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Warringal Conservation Society

Banyule Swamp once had large areas of an emergent strappy plant known as Water Ribbons (Triglochin procera). Water birds grazed the leaves of this plant and the resident pair of Swans used it to make large mound shaped nests. A photo of WCS founding President Doug Western at the swamp viewing seat in 2012 (above) shows the extent of the Water Ribbon growth that was present. Today only small patches remain at the margins of the swamp. The demise of Water Ribbons appears to date to the summer of 2013/14 when the swamp completely dried out. While still present, Water Ribbons have never been as abundant since. The remaining patches were heavily grazed by the new breeding pair of Swans and four cygnets this summer. The adult Swans left their cygnets in January while they were still much too young fly and the cygnets were gone a few days later. It would be nice to think the cygnets wandered off to another water body nearby, but there is a good chance they fell prey to one of the many local foxes. It is reportedly unusual for Swans to abandon their young and it is possible that a limited local supply of Water Ribbon forced them to leave prematurely. It is difficult to know exactly why Water Ribbons have failed to recover at Banyule Swamp, but it may relate to hotter drier summers and increased water bird grazing.