Saturday, 26 August 2006

Melbourne mangrove mud-ness

(I know that title doesn't make much sense.)

Melbourne has mangroves. They're not very big. In fact, they're pretty bloody small. But we have them and they're accessible at a spot close to the city.

Stony Creek Backwash is at the base of the Westgate Bridge in Yarraville. It's administered by Parks Victoria and cared for by the Friends of Stony Creek.

Back to those mangroves. They're Avicennia marina, the white mangrove, a tough bugger that manages to survive close to industrial areas. An oil spill in the 1980s destroyed the original population. These have been replanted from seedlings collected on the Barwon River.

Despite the small size of both the park and the mangroves, the backwash attracts a variety of wading birds including royal spoonbills and egrets. Silver gulls and white ibis are ubiquitous.

I haven't had a close look at what's living in the mud. I should nip down there one day when the tide's low and have a paddle around. I may get arrested for behaving suspiciously at the base of a large and important bridge but I'm prepared to risk it for science.

(For people who don't know Melbourne, that bridge in the first picture is not the Westgate. We're not quite that backward down under. The Westgate is the big-arse bridge you can see in the first link.)

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