat upstream.

Although it was raining heavily offshore, the conditions for our walk along the beach to the North Groyne were ideal. Due to the lack of recent storms, the beach was devoid of extensive sea wrack. Still, we could find plenty of cuttlebones and guess what caused their demise by identifying the characteristic teeth marks of porpoises and other likely predators.

Apart from scattered brown and red algae remnants, the only other biological specimens found were a few bluebottles.

It was good news for Graham Ezzy, who had the task of carrying the bag for litter. It remained remarkedly light! One form of litter that caught Don’s eye and everyone’s anger was the orange strips of plastic that Don identified as remnants of shot cord (essentially the fuse wire used for blasting) which had travelled 50km from the Ocean Reef marina construction site.

After morning tea, we boarded our vessel for the tour of the Moore River. As our very knowledgeable skipper, Phil “Cookie” Cook, steered us towards the bar, he began his commentary by describing the phases of the build-up and collapse of the bar. Once broken, the water level can drop a couple of metres in a few hours.

As we headed upstream, we learned the river was named after early Swan River colonist, landowner and explorer George Fletcher Moore, who reached the river in 1836. At around 1.4 million hectares, the river’s catchment is greater than the catchment of the Swan River. Cookie explained that he had not only taken a great interest in learning the names of all the plants and trees along the river but had helped protect them by forming the Lower Moore River Working Group. The group was also responsible for revegetating large areas and building boardwalks.

By the time we turned around at the Woodbridge boat ramp, seven kilometres upstream from Guilderton, we had passed probably the best stands of Tuart in the State, large expanses of Swamp Paperbark, a hillside of Allocasuarina sp., possibly cumulus and closer to the river, three species of banksia, B. menziesii, B. littoralis and B. attenuata.

Although we did not see any of the 37 species of fishes found in the river, we did see many of the birds that make the river their home. We spotted thirteen of the 113 species that have been recorded within a 25km radius of Guilderton.

Don Poynton