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.