A spring chorus of frog calls at Mount Burr Swamp

With the spring weather upon us, Mount Burr Swamp has burst into life. The wetland is just five centimetres below full, which is a fantastic result given the relatively dry winter we have just experienced. It highlights the value of focussing wetland restoration on strategic locations like Mount Burr, with its reliable catchment and shallow, fresh groundwater. Large areas of the wetland have now been permanently inundated since we installed the temporary outlet weir with the help of volunteers on 11th August 2016.

The beds of aquatic plants, particularly Water Ribbon (Triglochin procerum) out in the deeper water (currently well over 1 m), are looking as lush and healthy as they get anywhere. This is very encouraging as the aquatic vegetation spontaneously regenerated from the sediments of the formerly drained wetland, a process which began exactly three years ago when we regulated the artificial drainage outlet from the swamp. The result is the creation of perfect habitat for the nationally vulnerable Growling Grass Frog (Litoria raniformis), which we know is breeding here.

Sure enough, visiting on Tuesday 17th September 2019 to download data from our water level loggers, I was greeted by this loud chorus of calling frogs:

Dominating the chorus is the deep, guttural croaking of several Growling Grass Frogs. The discerning listener will also pick up at least three other species; Common Froglet (Crinia signifera), Brown Tree Frog (Litoria ewingi) and Striped Marsh Frog (Limnodynastes peronii).

Our species list for Mount Burr just keeps getting longer. Another exciting find on the property that day was a group of three White-winged Trillers (Lalage sueurii). This woodland bird is a rare sight in the lower South East and a first for Mount Burr Swamp Restoration Reserve.

Lush beds of Water Ribbin (Triglochin procerum) dominate the deepest areas of Mount Burr Swamp (photo: Ben Taylor, 17/9/2019).

If you would like to get into a pair of waders and get out amongst this thriving ecosystem, you have a rare opportunity to do so. Nature Glenelg Trust Ecologists Mark Bachmann, Ben Taylor, Bryan Haywood and Greg Kerr will be conducting an exclusive two-day guided tour of Mount Burr Swamp and Walker Swamp on October 11th and 12th. The tour is associated with PLC19, Australia’s annual private land conservation conference. The tour is open to tour delegates and we are also inviting any NGT supporters who would like to attend.

For more information and to make a booking click here.

Grampians National Park forms a spectacular backdrop to the recently restored Walker Swamp (photo Greg Kerr).

Ben Taylor