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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.
Inner West Council has given notice that they intend to remove a Narrow-leafed red ironbark (Eucalyptus crebra) opposite 6 Tramway Avenue Tempe.
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.
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.
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
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.
This morning I went to the Community Open Day celebrating the newly upgraded Alexandra Canal & other works beside Tempe Recreation Reserve.
The event was opened by an indigenous man who said the area was near enough to the meeting point of three indigenous tribes. After a short speech about the Cooks River, he welcomed us to Country.
Then representatives from Sydney Water & the contractor Total Earth Care each gave short talks explaining what they had done with the river bank. They appeared very happy with the outcome & so they should be. It looks excellent.
I asked how long the work on the banks should last & was told it will see us all out. I think it is wonderful that this restoration work will be long-lasting. I am used to seeing work all around the place last a decade if that.
I had other commitments, so was not able to stay for the full program. Unfortunately, I missed what promised to be a very interesting talk about the indigenous history of the area, plus actual exhibits. I also missed a talk & showing of a variety of animals & insects that Taronga Zoo brought to the park, though I did get to see a gorgeous echidna before their talk. It was very windy, so the echidna wanted to burrow in hay & get out of the wind, but I was lucky enough to get a photo of him.
So what is the restoration like & why all the fuss about a river/canal bank? Firstly, the lovely & significant Fig tree that was badly affected by erosion & had many roots submerged in brackish water every time the tide came in is now sitting pretty in thickly mulched soil as it should be. It is now one happy tree.
Had the erosion continued, it is highly likely we would have lost this tree. It has a beautiful bowl-shaped canopy that reaches all the way to the ground – something we don’t see much in this area anymore.
The area between this tree & another large old fig tree on the point has been made into a garden habitat area & lookout with signage that explains the work done, the ecological significance & also the history of this area. I think the signage is excellent, as it may change the culture of many who use this park by encouraging them to respect the park & the river.
I’ve noticed minimal vandalism & littering at Cup & Saucer Creek Wetland & also the bank restoration work in the same area – both major restoration works by Sydney Water. People read the signage & learn how important to the river & the wildlife this work is. The outcome has been negligible rubbish left behind & signs, structures, seating & re-vegetated areas have been mostly left alone & not destroyed or graffitied. I hope the same level of respect happens here in Tempe Recreation Reserve.
From the lookout area you can see right along the curve of the bank with all the new sandstone & slots that hold plants. It looks fabulous.
I had a chat with the contractor & was told that they used 1,742 slabs of sandstone to complete the work. Each slab was hand-cut into eight pieces. These were then laid to form the wall. Each slot in the wall was also hand-cut. To me this is a significant feat. Some of the slots create intertidal block pools – places for small fish, seaweeds, snails, shellfish & small crabs to live. Block pools have also been created above the tideline to cater for any future sea level rise.
When you look at the wall, each slab has its own unique markings. It’s quite attractive. The slope of the wall also allows birds to perch safely away from people. Crabs will benefit too.
The work is much more than saving a significant tree, restoring the bank & building a lookout area. Sydney Water has done re-vegetation work all the way to the bridge over the Alexandra Canal. They created curved garden habitat areas that swing around & encapsulate the fig trees, surrounding them with mulch & plants, therefore protecting them from people. I like this very much.
Many of the trees have repeatedly had bark gouged out by people of all ages intent on engraving their initials. This is a relatively new pastime, starting only a couple of years ago. I’ve seen kids standing at the tree using kitchen knives to cut into the trunk while adults looked on.
Damaging the bark is a very quick was to introduce disease into trees & can bring about their early death, so I am very pleased that the tree trunks are now protected by plantings all around them. The tree canopies are big enough to provide shade on the lawn areas outside of the garden areas, so picnicking people will still be able to access much needed shade.
A range of native plants have been planted & a good number too. It is not stingy planting. It looks good now, so will look terrific once grown.
The work makes this area look maintained & cared for, which also may change the culture of some who use this park for recreation. I imagine it will be harder to leave lots of garbage behind when it is obvious that a lot of work & money has gone into making this a beautiful place. Here is hoping anyway. It would be nice to be able to spend time in this park without feeling upset at the amount of garbage left around or blowing into the river.
All the fences along the canal have been replaced & they are attractive to look at. Fences are needed here to keep people safe because the bank is steep & the drop is dangerous. Fences will also stop people from driving their car to the bank & launching their speedboats into the river at this location.
All in all, Sydney Water & contractor Total Earth Care should feel proud of what they achieved. The community has benefited by this major improvement to our park & the wildlife now have additions that will help improve their life.
Beauty always lifts the spirit, so this work will make people feel happier after time spent here. I also think the work will educate people as to the importance of the river & its ecology. Hopefully, this will spinoff into respectful behavior toward the river & the park environment.
Lastly, Tempe Recreation Reserve is highly visible from the Airport Drive. I am sure many thousands of people look & wonder about this park every day. Now when they are driving past they will get an excellent look at the bank restoration work & instead of seeing a rundown eroded area filled with weeds & junk, they will see beauty. The benefits will flow on further than just the users of the park. To me this is priceless.
A massive thank you to Sydney Water & contractor Total Earth Care from me. You give me hope that one day the Cooks River & the Alexandra Canal will be restored & we will have a healthy river system once again. All work here is worth it many times over.
I am happy to see the beautiful work done by Sydney Water at the point in Tempe Recreation Reserve to restore the river bank & save one of the special fig trees growing here. Deep roots of the fig tree have been exposed to the air & water due to tidal erosion. My fear was that brackish water would have eventually killed the tree.
I first wrote about this tree in September 2013. See – http://bit.ly/1ZjG1xt
The riverbank area along what is the beginning of the Alexandria Canal has been fenced off for a few months now. The exposed tree roots were cut & the area filled with soil. The bank has been capped with a smooth sandstone wall that slopes to the water. Slots have been left in the sandstone wall for riparian zone plants. Some have been planted & look good already.
The area in front of the Fig tree has been fenced to prevent access to the water & I presume to prevent the launching of speed boats from this location. It appears that a new fence will be erected right to the pedestrian bridge over the Alexandria Canal.
A fairly large garden area of what was once lawn has been created to the left of the Fig tree & planted with native grasses. A compressed clay path leads between the garden area to a new viewing area where one can stand or sit on the wall & watch the river. All the trees have been mulched.
I think the riverbank & viewing area look great. It is a huge improvement on the eroded area & crumbing wall that was there before. The completion date is mid 2016, so we should see the finished outcome soon. It is wonderful to see work done to save this tree & to enhance the beauty of this park. Thank you Sydney Water.
Terrible to see what looks like fishing line entangled on a dead tree on Fatima Island in the Cooks River at Tempe. Also sad to see that the last tree on the western side has finally succumbed & will fall into the water soon. That means less roots to hold the island together.
I just wish Inner West Council would plant some more casuarina trees before we lose this island altogether. In my opinion, there are many reasons why an attempt should be made to save Fatima Island. Apart from its cultural & historical significance, the island provides refuge for waterbirds & this is extremely important. The next refuge site is Boat Harbour at Hurlstone Park – a long way up the Cooks River.
It would be a big loss to lose the opportunity to see waterbirds from Kendrick Park. It will be an even bigger loss for the wildlife.
How hard can it be to plant half a dozen Casuarina trees?
We went to Tempe Reserve today after a long hiatus and it was a mix of feeling sad & happy. I was happy to see the excellent work by Sydney Water to save one of the glorious fig trees along the Alexandria Canal, but will write about this in a separate post. What made me feel sad was the unkempt nature of sections of the park.
Sadly, two 10-metre Banksia trees have fallen in the Cooks River Valley Garden. I assume they are causalities of the terrible winds & rain sodden ground of late. Over time I have noticed that any trees that fall or are removed in this garden are not replaced. I would estimate that 20 trees & shrubs have been removed in the last 5 years, though new trees were planted outside the garden near the picnic kiosks.
Work done by someone in the community to improve the barren outlook in the ‘Turpentine Forest’ has been almost destroyed. Long weedy grass has been allowed to invade the garden bed smothering all kinds of native plants, while a long line of Glyphosate has been sprayed at the perimeter. It feels like it was deliberate to allow the weedy grass to invade the garden & take over because the rest of this area is regularly stripped of weeds & grass, yet this section was left alone.
A scaevola that was almost a metre wide & constantly in flower has been smothered. Somehow it is still managing to flower. A small callistemon has a dead wattle tree leaning on it & pig face & Pinwheel hakea is also being smothered. Various other native plants & shrubs are also being smothered by long grass, which has been allowed to act as a saboteur.
In the newly planted areas connected to the Turpentine Forest a vine has smothered three trees. It won’t be too long before they too die.
Then we followed the path along the river bank & came upon the 2015 National Tree Day site. Thankfully the trees are still standing, but there is continuous tree/shrub death in the area next to this site. The trees are acacias & were planted when the park was established. Acacias are not long-lived & have come to the natural end of their lives.
The 2015 National Tree Day site also looks sad & I could not stop myself from comparing the National Tree Day sites at Sydney Park. If you compare the sites, they are like different planets. The planted areas in Sydney Park look terrific & people who helped plant there can immediately see the fruit of their efforts.
This is particularly powerful when it comes to children being able to see that their hard work has beautiful results & would hopefully instil a sense of pride & love for the environment that lasts well into adulthood. The site at Tempe Reserve looks like a desolation zone with weeds everywhere.
What is good is that mulch has been laid in the strip along the waterfront opposite the 2015 National Tree Day site. Fifty metres along, three Pig Face are growing in what looks to be newly laid mulch. These are tough plants, so should survive. One day they should cover the mulch adding green & seasonal hot pink flowers, which will be nice.
It seems that Council comes, does some planting & then leaves. Any further upkeep consists of mowing & spraying Glyphosate & the years pass until the next time they are given grant money from external sources. I wonder why the upkeep of this park is not a priority. The neglect is palpable.
I got a pleasant surprise when I drove down Unwins Bridge Road last weekend. Marrickville Council has been very busy planting 20 ornamental pear trees all along the west side of the road all the way to Tillman Park. It looks like there will be three more trees to be planted, as it appears there are three areas prepared for them.
If any road needed street trees this section of Unwins Bridge Road was it. I am hoping that the other side also gets trees.
Street trees will help purify the air in this high traffic road, which will be much better for the health of the residents, the school children from the primary & high school & the many pedestrians. The trees will also add beauty, green & shade to the streetscape.
A big thank you to Marrickville Council from me.