Excellent mural in the grounds of Ferncourt Public School with a very important message for our community.

Excellent mural in the grounds of Ferncourt Public School with a very important message for our community.

The right side.

The right side.

I recently saw this fabulous & very inspiring mural on a playground wall in the grounds of Ferncourt Public School Marrickville.  The message of the mural is great & an important one for our municipality.

I firmly believe that, if you want to develop adults who love & respect the environment, you start when they are children.

It would be nice to see this kind of passive & attractive education on some of the public spaces across the municipality.  Melbourne city has lots of street art & much of the government-sponsored street art has an environmental message, as well as being beautiful.  It is an effective method in educating the community without haranguing them.

The full view

The full view. A great message for kids to see every day.

Students made a decision  to stop polluting the Cooks River all the way back in 2001.  All these children are  probably adults now.   I think it is wonderful.

Students made a decision to stop polluting the Cooks River all the way back in 2001. All these children are probably adults now. 

 

The old site of the tap. Close to the protection of the trees, it was a popular place for all kind of birds.

The old site of the tap. Close to the protection of the trees, it was a popular place for all kind of birds.

We visited Tempe Reserve today & discovered that the tap at the western picnic kiosks has been removed.

Now I appreciate that Marrickville Council needed to do something about the tap in this location. Cars are not permitted in this area, yet they still come & the tap had been run over a couple of times.  Once it was broken off by a car, resulting in significant flooding to the area.  Also, people dump burning barbeque coals underneath this tap every week.

The tap water went directly onto the grass, so over time a bit of a soil recess was created underneath the tap.  This recess functioned as an important source of fresh water for local wildlife, especially birds.  Not just a few Australian White Ibis, but also Magpie larks, Grey Butcherbirds, Crested pigeons, three families of Magpies, White-faced herons, Galahs, Cockatoos, Noisy miners & the odd Raven.  It was a great place to watch birds drinking & bathing.

Marrickville Council attached a new tap near the back panel of the steel gas barbeque enclosure.  It is set above a deep pit, which is covered by a grill. It has been constructed so that it completely denies animals & birds any opportunity to have a drink of fresh water.

It is not unusual to see sources of fresh water available for wildlife in parks.   Marrickville Council has installed lovely stainless steel containers under taps for dogs & other wildlife in Newtown parks.  It would not have been hard for Marrickville Council to fix this area around the tap to make it a nicer experience for people to use, but to also provide a controlled source of water for dogs & wildlife.

All Council needed to do was concrete a small area around the tap, making a shallow bowl-shaped recess for fresh water to collect to provide for wildlife & any thirsty dogs using the park.  Instead they have set up a system that excludes even the smallest chance of wildlife accessing fresh water.

How do you support biodiversity when there is no fresh water? Why take this uncompassionate approach to solving a problem that some irresponsible humans created?  And what is worse is that removing the tap from its old location leaves a unencumbered space for one thing alone: MORE CARS being able to come into this area & park between the kiosks & the Cooks River Valley Garden on which Marrickville Council just spent lots of money to renovate.

A poor result all round: take essential water from the wildlife & give more parking space for cars that should never park there anyway.  And of course coal fired barbeques that the signs say are not allowed will continue to happen because Marrickville Council fails to enforce its own rules.

The new tap.  Wildlife-proof.

The new tap. Wildlife-proof.

Weeping Bottle Brush tree in Browns Avenue Enmore

Weeping Bottle Brush tree in Browns Avenue Enmore

Marrickville Council has given notice that they intend to remove a Weeping Bottle Brush (Callistemon viminalis) outside 18 Browns Avenue Enmore.

They give the following reasons for removal –

  • “Active crack in main trunk causing the tree to be structurally unsound.
  • The tree poses an unacceptable level of risk to the public & property.”

Council says they will replace this tree with a Spotted Gum (Corymbia maculata) as part of the 2015 Street Tree Planting Program.

I looked at this tree & wondered why Marrickville Council chose removal of a healthy mature tree rather than doing some arborism work to retain the tree.

It appears to me that the one of the trunks could be pruned to reduce weight & the crack made safe by bracing it. Cables could also be used if necessary.  If Council can do it for a massive heavy Fig tree in Camperdown Park, then it should be a breeze for a light tree such as this one.

It costs Marrickville Council a minimum of $1,000 to plant a street tree, plus the costs to remove the old tree.  I wondered whether it would it cost the same or less to have the tree managed rather than removed & why removing the tree appears to be option one.   Still, the Spotted gum is a great tree for biodiversity & will reach a greater height than this Weeping Bottle Brush.

The Spotted Gum is a tall growing tree with a straight trunk native to open forest in Queensland, New South Wales & Victoria. It has smooth white, grey or pink bark with attractive spotty patches. It produces small, white flowers from winter to spring offering food for wildlife.

The deadline for submissions is Friday 27th March 2015.

Showing the crack.  Removing the girdle root would also help this tree.

Showing the crack. Removing the girdle root would also help this tree.

 

 

At the end of its life.

At the end of its life.

Marrickville Council has given notice that they intend to remove a Narrow-leaved Peppermint (Eucalyptus nicholii) outside 1 Hogan Ave, Sydenham.

They give the following reasons for removal –

  • Tree is on poor health & in decline.
  • Significant canopy dieback – only 20% live canopy.
  • The tree poses an unacceptable level of risk to the public & property.”

Council says they will replace this tree with a Grey Iron Bark (Eucalyptus paniculata) as part of the 2015 Street Tree Planting Program.

This tree is very sick & has been a sad sight on this corner for quite a while.  It will be good to have it replaced with such a great tree for biodiversity.

The Grey Iron Bark is a medium-sized tree native to eastern New South Wales. It produces white flowers between May & January, which are attractive to birds, insects. Bees make great honey from it. However, it does not flower every year.  Grey Ironbarks can live in excess of 100-years.

The deadline for submissions is Friday 27th March 2015.

Lots of dieback

Lots of dieback

A beautiful Southern mahogany to be removed in Tempe.  This is a big loss.

A beautiful Southern mahogany to be removed in Tempe. This is a big loss.

Marrickville Council has given notice that they intend to remove a Southern Mahogany (Eucalyptus botryoides) in Griffiths Street Tempe. The street number was not provided, but it is near the roundabout at Gannon Street.

They give the following reasons for removal –

  • “Two major branch failures over the last 3 months.
  • Poor structure & weak branch attachment (included branch union).
  • The tree poses an unacceptable level of risk to the public & property.”

Council says they will replace this tree with a Brush Box (Lophostemon confertus) as part of the 2015 Street Tree Planting Program.

I was very sad to see that this tree is to be removed, as it is one of my favourites. It is one of the focus points as you drive down Gannon Street & turn at the roundabout. The tree looks to be very healthy apart from where the branches sheared off & it is coming into flower. Such a shame.  However, it is obvious that the trunk is weakened & does not give good a good fixing point to other branches beside the top shear.

The Queensland Brush Box is a medium-sized evergreen tree, native to coastal eastern Queensland & Northern New South Wales. It is moderate to long lived & we have excellent examples across the municipality. As a street tree it can reach 10-15 metres in height, though can reach 40-metres in its natural habitat. Birds like White Eyes like the small flowers, which appear from October to December. Bees like the flowers too & make good honey from this tree.  It’s a good choice a of tree for this location.

The deadline for submissions is Friday 27th March 2015.

site of branches drop

The top area does not leave a good fixing point on the trunk for the other nearby branches.

Look at the desperation in his little face.

Look at the desperation in his little face.

Some of the flock on the ground & in the trees.

Some of the flock on the ground & in the trees.

We drove past Enmore Park yesterday to see part of the park lawn covered in big white birds & they weren’t Ibis.  We finished what we were doing & headed back to Enmore Park with the hope that the birds were still there & fortunately, they were.

They were Little Corellas, around 80-100 of them. Some were grazing on the grass, while others were giving expert tree pruning to a couple of Chinese elm (Ulmus parvifolia) trees.  They delicately snapped off the tips of the branch & nibbled on the papery seeds.

Some were rolling on the ground playing & the birds knew that all eyes in the park were on them. Natural showoffs – they loved it.

The background noise was a constant “Hhhhhaaaaaaaaaaa! Hhhhhhhhhhaaaaa! Hhhhhhaaaaaaaa!” pitched to sound similar to a sick lawnmower & just as loud.  I knew it was a baby Little Corrella, but where was it?

Suddenly some birds flew to the branches above the tree under which we were standing & the sick lawnmower sound intensified.  It didn’t take too long to find the fledgling on a branch with both parents.

The parents looked exhausted, but perhaps I am projecting.  The baby had his head thrown back, beak open & at the top of his lungs was going, “Hhhhhaaaaaaaaaaa! Hhhhhhhhhhaaaaa! Hhhhhhaaaaaaaa!”   My Babel Fish translated this as, “Help! I am starving! I need food! Lots of food! Now! OMG I am dying! Food! Give me food!”  And on it went.

Over the next 10-minutes or so the parents looked the other way, they changed branches & they came together briefly to give each other a supportive kiss.   The little one followed & the crying only stopped for that brief moment when it drew breath.  I swear, the crying could be heard half way across the park.

Then, after a silent cue, which I missed, both parents stepped towards their baby taking a side each & proceeded to prune preen him all over.  They pruned preened his head, then his belly, under his wings & even his back.  He received the equivalent of a family hug & it was beautiful to watch.  He responded well by raising the volume, but unfortunately, no food, only kisses.

Then off the parents flew, landing on a tree with baby close behind.  The sick lawnmower sound joined them & the rest of the Little Corellas did not seem to mind at all.

__________________

Little Corellas mate for life & are dependent on tree hollows for their nest – not that we have many in Marrickville LGA.   Both parents help with raising the chick from egg until they are independent.  Most of their food is derived from the ground & comprised of grass seeds & other grains.  Little corellas need to drink every day.

I have noticed that there are more birds in the parks when Council doesn’t mow the grass.  To me the joy of seeing wild birds completely outweighs a couple of inches of un-mown grass.  It would be good if Council left sections un-mown for a bit, just for the birds – so they could eat.

I am not meaning knee-high grass here. I mean, instead of mowing the whole park, mow half, wait for three weeks before mowing the other half. In this way, there should be grass seeds available for the birds for greater periods.

Grass doesn’t need to be long for it to produce food for wildlife.   Leaving some lawn longer would be very supportive for biodiversity.  Judging by the interest shown, a lot of people were like us, feeling great joy at seeing these birds & hearing the very loud fledgling.

Mum & Dad start to prune their chick.

Mum & Dad start to preen their chick.

I've gone a little overboard, but I love these images.

I’ve gone a little overboard, but I love these images.

Whole body preening & still he screams.

Whole body preening & still he screams.

All that love from Mum & Dad must have felt great because he can barely stand up.

All that love must have felt great because he can barely stand up.

This is a notable tree in this area because of its size & its greenness.

This is a notable tree in this area because of its size & its greenness.

This is a tall street tree planted directly under power lines - inviting trouble.  You can see that it has needed pruning by the power company.

This is a tall street tree planted directly under power lines – inviting trouble. You can see that it has needed pruning by the power company.

The canopy does not look to me to be in decline.

A closer view of the canopy.

Marrickville Council have given notification of their intention to remove an Evergreen Alder (Alnus acuminata) outside 1 Wemyss Street Enmore.

Council gives the following reasons for removal –

  • “Tree is in poor health & in decline.
  • Decay to upper branches in canopy.
  • The tree is causing damage to private property & is unsustainable in its location.”

Council says they will replace this tree with a Chinese Pistachio (Pistacia chinensis), but not when they will do this.

I saw this tree today & was surprised that it is to be removed.  I have never claimed to be an expert in trees, but for most trees Marrickville Council puts up removal, the reasons are obvious.  With this tree I could not see that it was “in poor health & in decline.”   To me the canopy was full with rich green leaves.

I am unsure whether I spotted the “decay to upper branches in canopy.” It’s true that a small number of wrist-size branches that had been pruned did look as though there was some decay, but I could not see any significant decay.  However, I do know that decay can be hidden inside the tree.

“The tree is causing damage to private property ….”   The notice from Council does not specify how or where the tree is causing damage to property & I could only assume it was the front fence they were referring to.

The front garden of the property is elevated well above the footpath & the sandstone fence is functioning as a retaining wall. I would describe this as a beautiful old sandstone wall typical of the municipality.  However, I was not able to see any significant structural damage to the wall.

The wall does have some small cracks in the mortar between stones & this is the type of thing my husband would fill with a small bowl of concrete & a spatula.  I could not see any evidence of other damage to the front of the property, but this is not to say there isn’t.

Whether the damage warrants the removal of a very pleasant street tree is debatable.   However, Council says the tree is in poor health & in decline.

The Chinese Pistachio is an ornamental deciduous tree native to China & Taiwan.  It grows to around 8-metres & has bright yellow, orange & scarlet foliage in autumn.

Chinese pistachio (Pistacia chinensis) is regarded as an environmental weed in New South Wales & the ACT, & is also a potential environmental weed or “sleeper weed” in other parts of southern Australia.”   See – http://bit.ly/190nZHG

I think Marrickville Council should be making better choices – not planting trees classified as ‘environmental weeds’ in this state.

I thought the following comment on ‘Dave’s Garden’ about the Chinese pistachio was very interesting.

“On Jul 21, 2012, TreeGuyCliff from Austin, TX wrote:

If I could rate this tree more negatively than Negative, I would.

   The Chinese pistache has been planted in public spaces & sold in nurseries in Austin, Texas, for at least 20 years.  And it has turned out to be a time bomb, producing an explosively expanding wave of seedlings throughout the parks, preserves, & other natural areas throughout Central Texas.

It was initially recommended for its fall color, handsome form, moderately fast growth rate, tolerance of alkaline soils, & resistance to disease & pests.

Its invasive tendencies quickly moved it from the recommended list to the “do not plant” list. 

  As for whether its seed is viable, each female tree produces hundreds of panicles of seed, each containing hundreds of seeds. So one female tree produces tens of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands, of fruits.”

There were other comments classified as ‘negative’ covering different problems with this tree.   You can read them here – http://bit.ly/1AE7SHl

The deadline for any submissions is this Friday 20th March 2015.

I think decay is visible in these pruned branches.

I think decay is visible in these pruned branches.

The sandstone fence

The sandstone fence

Another view of the fence

Another view of the fence.

A crack inside the gate.

A crack inside the gate.

 

The saltwater wetland in Tempe Recreation Reserve now has purpose-built roofs for Fairy martins.

The saltwater wetland in Tempe Recreation Reserve now has purpose-built roofs for Fairy martins.  You have to be observant to notice them, which may help save their mud nests from vandals.

What do you do when you have vandals destroying your work to help nature & wildlife?   You do what Marrickville Council has done – persist with your initiative & outsmart the vandal/s.

I was really pleased to see that Marrickville Council has installed two roof-like structures on the poles in the saltwater wetland at Tempe Reserve. They have done this to offer a safe place for the Fairy Martins to build their mud nests – away from the vandals.

The Fairy Martins have been building their mud nests under the concrete roofs of two picnic kiosks, but despite fencing erected to keep people out for a short period of their nesting season, people still destroyed the nests & broke the eggs.

Last season, one or more people, spent a lot of time & energy destroying the cyclone fencing erected around the kiosk.   If they could have set fire to it, I am sure they would have.

With such disregard for wildlife Council had a choice to give up & allow the vandal/s to win or to become more inventive.  They chose the latter & I am very happy about this.

I am sick of vandals destroying or marring the streetscape & our parks. There seems to be few places where vandals have not left their mark & it appears to be getting worse.  I find it sad to see what I think is a disconnection to nature & beauty.

The Saltwater wetland is an endangered ecological community & occupies a large area of the southern side of Tempe Reserve. It looks dry most of the time, but during those seasons where the tide becomes high, it transforms into a small shallow lake.  I was once quite surprised to see a very large black fish swimming in the shallow water. He was just as surprised to see me.

The wetland is a great supporter of biodiversity in this park & many birds hunt for food here.

Most of the time people leave the wetland alone, though some fools drove vehicles through it in 2012. Their tyre marks are still visible after all this time, showing just how fragile this environment is.  Because this area generally has little human interaction, there is a really good chance that the vandals will leave the Fairy Martin mud nests alone.  We can hope.

I think the structures will be successful because the poles are difficult for people to get to & they are unobtrusive, blending successfully into the visual landscape.  You would need to be observant to notice them.

Council has used lead flashing to create a waterproof roof with deep eaves. The space underneath offers plenty of room for mud nests & also protection from the elements. I suspect the Fairy Martins will like these structures very much.  I hope so, because more Fairy Martins can only be a good thing.

They are sweet little birds (up to 12 cm) that help humans by eating insects such as mosquitoes. You have probably seen them chasing insects around the tops of trees or swooping low over park lawns.  They are the only Australian bird to build a bottle-shaped nest out of mud.

Their breeding season is June to December, so these structures allow them more time to breed, as the fencing was to be for a shorter period.   Two small nesting cylindrical nesting boxes have also been attached to the poles above the roof structures. I am sure these will be appreciated also.

Thank you to Marrickville Council for persisting in your attempts to protect these birds & allow them the ability to build nests & rear their young in safety.

A closer view.  They blend in well.

A closer view. They blend in well.

One view with smaller nesting box above.

One view with smaller nesting box above.

From behind.

From behind.  A simpole simple design, but will do the job for the birds.

 

Mary Street St Peters.

Mary Street St Peters.

I drove past this work at the corner of Mary Street & Unwins Bridge Road Sydenham a few weeks ago.   Part of the road had been reclaimed to widen the footpath & I presume to manage traffic.   I saw that space had been left for three verge gardens & hoped at least two of them would include a small street tree.

I drove past again today & all three verge gardens have been planted out, but alas, no trees included.  I think this is such a shame because –

  1. At 16.3% canopy cover, we desperately need more trees.
  2. This street has very few trees.
  3. Trees would improve the streetscape here.

Council could have planted those thin columnar ornamental pear trees that they are planting across the municipality.   I don’t like these trees at all, but even these would be better than nothing.

Verge garden planting at Mary Street St Peters.

Verge garden planting at Mary Street St Peters.

The Inner West is at serious risk of losing precious bushland of the Wolli Valley for the WestConnex Motorway.  If you have never been, this is a perfect opportunity to see why the community organization, the Wolli Creek Preservation Society, is lobbying hard to save it.

Wolli-Creek-walk-Saving-Our-Trees

 

This is in the section of Wolli Creek that is under threat  Hopefully it will be untouched by the WestConnex Motorway and safe for future generations.

This is in the section of Wolli Creek that is under threat  As you can see it is a beautiful place.   It needs to be kept safe for both the wildlife & for future generations.

click here to follow Saving Our Trees on Twitter

Archives

Categories

© Copyright

Using and copying text and photographs is not permitted without my permission.

Blog Stats

  • 373,454 hits
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 114 other followers

%d bloggers like this: