Star Swamp

a beautiful autumn sky I went to Star Swamp Bushland Reserve this morning, looking for quenda diggings. Also known as the Southern Brown Bandicoot (Isoodon obesulus fusciventer), these little marsupials were released at Star Swamp and Dianella Bushland after trapping in Ellenbrook when land was cleared for housing. Dr Geoff Barrett from DEC will be talking about “Quendas and Translocation” on Sunday 28 July at 3pm. Come along to Henderson Environmental Centre at Star Swamp, Groat St, North Beach to find out about the reserve’s newest residents.

Star Swamp under the autumn sun The quendas are coping well with their new home and fresh diggings are seen regularly, the most recent at the southern end of the swamp where they were foraging for tubers of rushes. As well as plant material, quendas eat insects and their larvae, earthworms, and underground fungi, hence the cone-shaped holes they leave in their wake. I didn’t find any diggings, but it was a lovely day for a walk around the swamp which has water after autumn’s downpours. The birds were carousing above and in the rushes of the swamp I heard Squelching Froglets (Crinia insignifera).

a path through the scrub On Friday I went for a Guided Night Walk at Star Swamp. The full moon lit our way, but everyone had a torch to aid in picking out wildlife and plants. We hoped to hear many different frogs and perhaps see Tawny Frogmouths (Podargus strigoides), Barn Owls (Tyto alba) or Boobook Owls (Ninox novaeseelandiae), although the latter are more likely to be heard than seen. We only heard frogs (our guide Dave thought they were Crinia sp. not the squelching froglet) but no night birds. Spiders and insects were in abundance. The eyes of wolf spiders (ground dwelling) and huntsman (tree dwelling) give them away when a torch is shone their way. It was very cold, but we were rugged up warmly and it was an enjoyable evening finding out about Star Swamp’s wildlife.

frog habitat at the swamp There are fewer frogs at Star Swamp since the construction of Reid Highway. Frogs used to migrate from Carine Swamp to Star Swamp for winter and migrate back to Carine for summer through the strip of bush that was cleared for the highway. The lowering of the water table from our overuse of ground water causes Star Swamp to dry up every summer, in the past water levels were only lower in summer. Now that frogs can’t migrate, they move to the suburban gardens surrounding Star Swamp in the drier months.

The frogs found at Star Swamp include:

the fenced off area at Star SwampThe bushland of Star Swamp is quite degraded due to frequent fires and invasive weeds. An area of the reserve to the south of the swamp was fenced by the City of Stirling for revegetation over the next few years. Come along to help with weeding (15 June, 8:30-11:30am) and planting (21 July, 9-11:30am) of this area. Both mornings will conclude with lunch provided for all volunteers.

Banksia menziesii flower=^.^=

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