Mt Burr Swamp – Update on water levels, weeds, research, revegetation works and our first Water Rat record!

The dry summer and autumn might be contributing to the lowering of the water level at Mt Burr Swamp, but the aquatic life on the swamp is still thriving, with dragonflies and damselflies maintaining good numbers and diversity. A variety of waterfowl are also still hanging around especially now that mud flats are exposed and frogs are beginning to murmur.

Waterbirds on drying wetland edge

Waterbirds on the drying wetland edge

The property insect collection continues to grow, with Andy Lines visiting recently to survey and add to the collection.

Andy catching insects

Andy catching insects

Michelle Sargent who was working as an Intern with NGT (and recently commenced working for NRSE as an Authorised Officer in Naracoorte) continues her Master’s research on ‘insects in recovering wetlands’. Mt Burr Swamp and the Marshes Native Forest Reserve are Michelle’s study sites as she collects interesting data from across both properties.

Michelle sampling in MA2

Michelle sampling in compartment MA2

This Masters study is in conjunction with University of Adelaide. Michelle has completed a summer sampling with the autumn round aimed for April.

The electric fence around Mt Burr Swamp has become over-run with tall grass lately so Sheryl, Graeme and Andy have been out brush-cutting and trimming along its length to get the fence back operating more effectively.

Our trusty ‘wild pine’ volunteers have been at it again cutting down wildlings along the southern boundary including in The Marshes. Thanks to Fred, David and co. for heading out on numerous occasions (recently) to remove these trees from around our wetland edges and area of scrub.

Pine wildling control by volunteers

Pine wildling control by volunteers

The Bank Australia (Impact Fund grant) revegetation area (on the southern boundary of Mt Burr Swamp which joins onto The Marshes NFR) has managed to survive the below average summer rainfall. Despite some minor losses, overall we’ve had an encouraging result so far. We will plant another 2000 plants to complete this site before end of June this year. This revegetation area aims to consolidate connectivity with The Marshes NFR, provide improved habitat conditions for Growling Grass-frogs, Southern Brown Bandicoots and Red-tailed Black Cockatoos and involve the community in planting.

Bank Australia planting day (August 2017)

Bank Australia planting day (August 2017) (Source: N Mojonnier)

Seed collecting and plant propagating for our new 20 Million Trees project (at Mt Burr Swamp) has also been ramping up recently in preparation for the next couple of years of revegetation works.

Tarps full of drying seed pods to capture large quantities of seed

Tarps full of drying seed pods to capture large quantities of seed

Weed spraying on site commenced back in December for our direct seeding and tubestock planting areas. A big thankyou to the volunteers that are helping in the collecting and cleaning of the seed collected on the property or the adjacent Native Forest Reserves.

Finally, a few weeks back, Mark went for a quick look around the water’s edge at night to see what nocturnal wildlife was out and about. As well as coming across a huge Growling Grass Frog (aka Southern Bell Frog), Mark also captured a glimpse of our first Rakali (i.e. Water Rat) at Mt Burr Swamp. See below for the photos and video!

Growling Grass Frog (Litoria raniformis) at Mt Burr Swamp in February 2018. Photo by Mark Bachmann

Growling Grass Frog (Litoria raniformis) at Mt Burr Swamp in February 2018. Photo: Mark Bachmann

Rakali (Hydromys chrysogaster) at Mt Burr Swamp. Photo: Mark Bachmann

Rakali (Hydromys chrysogaster) at Mt Burr Swamp. Photo: Mark Bachmann

Bryan Haywood
Bryan Haywood
bryan.haywood@natureglenelg.org.au