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New trees for Tempe Park – all native species, so food for wildlife.

A longer view. Shadow of a picnic kiosk on the left.  The foreground is gravel.

I’ve always known this as Tempe Dog’s Park, but on google maps it is Tempe Park.   It is the one on the hill beside the Tempe Golf Range & Maritime Container Services.  It is a great place for photographers to get a photo of stacked shipping containers with airplanes flying overhead – at least I think so.  Add a dog or two & it becomes really interesting.

This park is in dire need of trees in my opinion, so it was great to see 7 new trees planted next to & close to the container area.  I hope Inner West Council decide to plant more trees here in the future.  I think it would be good to have some trees in the middle of the park to add beauty & also provide shade for the park users.    All other trees there apart from the seven new trees are behind wire fences & not really providing much amenity for the users of this park.

Anyway, it is great.  The new trees once grown will provide a nice shady place where you could have a picnic & allow your dog/s to run around & play.

Almost all of Tempe Park. It could do with some trees inside the perimeter of the park and in the centre.

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Fatima Island jusst holding on.  

One of two new trees planted close to the edge of the rover bank in Kendrick Park. These will provide nice shade & food for wildlife.  Discovery Point Wolli Creek looms over us.  The wide angle lens flattens the height making the buildings seem less imposing than what they are.  Building has not finished yet.  

Last weekend we took a bike ride from Mackey Park to Kendrick Park & on to Tempe Reserve.  For various reasons, it has been a number of months since we last visited  Tempe Reserve.

It was great to see two new trees planted close to the riverbank at Kendrick Park.  These will replace the trees removed back in 2011 that were in this position.  Shade here will improve the amenity of the park, as well as add beauty & habitat/food for wildlife.

Looking across to the ever-increasing development at Discovery Point Wolli Creek is perhaps a look at the future for Marrickville & Dulwich Hill.  I certainly find it strange to recreate under the eyes of so many just across the river.  I think this is something we are all going to have to get used to.

It was also wonderful to see that all the new trees planted near to the Princes Highway at Kendrick Park are growing well & have not been vandalised.  This is unusual these days.

Unfortunately, Fatima Island is holding on by a thread.  There are perhaps three trees left.  Personally I feel sad that this island is likely to be lost.  It is a wonderful refuge for waterbirds & only one of two places along the Cooks River where you can always see them when the tide is low.

Ofo bike tossed in the Cooks River.

OFO bike placed in a tree at Tempe Reserve.  Not good for the bike and definitely not good for the tree.

Once we got to Tempe Reserve we saw three yellow OFO Bikes in the river & another high up in a fig tree.  Seeing these bikes in the river has become more prominent than shopping trolleys.

Council’s planting around the picnic kiosks on the western side have grown well & quite a few Casuarina trees have opportunistically popped up, which is not a bad thing in my opinion.  There is plenty of room for more trees in this park.  The other area of new trees and understorey opposite the kiosks beside the ‘turpentine forest’ is also doing well having filled out considerably.

This pole has had a large section removed from the top and has been bound with steel straps.

Further along the mystery of the split habitat pole was solved.  See – https://bit.ly/2pxSQH2

It was an unintentional split & Council has wrapped many steel bracings around the pole to fix this.  I will be very interested to see if any wildlife does set up home in the hollow attached to this pole.   Perhaps this has already happened.

The bottom of the National Tree Day 2015 site is not doing well.

However the top section has shown some progress.

The 2015 National Tree Day site is showing progress.  The bottom part has not done well, but the area at the top has & the 5 trees planted have all survived & are growing.   You can compare by seeing past photos here – https://bit.ly/2IOf2EK

The WestConnex Authority is drilling at Tempe Reserve for the M5 extension

The WestConnex Authority are onsite & have cordoned off a section of the park & the basketball courts to drill & store their equipment.  This is not the first time I have seen them drilling here.  I think it is felt by the majority of this community that it will be a terrible loss & impact on green space if the motorway runs through or over Tempe Reserve.

I am so happy to see this beautiful fig tree doing so well after its roots were exposed by erosion.  The plantings  by Sydney Water are doing well.

The wonderful work done by Sydney Water to restore the river bank as the Cooks River becomes the Alexandra Canal is looking good.  The sedge plantings on the riverbank wall are growing well, as well as all their other plants around the trees.  Importantly, the beautiful Fig tree whose roots were exposed to the air & the brackish water of the river is looking very good after being helped.

Sedge planting in the new riverbank wall built by Sydney Water.  It was low tide when I took this photo.

What a positive change to this section of Unwins Bridge Road. Street trees and verge gardens on both sides of the road!

In May 2017 I posted about the new verge gardens created along both sides of Unwins Bridge Road from Tramway Street to the corner of Gannon Street Tempe. See – http://bit.ly/2r7xu1O

I was hopeful that street trees would be planted too.   Well, my wish was granted.  Not only has Inner West Council planted street trees, but they planted a lot of them in just one block.  I think this is the largest number of new trees planted in one block that I have noticed since starting this blog.

Twelve Ornamental pear trees have been planted on the eastern side & seven on the western side of Unwins Bridge Road. This is the species Council are planting along Unwins Bridge Road.

You may have noticed that many of our high traffic roads are lined with Ornamental pear trees.  I think it is because they are so robust & can tolerate poor growing conditions.  They create a fairly dense canopy, so will provide a good pollution barrier between the traffic & the houses collecting some of the particulate matter from passing vehicles.   They should also help muffle some of the traffic noise & cool the street as well.

The trees will also add beauty to this section of Unwins Bridge Road that was previously dominated by concrete for what seems like forever.  The change is quite striking even at this early stage after planting.  Imagine how it will look once everything has grown.

Council has planted a variety of plants from native grasses to native violets & other small plants.  These too will help manage air pollution, add beauty & cool the area down.

I applaud Council for doing this work & for choosing to plant street trees in that location.  The trees will work to improve the air quality for local residents who have to tolerate massive amounts of traffic passing by seven days a week & the associated pollution.

If all our heavy traffic roads could also have the same treatment, this will help improve the health of the residents now & into the future.  More & more research is finding that street trees have a considerable impact on the health of the community, so the more our urban forest increases, the better it will be for all of us.

Showing the western side of Unwins Bridge Road.

Quite a range of plants in the verge gardens.

Strange split pole with a nesting hollow attached on the side. I shall be interested to see how this progresses.

Last weekend we came across something very interesting at Tempe Recreation Reserve.  A very tall power pole has been installed in the small hill next to the 2015 National Tree Day site.  Half way up the pole a man-made tree hollow has been attached.

The pole itself has three splits down its length to around half a metre from the ground.  Other people walking in the park joined us to discuss the mystery of the pole.  Was it an accident, was the pole meant to be split like this perhaps to offer shelter for microbats or had it been hit by lightning?

We decided lightning was out because there had not been a storm in the previous week when they said the pole had been installed. The conversation roamed to microbats because they like to sleep in crevices.  The wind was making the sections of the pole move, which I thought  might squash any sleeping bats, but I am not an expert of microbat habitat.

I could imagine a pole with several of these man-made tree hollows attached at various heights along the pole.  High-rise totem pole housing for wildlife & with superb water views.   You have got to love that.

Red-rumped parrots can often be seen in Tempe Reserve & these birds need tree hollows or nesting boxes to breed.  Perhaps they will move in.

It is sad that so many trees have been removed in our cities, especially older trees that have hollows, but I am pleased that Inner West Council is concentrating on this issue of hollows for wildlife & exploring creative options.  There is no doubt this pole is creative housing for wildlife.

Last month I spotted a family of Australian Wood ducks wandering along the riverbank at the Marrickville Golf Course.  This was the first time I have seen Australian Wood ducks along the Cooks River.   These ducks breed in tree hollows.  Once the fledglings are ready to leave the nest, their parent leaves & the chicks, one by one, take a death defying leap to the ground.

You may have seen videos of this, but if you haven’t, this short video of wood ducks leaving the hollow is worth watching.  I flinch watching these brave little balls of fluff tumbling through the air to bounce on the ground below.  It’s a big start to life.      See – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JkBSkFyUyv0

Australian Wood ducks walking along the Cooks River in Marrickville Golf Course.  There are another three ducks not included in this photo.  

This is the eastern side of Unwins Bridge Road Tempe looking toward the roundabout at the corner of Gannon Street.  I think verge gardens will make a huge difference to the streetscape.

I was pleased to see newly created verge gardens along both sides of  Unwins Bridge Road from Tramway Street to the corner of Gannon Street Tempe.  This is one of the gateways to our area with thousands of vehicles travelling past every day.  The houses are lovely, but the streetscape is not.  Verge gardens will be a boon to the residents who will benefit from a drop in the urban heat island & the addition of beauty.

The verge gardens also put something between pedestrians & the vehicles, which is excellent as so many of the pedestrians are school children.

I am interested to see what Council plants & whether any street trees are included.  Council has planted ornamental pear trees further up the road from Tempe High School all the way to Tillman Park, so there is a chance street trees will be planted here.

Well done Inner West Council.  The creation of verge gardens is transforming streets across the former Marrickville municipality & I think it is great that attention is being given to Tempe.

Southern side of Unwins Bridge Road Tempe, again looking toward Gannon Street.  Even small verge gardens improve the streetscape.  

5 year old photo of one of the ponds in Tempe Lands. It will give you an idea of the beauty of this place.

I read a tweet about Tempe Birdos saying something like they were celebrating after the 110th bird species spotted at the Tempe Lands.  How terrific is this.

Tempe Lands is a series of three ponds surrounded by walking tracks, trees & vegetation.   The ponds collect storm water & filter it before it goes to the Alexandria Canal & then to the Cooks River.

Prior to a $17-million remediation by Marrickville Council that was completed in 2006, this area was a landfill tip.  Now it is a thriving area of habitat & a very nice place to have a walk.  I think it is the most natural green space we have in the former Marrickville municipality, so no wonder the birds come here.  I also think it would be a nice surprise to anyone who has not visited this place before.

Tempe Lands is situated directly beside Tempe Recreation Reserve & can be accessed via South Street Tempe.   It extends all the way to Smith Street Tempe.

The community group Tempe Birdos meet at the Tempe Lands every month to do a bird count survey.  They have been meeting & counting birds since 2011.  They welcome new members to join them on their bird surveys, which start at 8am.  For more information Tempe Birdos can be contacted on Facebook here – https://www.facebook.com/TempeBirdos/

Congratulations Tempe Birdos.  110 bird species seen made me feel very happy.

 

The crack is significant.

The crack is significant.  

Inner West Council has given notice that they intend to remove a Narrow-leafed red ironbark (Eucalyptus crebra) opposite 6 Tramway Avenue Tempe.

Tramway is a lovely street with lots of street trees.  The tree to be removed is the one with the sign.  I am glad that Council are replacing with another in this location.

Tramway is a lovely street with lots of street trees. The tree to be removed is the one with the sign. I am glad that Council are replacing with another in this location.

Council gives the following reasons for removal –

  • “Tree has significant crack in the main trunk causing it to be structurally unsound.
  • The tree poses an unacceptable level of risk to the public and property.”

Council says they will replace with a Red Iron Bark (Eucalyptus sideroxylon) as part of the 2017 Street Tree Planting Program between May & September.

The deadline for submissions is Friday 3rd March 2017. 

A lot of money was spent preventing the little fairy martins from building their nests here. No nest - no breeding.

A lot of money was spent preventing the little fairy martins from building their nests here.

We cycled through Tempe Reserve yesterday & saw something that made us both feel very disappointed.

Both kiosks have had what appears to be deterrents attached to prevent fairy martins from building their mud nests.  Chicken wire has been neatly & firmly attached to every part of the kiosk roof where the birds might try to build a nest.  I mean meters & metres of the stuff.  The Inner West Council – Marrickville invested a lot of ratepayers’ money to produce a neat & solid outcome.

I checked on google & yes, chicken wire is used in place of plastic netting to prevent birds from building mud nests.

For years, the fairy martins have built their nests on the underside of the concrete roof of the kiosks.   Unfortunately, the some of the public did not approve & broke their nests –

  • for fun,
  • for eggs to add to soup so I was told (nothing like wildlife to add to your diet) or
  • simply because they just didn’t like the look of the “spooky nests.”

I was happy in 2013 when Council fenced off the kiosks to allow the birds to breed.  Unfortunately, someone demolished the fences in an overt display of human superior power & their right to dominate a kiosk at the park to the exclusion of the birds.  See – http://bit.ly/2l5MsWH

I was even happier when in 2015, Council built two small structures for the Fairy martins in the middle of the saltwater wetland where people usually don’t go.  Having reread this post, I felt stunned at the incredible turnaround by council this year.  See – http://bit.ly/1HVotuV

I have not seen any reports that the birds are using the purpose-built structures in the wetland.  I looked late last year & there was no sign of mud nests, but this may take time anyway.

This year Council has confirmed that humans have exclusive rights over the wildlife in open parklands by ensuring the fairy martins cannot build their nests at the kiosks.  I feel sad about this & think it was a poor decision by Council.

These nests are a perfect opportunity to educate the public about wildlife.  The mud nests are interesting in themselves & offer us a look at something quite lovely that is happening in the park.  I had not seen these birds up close until I saw one sitting in a mud nest.  Indeed, that was the first time I had seen a mud nest.    Not surprising as these tiny birds are the only Australian bird to build bottle-shaped nests out of mud.

Instead of blocking off the kiosk in a better way this year & that includes adding bollards to prevent cars from entering into the park so they cannot be used by selfish vandals to pull down fences, Council has elected to oust the birds.

Even today there was a car near the wetland. The driver was having problems because of the drilling by the WestConnex Authority happening that was blocking his ability to drive down the shared pathway, but I digress.

Instead of talking with local schools & having onsite education with school children about fairy martins & the importance of biodiversity, council has decided to oust the birds.

Instead of deciding to educate the general community on the importance of biodiversity, council has decided to oust the birds.

Instead of having a Ranger around for the nesting period, council has decided to oust the birds.

This is an example where biodiversity is important on paper, but not in real life.

Vandalised fairy martin mud nests in the same kiosk.

Vandalised fairy martin mud nests in the same kiosk. Photo 2013.

Upgraded shared path at Kendrick Park Tempe is a big improvement on the flood zone that it was until recently.

Upgraded shared path at Kendrick Park Tempe is a big improvement on the flood zone that it was until recently.

One section of the shared path travels along the Cooks River from Tempe Railway Station to Kendrick Park.  The path goes down a slope & curves around & under the railway line.  This particular area, until very recently, would flood with the high tide.  This posed a problem for cyclists – to take their bicycle through the bracken water or not, because salt equals rust.  I doubt it was pleasant for pedestrians who didn’t want to get their feet wet either.

Inner West Council has fixed this problem & what a good job they have done.  I doubt even king tides will impact on this path now.

The sandstone wall has been replaced by a solid wall on both sides.  One is on the water side & the other on the opposite side contains a drainage system.  I think the path has been widened at the curve as well.

The area under the railway line has been caged in, I presume to stop people boarding trains from this location.  At the very least it should make it difficult for taggers to get up there.

I especially like that some of the sandstone blocks & a wooden pole has been placed in the shallows where it becomes riverbed at low tide.  It looks like thought has been put into where to place the blocks so as to enhance the view over the Cooks River & the entrance to Wolli Creek.  It’s a nice touch.

A new garden bed has been created on the Kendrick Park side, though it had not been planted when I was there.

This pathway is heavily used by both cyclists & pedestrians.  Everyone who uses this path will benefit from this work.

It’s New Year’s Eve, so I wish you all a Happy New Year & I hope 2017 is a good year for you all.  I thank you for your support & for reading my blog.  I very much appreciate it. ~ Jacqueline

Showing how the area is caged in.

Showing how the area is caged in.

A not very good photo of some of the artistically placed sandstone blocks placed in the Cooks River.

A not very good photo of some of the artistically placed sandstone blocks placed in the Cooks River.

Looking back to Tempe

Looking back to Tempe with nice big garden beds ready for planting on both sides of the path.

Looking at the Tempe Cooks River Footbridge from Cahill Park

Looking at the Tempe Cooks River Footbridge from Cahill Park 

I finally managed to get down the Princes Highway to have a look at the newly completed Tempe Cooks River Footbridge.  It is excellent.

Previously, cyclists & pedestrians had to cross the Cooks River by using the footpath on the western side of the Princes Highway.   The path there is not very wide & traffic comes towards you.  I found it a bit nerve wracking on a bicycle.  It would only take a cyclist falling into traffic or a vehicle mounting the footpath for a tragedy to happen.  Thankfully, this is a thing of the past now that there is a designated pedestrian/cycle bridge over the river, which is totally separated from traffic.

This new shared path utilises a concrete bridge that travels alongside the bridge that carries traffic over the Cooks River from Tempe to Wolli Creek.  I have no idea what its purpose is, nor could I find any information about it on the internet.  Perhaps it carries sewerage?  If you do know, could you leave a comment please.

The surface of the bridge has been covered with large panels that have a nice texture providing traction for bicycle wheels.  The bridge has been fenced & fencing has also been installed alongside the Princes Highway from the traffic light at Holbeach Avenue Tempe almost all the way to the bridge.  The fencing offers serious protection for both cyclists & pedestrians.   The fence is substantially thick & would stop a vehicle.

The path ascending & descending the bridge now incorporates artwork by Lucy Simpson called, ‘Goolay’yari (place of the pelican).’  Large pelican footprints have been engraved into the concrete path on both sides.  It is lovely.

A plaque mounted on a sandstone block at the base of the bridge gives the story of the artwork.  It is as follows –

“The Cooks River is called the River of the Goolay’yari, the Pelican Dreaming Story.  According to the story, a man fled from battle, abandoning his wife & children, which placed them in great danger. As the man fled, he stepped into the middle of the Cooks River.  At the point where he was crossing, he looked down to discover that he had a webbed foot – that of a pelican.  He had been turned into a pelican as punishment for leaving his family behind.

The story goes that Fatima Island is his webbed footprint, reminding us of this story.”

It’s a shame that Fatima island has lost yet another tree & has almost eroded away. I am not alone in feeling sad that this historic & culturally important island is a casualty of neglect.  If you want to see photos of what Fatima Island looked like in 1984 see – http://bit.ly/2i2Dgh3

On both side of the path at either end of the bridge are long garden beds. Once they have been planted & they grow, it will look beautiful & will enhance the view of the Cooks River for passing motorists.    It is a lovely gateway to the southern end of our new municipality, which now spans from Sydney Harbour in Balmain all the way to the Cooks River at Tempe.

The new bridge was active with both pedestrians & cyclists.  It gives us easy access to leafy Cahill Park, which offers another view of the Cooks River from the plentiful park benches that sit on the river bank facing the river.

The new bridge is a great improvement by the Inner West Council.  The project cost $775,000 & was funded by Roads & Maritime Services & Inner West Council & was money well spent in my opinion.  It will also make accessing the route to Botany Bay much easier & safer.   Big thanks from me.

A good strong fence.

A good strong fence.

It's easy to see how an accident could have occurred along this stretch of footpath crossing the Cooks River

It’s easy to see how an accident could have occurred along this stretch of footpath crossing the Cooks River

‘Goolay’yari (place of the pelican)' by Lucy Simpson

‘Goolay’yari (place of the pelican)’ by Lucy Simpson

What is left of Fatima Island -  the only natural mid river sanctuary along the Cooks River

What is left of Fatima Island – the only natural mid-river sanctuary along the Cooks River

 

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