A day out “swamping” with the Hamilton Field Naturalists Club

Last Saturday I spent a day out with members of the Hamilton Field Naturalists Club. It was one of this Novembers typically damp and cold days but it was a great day to be out in the swamps and a great opportunity to share our vision for the site. I was also privy to some good feedback on the local flora and fauna, plus other great bits of local history. The Green Swamp, which is the feature wetland on the property hosts a large number of swans and a few yellow-billed spoonbills. A banded plover was also noted.  Over the other side of the property, where the wetlands are much smaller but a bit deeper, we also saw good numbers of chestnut teal, white-eyed ducks and Australasian grebes.  None of the growling-grass frogs which reside here were calling for the guests though.

The new owners of the property, which lies just to the north of Glenthompson, have expressed a desire to make these wetlands open to interested (un-armed) parties! This opens up a great opportunity for local enthusiasts to assist us with observing and recording flora and fauna throughout the restoration process.

Hamiltion Field Naturalists on the shores of The Green Swamp

On my way up to Glenthompson from Warrnambool, I decided to take a different route to the one I normally follow.  I’m always taking note of any bits of remnant bush, swamps or lakes and so I was keen to catch a glimpse of Lake Repose on my way past.  Although not really recognisable as a water-body now, I was surprised to learn that one of the group members lived nearby and actually had a large wetland which had been restored.  Even better, after finishing up at the Glenthompson property, we were invited back for a look around.  What greeted us was a wonderful example of a large plains grassy wetland.  Lots of rare and unusual plants and a landscape which was really interesting in the context of understanding how some of the large, drained flats across the region may have once looked. It was also encouraging to hear that, despite some attempts to cultivate the site in the past, a simple blockage of the drain was all it took for this wetland to return to a state of beauty.

Sedges and wildflowers in a restored Plains Grassy Wetland

Many thanks to the Hamilton Field Nats, I had a great day!

Lachlan Farrington