Christmas in a Mangrove Swamp

When conjuring up the perfect spot for a Christmas breakfast picnic, a mangrove swamp probably isn’t the first place that springs to mind. But if you go down to those woods on a Christmas day you’ll be in for a pleasant surprise. The trip down there was very quiet; the boat ramp at Oyster Bay was empty, there were just a handful of kayackers and the odd angler catching Christmas lunch from the tinny.

Christmas Breakfast

Having done a quick reconaissance last week we headed back to Towra Wetlands, a protected tract of mangrove swamp on the South West corner of Botany Bay. There’s oodles of bird life and you can actually explore them without a tinny as there is a board walk accessible from Kurnell (with a permit). Towra is the largest remaining wetland in Sydney and home to the endangered Green and Golden bell frog as well as a nesting ground for migratory wading and shore birds so tread carefully (we just cut the outboard and floated up to the edge of the mangroves). High tide is the perfect time to explore this enchanting mangrove forest as there is the least likelihood of causing damage, the swamp is completely submerged and the fish are jumping. We tied up in the cool shade of the trees for a Christmas picnic of mangoes, croissants (or “Croissonauts” as pronounced by Miss Four) and a flask of coffee.

Mangrove magic 1

Mangrove Magic 2

Mangrove Magic 3

Mangrove Magic 4

Mangrove Magic 5

Mangrove Magic 6

Mangrove Magic 7

Peeping Out

Of course the ultimate Christmas morning luxury is to be spade fed mangoes in the shade of the mangrove trees…

Mangoes under the mangroves

And if you’re really lucky you might catch the odd cyster catcher..

Oyster Catcher

and a sea eagle….

Sea Eagling

…before heading home to stick that other bird in the oven…

Heading Home

A Haggle of Herons?

Source: google.com.au via Charley on Pinterest

Finally, we swept the cobwebs off the tinny on Sunday and headed for the Georges River to check out our new stomping ground. We move house in two weeks and we are beyond excitement.

A planned two hour trip turned into four, giving me a chance to flex my newly licensed tinny driving muscles. We have explored parts of George’s River before, which I wrote about here, and here.

One of the main purposes of the outing was to check out a tiny mangrove inlet that runs parallel to our new street, below our block. I was pleased to discover that all you can see from the water is a dense tract of bushland and mangroves, with the houses in our street hidden away behind.

Mangrove...somewhere on the George's River

Over the last few weeks I’ve been racking my brains for a suitable house name, possibly translated into Cornish. As we entered the little bay (which shall remain unnamed), we noticed a large group of herons sunning themselves on a disused jetty . I have always thought that herons were solitary birds, hunting alone in a quiet backwater, still as statues scanning the water for their next meal. This bunch numbered at least ten. My mum tells me the proper term is a “heronry” and she’d know because she’s a bird nerd.

When I got home I looked it up in Burnum Burnum’s Wild Things and would you believe there was the white faced heron on page one, the first species listed? I also looked it up on backyard birds where the heron’s nesting habit is described as “an untidy structure of sticks, placed in a tree.” Yep, that sounds appropriate. So there it is, our new home, perched among the trees above the mangroves shall be called “Herons Nest”.

If your house was a nest what kind of a bird would you be?

Wake up we're at the beach!

Queue at the boat ramp

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