LIGHTNING SWAMP

YOUNG NATURALISTS EXCURSION REPORT

Locals Kirsten Tullis and Russell Chambers joined Roz, Sophie (the dog), Steve and Rosie (the Young Nats!) for a really lovely walk in Lightning Swamp on May 21. Rain threatened; however we were really fortunate that the grey rainclouds moved over and the drizzle faded as we started. We wandered in sunshine surrounded by beautiful sparkly raindrops on the plants. Kirsten and Russell know Lightning Swamp well and led us first to the perched swamp. On the way, Russell drew our attention to WA Christmas Tree (Nuytsia floribunda) seeds that were being released and we had a good look at these unusual seeds.

 

Calytrix fraseriana had a few remaining flowers and many seeds. We looked at how these different seeds drill themselves quickly into the ground to start germinating with the first rain.


Calytrix fraseriana flower and seed, R Hart

The Firewood Banksias (Banksia menziesii) were in glorious flower, at all flowering stages. We saw several Eucalyptus todtiana (Prickly Bark), which are not common but present in the north metro area and which were fire affected. There were several huge Modongs or Swamp Paperbarks (Melaleuca raphiophylla), which were lovely to see here. When we reached the central drain—which had filled with water in the rain overnight—Sophie jumped in for a swim in typical Golden Retriever fashion but to everyone else’s amazement.

Along the drain, Rosie and Russell spotted frogs hopping in the wet undergrowth: on closer inspection we found two species: Crinia insignifera (Sandplain Froglet) and Crinia georgiana (Red-thighed Froglet)

We visited the revegetated area, which had been a farm in the centre of the swamp. It’s coming on well. We spotted a few fungi such as Amanita but it was a bit too soon after the rains had started. The Pearl Flower (Conostephium pendulum) was in flower.

We did a circuit across the bridge and back through sedge-lands to our starting place. We enjoyed a lovely two-hour bushwalk with lots of interesting things to spot in the sunshine amongst freshly sparkling raindrops. It didn’t rain again until we were driving home.

Roz Hart


Nuytsia floribunda seed, R Hart