29 December, 2010


Confluences are something the Barwon doesn't really have in great abundance. Actually, there are only three points at which rivers converge along the 145km length of the Barwon. The first is the point at which the East Barwon and West Barwon branches of the river join near the town of Yeodine.
Confluence of the Barwon and Leigh Rivers
I have not yet been to this part of the river, however I have in the last two days seen both the confluence of the Barwon and Leigh Rivers near Inverleigh and that of the Barwon and Moorabool at Fyansford. The former is in a pleasant rural setting a kilometre or two from the town and is interesting for the fact that it forms a T-intersection, allowing the viewer to stand at the top of the T and look down-river for some distance. When standing in this position, the Leigh flows in from the left and the Barwon from the Right.
The area boasts the usual array of bird-life, however the selection of species is somewhat different to that found downstream. Whilst I have seen Sulphur-crested Cockatoos, Galahs, White-plumed Honeyeaters, Superb Fairy Wrens, Pacific Black Ducks, Black-faced Cuckoo Shrikes and a variety of others on other parts of the river, I have not so far found Pacific Swallows elsewhere. During the course of yesterday's brief visit I almost managed to get a clear photograph of a bird I had not so far seen and therefore almost managed to identify it. Very frustrating!
As far as I can tell, it was most probably a Blue-winged Parrot (also known as a Grass Parrot) and the specimen in question was sitting obligingly on a fence waiting for me to finish taking shots, however as always seems to be the case, the sun was in the wrong direction, making it difficult to see colour. Looks like I'll have to take another trip to Inverleigh...and perhaps try out Red Door Cafe while I'm there...oh, the sacrifices I make!
Confluence of the Barwon and Moorabool Rivers
Today, I was in the vicinity of the next confluence - that of the Barwon and Moorabool Rivers. It was a brief visit as I was in the process of running my first half-marathon distance run in the last three months. The weather was too hot and the distance was too long, but I did complete it. To be honest, I can't say I even considered this junction as I passed. This may in part have been due to a certain degree of oxygen deprivation and dehydration - I was about 14km in and it was starting to become unpleasant - but unlike the Leigh junction, this one is a definite Y shape and surrounded by quite a significant amount of overgrowth, making it somewhat difficult to spot.
In fact, it was quite some time after I started using this part of the track that I eventually noticed it and to be honest, if approached from the Fyansford direction (as I did today), it is possible to miss it altogether.
Viewed from down-river, the Barwon is on the left and the Moorabool on the right. I have previously mentioned that the Barwon is currently quite muddy. I am informed that this is due to the fact that finally, following the recent rain, the Moorabool is now flowing down to the Barwon and bringing the mud with it. This has not been the case in recent years.
Another point of interest when discussing this junction is that the Barwon forms what is known as an "anabranch". This is the technical term for a split in a river which rejoins the main flow at some point downstream. This can result in an island forming in the river which does occur here, however in this case, the anabranch which splits from the Barwon, rather than rejoining it's own river instead flows into the Moorabool River just above the junction of the two, creating what I discover is called Red Gum Island. Now that I think of it, there is another point further downstream where the Barwon divides for a short distance to form Goat Island which is crossed by the acqueduct below Breakwater.
Whilst there are only thee river confluences along the course of the Barwon, there are several creeks which also flow into the Barwon. I have read that there are twelve such creeks: Boundary Creek, Matthews Creek, Atkin Creek, Deans Marsh Creek, Birregurra Creek, Yan Yan Gurt Creek, Brickmakers Creek, Retreat Creek, Scrubby Creek and Warrambine Creek all enter above the Leigh whilst Sandy Creek enters between the Leigh and Moorabool Rivers.
It occurs to me however, that I can think of at least one other creek which joins the Barwon just below the Breakwater at Geelong, namely Waurn Ponds Creek, making me wonder whether there are other, smaller creeks which join the river but do not rate a mention. Perhaps more investigation is required.

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