On the Great Ocean Road at the Painkalac Creek bridge, the estuary on the south is Mellor’s Swamp, which will be the subject of a future article.
Today I am looking on the north—the creek winding through extensive grasslands and, thanks to some peculiar boundary lines, a small area of Ironbark woodland.
For many years this was the extent of this Surf Coast Shire-managed nature reserve. Recently however, the shire has taken over management of the creek up to Old Coach Rd.
Here the landform and vegetation are very different. The creek, no longer a still-water estuary, flows between deep embankments, with ferns and some large Manna Gums with great nesting hollows for birds and animals.
With the new addition, Painkalac is the second most species-rich of the shire reserves, even without the extensive weeds list, with over 200 species of indigenous plants, 166 birds and 38 animals recorded. Perhaps the most interesting record is of Ground Parrots, in 1892. Wouldn’t it be exciting to have them back?
Lack of management in the past has allowed weeds such as Pittosporum, Boxthorn, Hemlock and Periwinkle to proliferate. ANGAIR has begun working with the shire on this section now and it is a pleasure to see the change already.
This section is best accessed from Bimbadeen Drive near the northern end. The lower estuary section can also be accessed at River Rd, Bambra Rd and on the west at Wybellenna Drive where ANGAIR has been weeding the Boneseed, Broom and African Weed orchids.
Another nearby nature reserve is Greenhood Nature Reserve on Bambra Rd. An ANGAIR member recently purchased one of the blocks (Lot 2) of farmland between this and Painkalac Ck Reserve and is progressively revegetating it—it will eventually become a valuable connector between these two reserves. Watch the Community Participation Calendar in the newsletter to join our working bees.