Swamp Banksia grows in and around wetlands, lakes and rivers throughout the Swan Coastal Plain and the Darling Range. It’s common at Lake Gwelup. Some have been planted in revegetation projects eg. along the boardwalk. Others are original vegetation, like this enormous tree on the east side of the lake which is countless years old.
If I go to the lake without a camera, I see with more clarity, filing pictures in my mind that I can’t share, but capturing everything with crisp lucidity.
The clear blue expanse above, wrapping my shoulders in the afternoon kiss of winter sun. Endless glassy depths, smooth and tranquil in their watery glory.
The flooded gum reflected in rising waters, encircling a majestic trunk. Seedlings marching toward inundation at the lake’s edge. Girding their roots to withstand the long dry summer, only a memory in these chilled and waterlogged months.
The click and chatter of random frogs, interloping on their diurnal neighbours, waiting for sundown to fully awake a crescendo of song.
A swan’s black arch repeated in reverse of graceful symmetry, gliding smooth and imperceptible. A whistling kite grazing silent loops on a current far from the water’s opaque lacquer.
My brain remembers this idyll by noticing more, a wide vista of serenity.
These photos were taken another day under cloudy skies, but when the water was as glassy smooth.
The dog helps me take photos when we pass the water level markers at Lake Gwelup.
In autumn March 2015 the water is close to its lowest point. Two birds sit on a partially submerged log next to the furthest marker. (Click to enlarge.) The first marker is hidden behind the gum tree.
In recent years Lake Gwelup was an ephemeral lake which dried over summer. Historically this wasn’t the case:
“In the previous 32 years prior to 2000, the lake was recorded to dry out twice, since that year the lake barely remained wet once over the summer in 2005/2006.” 
After walking with the dog at the lake this afternoon I was getting in the car when I noticed someone looking at me from behind the fence of the golf course that backs onto Lake Gwelup Reserve, or rather about six pairs of eyes. The kangaroos that live at the golf course were wondering whether that pesky dog would jump the fence and disturb their evening feed. The dog was already in the car but after my not starting the engine because I was taking photos, his eyes found them and he watched intently. I know he wanted to jump the 7ft fence. The mob felt safe so they put on a show for us.
The flooded gum (Eucalyptus rudis) is Perth’s river gum, growing along our rivers, lakes and water courses. Its range extends north to Geraldton and into the south-west of WA. These beautiful trees surround Lake Gwelup and as the water level ebbs and flows, they often stand in water in winter and spring. With this inundation from winter rains they flower and this month the first flowers are starting to open.