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The palm trunk above the Marrickville Golf Course Club House is the new home of a pair of Sulphur-crested Cockatoos.  The white dot is a cockatoo.

Squee! Here I am!

I watched the decline & eventual death of an old palm tree behind the Marrickville Golf Course Club House with some sadness.  Trees like this don’t get replanted in my experience.

Recently, I saw something happening at this tree that delighted me.

What is left is the trunk, which is quite tall.  A pair of Sulphur-crested Cockatoos saw this trunk as an ideal home.  I presume they made a new hollow or modified a hollow that was starting to form with the shedding of the fronds.  Whatever way it happened, it is now a perfect hollow with a balcony & a clear view of the Cooks River & we all know the power of water views.

Behind the trunk is a large mature fig tree providing them a safe place to survey the area for any danger before entering the hollow.

In true Cockatoo style, once they realised they had my attention, the pair posed & acted out for my camera until I had enough & moved on.  They seem very proud of themselves.

Even though this tree is dead, it is an incredibly important asset in the Cooks River Biodiversity Corridor.  Trees with hollows are rare in the area, so every attempt must be given to retain this trunk.  It should not be removed to “clean up the area” or similar.

Sulphur-crested Cockatoos nest in tree hollows.  Once they find a suitable hollow they stay there indefinitely.   The chicks they rear will remain with the parents as a family unit.

So, for me, discovering this hollow made up for the loss of yet another tree.  Hopefully, a new palm will be planted behind the Club House.  In the meantime, people who are aware of this pair, can have an occasional look to see if they can spot them & any chicks they are rearing.

To my mind, the Club House has been blessed with some mascots to screech & cavort above them.  What fun!

A great home with a big fig tree behind and the river in front.

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Bat box built especially to house microbats.

New research published 28th July 2017 titled, ‘Bat boxes are not a silver bullet conservation tool’ is a bit alarming when it comes to the future of urban bats.  They are losing habitat at a rapid rate.  Trees with hollows are scarce enough as it is, but all run the risk of being removed by development.  Many of us think, myself included until recently, that providing a bat house will help.  However, this research has found the opposite is the reality.

The abstract says, a long-term bat-box monitoring project in south-eastern Australia, box occupancy was dominated by one common and widespread urban-adapted species, Gould’s wattled bat Chalinolobus gouldii.   In contrast, the 13 other bat species in the area made little or no use of the boxes.  Policymakers, land managers and conservation professionals working in the field of biodiversity offsets should be aware that bat boxes are unlikely to compensate adequately for the broad-scale loss of tree hollows caused by various forms of human disturbance.”  See – http://bit.ly/2hlXNRj  

Just one more reason why we must do our best to save trees, especially older trees.  The information on the time it takes for a tree to develop hollows ranges from 100-150 years.  Until recently, most articles I read stated that 150-years was the average time a tree takes to produce a hollow.  The difficulty of achieving this is obvious.  If there is no suitable hollow, there is no breeding.

Click to enlarge.  Cartoon by Christopher Wilcox shared with thanks 🙂

Christopher Wilcox – https://www.facebook.com/christopher.wilcox.585

Screenshot from video taken by Simon Dilosa

Screenshot from video taken by Simon Dilosa

Very exciting to see a video of a shark swimming up the Alexandra Canal at Mascot yesterday.    Apparently, it headed back to the Cooks River, which is a good thing because the water is awfully shallow where it was.

You can watch the video taken by Simon Dilosa here –

https://www.facebook.com/dorsalaus/?hc_ref=PAGES_TIMELINE&fref=nf

Little Pied Cormorant. We need to increase areas of biodiversity beyond the the train line corridors and the Cooks River.

Little Pied Cormorant. I think we need to increase areas of biodiversity beyond the train line corridors and the Cooks River if we are to help local wildlife.  Our gardens are a huge part of this.

Bernie Krause is a Soundscape Ecologist.  He records the sounds of the natural environment & has been doing so for the past 50-years.  He records in the same place over & over again & sadly can show how much has changed in the natural world.

It’s getting very quiet.  He thinks this is due to global warming, drought & loss of habitat from clearing of forests.  Makes sense to me.

This 3.5-minute video, ‘Recording the Sounds of Extinction’ is well worth watching.  Released in May 2016 the video allows us to clearly hear the loss of wildlife.  Our world is changing & not for the better.

To watch – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KnpsMG0PWRY

Female Magpie & her new out of the nest fledgling drinking from the gutter.  Fresh water is not readily available for birds in this area that I am aware of so it would be wonderful if the community provided drinking water for them.

Female Magpie & her recently out of the nest fledgling drinking from the gutter.  Fresh water is not readily available for birds in this area that I am aware of so it would be wonderful if the community provided drinking water for them.

The heat is terrible at the moment & it stresses our wildlife.  Birds can die during heatwaves.

If you can put out water for the birds it would be helpful.   It doesn’t need to be a birdbath, any wide shallow container will do.

Place it somewhere safe & where the birds can sit & watch before they go for a drink, but also in a place where they can easily escape to safety.

If your container is deep, place a brick or pebbles inside so the birds can get out.  To make it useful to other creatures such as bees & lizards, place a suitable stick to allow entry into & exit from the water.

Placing the water in the shade is better because, like us, birds like cool water.

Lastly, it is best to replace the water every day to prevent the spread of any disease.

I am posting these photos purely to counterbalance yesterday’s post.  Having access to a river makes us a very fortunate community in my opinion.  Even better is the waterbirds & other wildlife that we come across when we are lucky.   Here is what we saw today during a short bicycle ride.

White-faced heron waits and watches the river.

White-faced heron waits and watches the river.

A close-up of his beautiful face.

A close-up of his beautiful face.

Ten Masked lapwings sit beside the river. I've not seen so many together before. One the way back their number had expanded to eleven.

Ten Masked lapwings sit beside the river. I’ve not seen so many together before. On the way back their number had expanded to eleven.

A close-up. I love their yellow mask.

A close-up. I love their yellow mask.

Half a dozen Little corellas flew in to rest in a tall tree.

Half a dozen Little corellas flew in to rest in a tall tree.

A young White-faced heron seen on the way home. He was within 1.5-metres of the path.

A young White-faced heron seen on the way home. He was within 1.5-metres of the path.

Well I wish it was a trip to Canada for two that kept me away from this blog for so long.  Life in my family is almost back to normal, so I should be posting regularly again.

Here are some birds nests to celebrate Spring.   No photo unfortunately, but our local Red Wattle birds now have two fledglings, which makes successful breeding in a street tree for this pair three years in a row.

A Magpie is back nesting in a local fig tree.  It is nice to see the same pair breeding in the same tree a year later.  A chick’s head was seen moving today, so we expect to see at least one more in the next couple of days.  Last year this pair had two sets of chicks.  The first three fledglings left the nest in November to be looked after by Dad, while Mum returned to the nest to sit on another clutch that hatched in December.  Then the whole family joined together to look after the youngest two.

A Magpie is back nesting in a local fig tree, also a street tree. It is nice to see the same pair breeding in the same tree a year later. A chick’s head was seen moving yesterday, so we expect to see at least one more in the next couple of days. Last year this pair had two sets of chicks. The first three fledglings left the nest in November to be looked after by Dad, while Mum returned to the nest to sit on another clutch that hatched in December. Then the whole family joined together to look after the youngest two.

Canterbury Racecourse is a biodiversity hotspot being located next to the Cooks River with great expanses of grass & quite a few substantial trees.   A Raven holds the highest nesting site right up with the powerful lights that illuminate the track.

Canterbury Racecourse is a biodiversity hotspot being located next to the Cooks River with great expanses of grass & quite a few substantial trees. A Raven holds the highest nesting site right up with the powerful lights that illuminate the track.

A Willy Wagtail has a tiny nest on a horizontal branch of a London plane tree.  It was hard to spot.

A Willy Wagtail has built a tiny nest on a horizontal branch of a London plane tree. It was hard to spot.

In another London plane tree is a mud nest of a Magpie lark.

In another London plane tree is a mud nest of a Magpie lark.

Lastly, Fairy Martin nests can be found all over the race course & it is easy to spot these birds flying above the grass catching insects.  Each little beak full of mud can be easily seen in this nest.

Lastly, Fairy Martin mud nests can be found all over the race course & it is easy to spot these birds flying above the grass catching insects. 

 

Little corollas.  Mum and Dad start to prune their chick.

Little corollas. Mum and Dad start to prune their upset chick – just like human parents settle their own baby.

What is wrong with the Baird Liberal government?

An article in today’ Sydney Morning Herald ( http://bit.ly/2dxn4Bx ) says that the Baird government will abolish the need to get a licence to kill native animals.

“Last year 47,000 native animals and birds were killed in NSW by property owners using a “s121 licence”.”

47,000!  If this were 47,000 human beings, there would be outrage.

Permits were given to kill “34 species, or a total of 145,550 animals and birds to be killed in 2015-16. This included more than 100,000 eastern grey kangaroos, almost 9000 corellas, 6500 sulphur crested cockatoos, 5500 galahs, 655 emus, 175 swamp wallabies, 113 wombats and 83 magpies.”

“An application to kill kookaburras at North Head by a lessee in Sydney Harbour National Park was refused.”  Why would anyone want to kill a Kookaburra?

It gets worse – “Species to be exempt from offences relating to harming animals will include sulphur crested cockatoos, galahs, purple swamp hens, ravens and crows.”  It might be carnage on the golf courses.  I often get correspondence from people who want to kill birds on golf courses.

With no licence needed, no-one will know how many animals & birds will be killed.

The Baird Liberal government plans to take what they seriously call “biodiversity legislation” to NSW Parliament in October.  I sincerely hope the Senate will refuse to pass this.

We cannot go so far backwards in our society where it is okay to kill native species because we don’t like them and not be accountable at the same time and our government not wanting to even know how many we kill.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The bees loved the poppies.  There were at least 100 bees enjoying the poppies.

There were at least 100 bees enjoying the poppies.

A closeup of the huge dragonfly eating a bee.  Seeing this was a first for both of us.

A closeup of the huge dragonfly eating a bee. Seeing this was a first for both of us.

We went to the markets to buy fresh fruit & vegetables today.  On the way out we stopped at the flower stall to marvel at the huge amount of bees that were enjoying the flowers, especially the Poppies.  One wonders how could so many bees know to come to collect pollen in an area surrounded by buildings.  So I googled.

Researchers from the University of Bristol found that bees can sense the electric field of a flower. See – http://science.sciencemag.org/content/340/6128/66

“As bees fly through the air, they bump into charged particles from dust to small molecules. The friction of these microscopic collisions strips electrons from the bee’s surface, and they typically end up with a positive charge.  Flowers, on the other hand, tend to have a negative charge, at least on clear days. The flowers themselves are electrically earthed, but the air around them carries a voltage of around 100 volts for every metre above the ground. The positive charge that accumulates around the flower induces a negative charge in its petals.  When the positively charged bee arrives at the negatively charged flower, sparks don’t fly but pollen does.”

I wonder if bees are like some birds & send out a scout to check an area, then race back to the hive & tell the rest of the bees.

On the way back to our car we noticed a huge dragonfly was hanging from one of our plastic shopping bags & was busy sucking the guts out of a bee.  We walked around two-hundred metres to our car, then carefully placed the bag on the ground.  Only then did the dragonfly go, leaving a dead bee behind.

Dragonflies are important predators that eat mosquitoes, and other small insects like flies, bees, ants and wasps.

Dragonflies are important predators that eat mosquitoes and other small insects like flies, bees, ants and wasps.  A single dragonfly can eat hundreds of mosquitoes a day.

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