(NOTE: this will be my last long post for a long while 🙂 ).
Just before I came indoors at the end of last Sunday’s walk, I had turned around to survey the land between my apartment block and the river and had suddenly seen a very flat open path into the Nature Reserve.
At the late hour of 4.20pm, it was too late to venture in to explore, as the sun would dip below the top of the hill and place this area into deep shade, or semi-dark, early (on this mid-winter day).
Between rain showers on Monday I decided to walk down the slope and enter the mown pathway for a quick exploratory walk. I only had my heavy duty umbrella and lightweight Sony a6000 in my hands. A quick check of the rain radar online shortly beforehand had shown what looked like clear blue sky for an hour or so.
But it was very wet all around me.
The grass/reeds were still a good 7-8 foot high and mostly impenetrable either side of the path.
This area of high grass was where I’d had my first sighting of the European Goldfinch last October (in the 3 images below).
The non-indigenous tree with the fruit in the first Finch image above, has now been cut down as shown in the tree stump below.
I had also seen a Red Wattlebird in the thick tree cover on the eastern rim of the nature reserve (below) so I knew there were definitely birds to be seen (and photographed to share online) in the reserve.
I had also seen Red-browed Finches on the chain wire fence along the southern rim of the Nature Reserve last December (images below).
Back to Monday’s short walk………
After about 50 feet, the broad path made by the tractor/grasscutter came to an end and I found myself in a winding tunnel where I had walked through last summer. Some of the overhanging branches I had cut back with my secateurs had grown over again and the path became very slippery in the knee high grass. I was soaking wet up to my knees by this time and cursed not thinking to bring one of my Mother’s old walking sticks to poke around checking for hidden holes.
I eventually reached the lake edge (with about 2 feet of a rather prickly looking bush between my feet and the water).
This is where I’d walked last summer and where I felt it would be wonderful to have a cleared pathway and small wooden jetty, or lookout, for visitors to enjoy spotting water birds on the lake.
I had seen Little Pied Cormorants, Eurasian Coots and a Black Swan swimming around in the small patch of water I could see over the Nature Reserve chainwire fence many times before.
I felt sure nature lovers would enjoy this Nature Reserve if only the council made a path around the enormous patch of water and cleared some of high grass and water reeds. The Council wouldn’t have to clear too much for visitors (and me) to spend a couple of hours in these Wetlands and Nature Reserve. I’ve been told the Council have shelved this whole idea of a path due to lack of funds.
I was so disappointed and headed back towards home. There are about 4-5 apartment blocks and a row of townhouses built into the side of the hill and you can see how close we are to the Nature Reserve in the image below………approximately 100 feet (?).
The sun came out from behind the rain clouds and I decided to walk a short way along the western rim of the reserve.
The golden heads of Wild Radish were about thigh high and I got even more wet trying to find a path through to what looked like a slight gap in the trees, but eventually decided it was too risky for a fall or twisted ankle in the uneven, invisible ground beneath my feet.
Yesterday, my walk took me over to Pipemakers Park and the Tuesday morning garden volunteering group. The Park Ranger (I’d met in Newell’s Paddock Wetlands and Conservation area) had told me about this group and remembered me as soon as I walked up to where they were working. I met the small group of 5 volunteers and was shown around the ruins of the historic old pipe workers garden and where they had cleared all the paths, cut down the overgrown shrubs and started re-planting some of the herb garden in recent weeks.
Apparently, one third (roughly) will be indigenous plants from the past (before white colonists settled the area in the early 1800s), the central third will be a restoration of the pipe worker’s original herb garden between the mosaic paths…….and the other third will be planted with modern garden plants.
Now I know their plans for restoration and replanting, I can either join the Tuesday morning group (unlikely as I get up too late), join one of the volunteers who does more weeding on Friday afternoons OR just go over any time and do whatever I can to help. I’ve decided to give it a try and see if my lower back pain will allow me to stretch (and get some exercise too). I really do need a new hobby or something to do in the fresh air. I seem to photograph the same birds and scenes all the time on my recent walks and I need a new interest that is close to home.
I’ve had a 2 lots of lumbar spine surgery, so not sure how much I can do. In the past I’ve found weeding and gardening a good way to stretch my back and surprisingly, I always feel good after a couple of hours of light gardening. The photos below were made before the Volunteering group started the project. The Green Army had weeded the bluestone-edged Herb Garden though. The Green Army was an initiative by the Government to employ about 15,000 unemployed, or homeless (?) youth to do gardening and environmental restoration work around the country, but the Park Ranger was telling me, they only ended up with about 5,000 workers and some of the initiative has now been abandoned by the Government due to lack of funding.
Shame about that. The Green Army still exists, but much depleted.
(note: there are still groups of volunteers who maintain the many green spaces found throughout our suburbs and country towns, especially on the river flats first explored in the early 1800s before towns and cities were established in Australia).