Coastcare walks step out again in Ocean Grove
A SUNNY October morning greeted a small group of locals keen to see and hear about the plants, animals and history of Ocean Grove’s Begola Wetlands.
The walk and talk earlier this month was organised by Ocean Grove Coastcare (OGCC) in conjunction with the Friends of Begola Wetlands group.
OGCC president Margot Busch said the club turned 10 last year amid the pandemic-related lockdowns.
“We intended to offer this guided walk in 2020 as part of our anniversary celebrations – along with three other walks – to highlight the diversity of nature that exists around the town,” she said.
“COVID restrictions got in the way, so we were pleased to finally be able to hold this walk before we turned 11!”
The Friends of Begola Wetlands group has been running for 30 years, keeping an eye on water quality, reporting on bird and frog life, and fostering protection of the reserve, which is managed by the City of Greater Geelong.
A significant feature of the reserve is that it is home – between August and March – to about 70 Latham’s snipe, who annually fly more than 10,000km from Japan to the warmer climes of Australia.
“Our most recent activity has been the development of bright new signs that show off the resident creatures and visiting birds,” Friends of Begola Wetlands president Graeme McLean said.
“Our old signs were no longer engaging people, and we’ve had many compliments about the new ones since they were installed a few months ago, with the assistance of the City of Greater Geelong.”
Begola Wetlands are part of a natural drainage system that runs for 7 km, from west to east, behind the coastal sand dunes through to Swan Bay.
The freshwater wetlands are unique as they sit between two distinctly different landforms and soil types.
They feature a large, shallow, open-water zone, with dense stands of emergent macrophytes (aquatic plants that grow in or on the edge of the water) and are replenished solely by stormwater run-off.
A weir constructed at the eastern end keeps water in the wetland for extended periods, but the water dries out once every five years as a natural and important part of the wetland cycle.
OGCC has one more walk left in its series, which will have a coastal focus, and this walk is planned to run on October 31.
For more information and to book, head to the OceangGrove Coastcare website.