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. 

 

 

Brittle gum in Stafford Street Stanmore.

Sydney blue gum in Stafford Street Stanmore.  It looks like a sick tree with a poor canopy.  Unfortunately the canopy does not show well in this photo.  A tree behind makes it look fuller than it is.  

You can see the damage in the trunk of the Brittle Gum.

You can see the damage in the trunk of the Sydney blue gum.

Inner West Council has given notice that they intend to remove two public trees in Stanmore.

Tree number 1:  a Sydney Blue Gum (Eucalyptus saligna) outside 13 Stafford Street Stanmore.

Council gives the follow reasons for removal –

  • “Tree has previously had several major branch failures which have resulted in weakened structural integrity.
  • The tree poses an unacceptable level of risk to the public and property.”

Council says they will replace with a Jacaranda (Jacaranda mimosifolia) in the 2017 Street Tree Planting Program between May & September.

I agree this tree needs to go.   While I like Jacarandas, I think it is a shame to replace a big native tree species with an exotic.

The deadline for any submissions is Friday 3rd March 2017.

Tree number 2: a Brittle Gum (Eucalyptus mannifera) outside 62 Percival Road Stanmore.

Council gives the follow reasons for removal –

  • “Tree has poor vitality and significant canopy dieback
  • Major open wound to trunk with decay and loss of structural wood.
  • The tree poses an unacceptable level of risk to the public and property.”

Council says they will replace with a Spotted Gum (Corymbia maculata) during the 2017 Street Tree Planting Program between May & September.

I agree this tree needs to go & think it is good that Council is replacing a native with a native.

The deadline for any submissions is Friday 10th March 2017.

Brittle gum in Percival Road.

Brittle gum in Percival Road.  Not much canopy left.

The trunk of the Brittle gum in Percival Road.

The trunk of the Brittle gum in Percival Road.

Rainbow Lorikeet

Rainbow Lorikeet drinking nectar 

When we first moved to Marrickville just over two decades ago, there were only Currawongs & Indian mynas in our street.  The Currawongs would leave in the morning & return at dusk.  The Currawongs would move somewhere else for spring & summer leaving the Indian mynas to rule.  What we heard most of the time was traffic & plane noise.  There were very few natural sounds.

New people started to move into the neighbourhood & we all started gardening.  Some of our neighbours planted cottage garden type plants, while others like ourselves went totally native & included some natives indigenous to this area.

We had a rule – unless it was spectacular, what we planted had to be able to provide food for birds or bats & at the very least, bees & other insects.

And then it happened….. the noise of our street changed.  All kinds of birds started to visit.

It was slow at first.  We started to identify different bird calls. Sometimes small groups of around 10-20 birds would visit.  The birdbath was used every day.  Evidence of their splashing was noticed & the water had to be replenished.  We would walk out the front door only to cause a mad fluttering of wings as bathing birds got interrupted.

Every year the sounds of birds were built upon.  A common question was, “What is that bird?”  The Birds in Backyards website was used often trying to identify the latest visitor.

A nest was spotted.  It turned out to be a pair Red Wattle birds.  Having been woken up by these flying alarm clocks for many years, I don’t feel like home is quite right unless there are Red Wattle birds around, so I was very happy about this.  Unfortunately, Ausgrid pruned off the branch that held their nest (in spring when they were breeding no less) & we feared we had lost them.   It was with much joy that we saw they had rebuilt in a branch of another street tree, closer to our house.  The branch is still at risk, but hopefully we will be able to convince Ausgrid to leave it be whenever they visit.

The Red Wattle bird pair have had three successful breeding seasons now.  They must like gardeners because they fly low over our heads when we are outside & even when they see our car.  We get greeted with a “Kuk Kuk!” most times we venture outside.

Little White eyes visit every day chattering at a million miles an hour when the right flowers are out.  They sound like a party.   For the last two years Rainbow lorikeets have visited the verge garden & their idea of party noise is much louder.  This season they come every 3-4 hours.  I imagine they circle the neighbourhood visiting known food sources returning after they have given the flowers time to replenish their nectar.  It is so much nicer than listening to traffic.

Someone else’s tree planting has attracted an Eastern Koel.  These birds migrate all the way from Papua New Guinea every summer.  Many people find these birds irritating, but I like the sound of his plaintive call calling for a mate.  I don’t find it too hard to go back to sleep after waking at 3am To “Kooel!  Kooel!”  The only time I had difficulty was when he sat in the street tree that was maybe 8-metres from our bedroom window.   I did mutter a bit that night.

One of the lovely things about living in Marrickville is the nightly wave of flying foxes that travel overhead at dusk.  I think they are beautiful to watch & especially like watching them from Turrella or from the Cooks River.  It’s a peaceful thing to do on a warm evening.

A pair of flying foxes have started to spend time eating from our street – the street trees & the trees in private gardens.   Their chattering sounds are quite lovely to hear in the background.   Flying foxes are experiencing a food shortage at present resulting in the death of many of their pups, so it is excellent to know that our effort is helping provide food for them.

There are bee hives in the area, which is great for our garden.  Bees are in trouble worldwide, so again, it is wonderful to know that we are doing our bit to help them survive just by making choices with what we plant.

We have a huge Salvia, which is totally inappropriate for our small garden, but we keep it because native Blue Banded bees come to feed from the flowers most days in the warmer months.    There are other native bees that hover & feed in this plant too.

There are lots of other species of bird that visit now & some are seasonal.  I can’t express how much better it is to live with a range of bird song & not just Indian mynas.  As an aside, I often read that Indian mynas chase away the native birds.  This has not been our experience.  The Indian mynas are still here of course, but they are overwhelmed by the sheer number of native birds that come here & that have moved into trees in people’s gardens.  The mynas no longer own this territory & they know it, so they quietly go about their own business.

If you want Indian mynas, lay a huge concrete slab driveway or concrete your back yard because they love concrete & bitumen. 

If you don’t want Indian mynas, plant a variety of food-producing native plants & trees & before long, the Indian mynas will be overrun by the new kids on the block.  You will be too busy noticing the native birds that you won’t see the Indian mynas.

In Part 2 I will write about ideas on improving biodiversity in small gardens & even balconies.

Here it is.  It blends in with the other close trees, which is optimal for wildlife.

Here it is. It blends in with the other close trees, which is optimal for wildlife.

Last December I posted about two new habitat trees in Mackey Park Marrickville next to the Cooks River.  See – http://bit.ly/2lvRKKn

The Inner West Council said they had created three new habitat trees, but I was unable to find the third tree.  Well I found it.  It is one of the poplars close to the Rowers Club on the river side of the shared pathway.

I hope Council plants at least three new trees in this park to make up for the canopy loss of the others.  There is room.

And the flying foxes put on a wonderful show

And the flying foxes put on a wonderful show

The Wolli Creek Preservation Society is holding their annual ‘Bat Watch’ Picnic again.  It is a great evening outing to have a picnic, then watch the Grey-headed flying foxes head out in search of food.  Personally I think it is a beautiful sight.

DATE:            Friday 10th March 2017

TIME:             6.30pm – 8.30pm.  There will be ‘batty crafts’ for the kids from 6.30pm.

ADDRESS:   Turrella Reserve, Earlwood.

BRING:          You, your family & friends, food & drink, something to sit on & insect repellent because the mosquitoes can be bad.

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

Looking left along Gilbert's Garden

Looking left along Gilbert’s Garden

Looking right along Gilbert's Garden

Looking right along Gilbert’s Garden

A couple of weeks ago we were cycling around the area.  Waiting for a break in the traffic at the corner of Beach & Wardell Roads Dulwich Hill, I looked across & saw people working in what appeared to be a community garden in Gilbert Barry Reserve.  A quick agreement between us & off we went to say hello.  The people there gave us a lovely welcome & confirmed that this was a community garden.   We chatted & were shown around their garden, which to my eyes was a lovely thing.

The Gilbert Barry Reserve was a poorly used & uninviting space until the Inner West Council  gave it an overhaul finishing work around July 2016.  The concept plan shows they were to remove 6 trees, plant 5 new trees & add three native garden beds.

The logs from trees removed are now lying around the far garden bed providing habitat for ground creatures.   I like that Council is doing this as a norm these days, instead of feeding every tree through the wood-chipper.

Rotting logs are a part of the natural ecosystem.   Dead wood not only continues to hold carbon, it also continues to be useful to the environment.   The process of decay adds nutrients into the soil helping to grow fungi & moss amongst other plants.  Small insects & slugs & worms love this environment.  Most of us as children have picked up a log & watched the tiny creatures run from the light. I like to think of them as ‘hotels for insects & other creatures.’  Sandstone blocks have been scattered around the garden beds & these too offer a cool moist habitat for little creatures.

A picnic table setting & two other park benches have been installed.  The benches are attractive & do not have a barrier in the middle of the bench to stop people lying down, which was great to see.  I do not like defensive architecture & unfortunately, it is creeping into our locality.

A water fountain was in the plans, but I do not remember seeing one.  I think it will be the first water fountain in the old Marrickville LGA.  I think it would be wonderful for all parks to have a fountain to provide water for birds, as well as beauty for people.  You can’t have great biodiversity without access to drinking water.

Apparently, a newly planted tree in the centre of the reserve died & is yet to be replaced.

Along the back fence of the reserve a community garden has been formed.  A decent sized stretch of land has been set aside for this & lined by sandstone.  ‘Gilbert’s Garden’ was formed around 9-months ago by a group of local residents.  They have a range of vegetables & herbs growing.  Apparently, they had a good harvest last season.

The group meets every second Sunday for a couple of hours.  Not everyone comes to every meeting, but there seems to be a core group.  They are looking for new members because the more people are, the less work for everyone.  Plus, it is fun to meet new people & form new friendships.

We met three lovely members who were very welcoming to both of us.  We both knew that invitations to join the community garden were real, not just words thrown out there.

It was pleasant to be there in the late afternoon sun chatting about the benefits of growing food.  Other people were in the reserve sitting there reading, while others were watching the activity happening at the garden.  From being a drab, empty green space, Gilbert Barry Reserve is now much improved, has beauty & usefulness & most importantly, offers inclusiveness & purpose for the community.

The more these community gardens are allowed to be formed in public spaces the better in my opinion. Despite Sydney getting larger & more populated, loneliness in the community is on the rise.  Gardens like this bring people together & break down barriers.   They not only help people learn how to grow food, they foster happiness & connection.  Getting out in nature & fresh air is good for our health too.

The community garden has a Facebook group called, ‘Gilbert’s Garden.’  If you are interested in joining or would just like to help occasionally, you can contact them here – https://www.facebook.com/groups/1491955174436769/

Gilbert Barry Reserve looking towards the road  from the community garden

Gilbert Barry Reserve looking towards the road from the community garden

Part of the new garden beds & new seating

Part of the new garden beds & new seating

Note the magnificent Melaleuca street tree.  This is the result when tall growing street trees are planted on the side without powerlines.  Photo shows new park bench and new garden bed,

Note the magnificent Melaleuca street tree. This is the result when tall growing street trees are planted on the side without powerlines. Photo shows new park bench, new tree and new garden bed

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

Sitting in the shade at Steel Park

Sitting in the shade at Steel Park

If you have watched or listened to the news of late you will know that a massive heatwave is expected tomorrow Friday continuing  through Saturday & Sunday.  We have had excessive heat all week, but the weather to come is concerning the experts.

“The Bureau of Meteorology says a severe heatwave is moving through the southern parts of South Australia and much of Victoria, while spreading further east into New South Wales’ coastal regions and south-west Queensland.”  http://ab.co/2kpo3ay

Heatwaves can kill.  Babies, young children, older people & sick people are most at risk, but really, no-one is immune to being struck by heatstroke.  Those with kidney disease & diabetes, people taking medication (diuretics & beta blockers), people with alcohol or other drug misuse problems, pregnant & breastfeeding woman, people who are overweight & tourists from cooler climates are deemed especially at risk.

The following are some ways to help manage the heat –

  • It may be obvious, but stay inside. We have all seen someone running in sweltering midday heat.
  • Draw the curtains & close the windows. Opening windows may not help unless you are getting a cool breeze.
  • Run a bath of lukewarm water & get in & out as needed.
  • Cool showers can also help lower body temperature.
  • Eat light food.
  • Drink lots of fluids, even if you don’t feel thirsty.
  • Wear light, loose non-synthetic clothing. Wet your clothes, wear a wet towel or a wet sarong.
  • A wet washer on your head can help too.
  • Sit down & soak your feet into a container of cold water.

Other actions –

  • Bring pets inside & ensure they have easy access to drinking water.
  • Put water out in numerous places for the wildlife.
  • Please check on your neighbour, especially if they live alone.
  • If you have air-conditioning, invite neighbours, family, friends over who don’t.
  • Never leave kids, adults or pets in hot cars. The temperature inside a parked car can rise rapidly to 30-40°C hotter than outside.
  • If it is too hot at home & the following are not far away, go to air-conditioned buildings like the local library, a community centre, the cinema or shopping malls.

Signs of heat exhaustion include dizziness, heat rash, muscle cramps, headache & fainting.  It can be helped with rest, cooling down & good hydration, including electrolytes.     The internet has many DIY electrolyte replacement drink recipes.

Prolonged exposure to extreme heat can shut down the body’s ability to sweat. From this point, it is a short progression to heat stroke, which is a medical emergency. Symptoms include dry skin, high temperature, confusion & if allowed to progress, unconsciousness & perhaps death.

Taking the heat seriously & being prepared can help save your life.

Friday  10th February 2017 – The temperature in my courtyard is a hefty 46 degrees celsius at 3:45pm.

A large birdbath in Bankstown City Council Sylvan Grove Native Garden.  I think it is wonderful for local councils to provide water for birds.

A large birdbath in Bankstown City Council owned Sylvan Grove Native Garden. I think it is wonderful for local councils to provide water for birds.

The Australian Bird Feeding and Watering Study is happening once again.  I missed week one, but there are three more weeks to participate in this citizen science event.

The researchers at Deakin University & Griffith University want to know “what species are attracted to these resources and why people like to provide them.  Most importantly we need to understand the ecological and behavioural effects of bird feeding as almost all information from other countries regarding bird feeding simply does not apply here.  We acknowledge that feeding of wild birds is an important activity for large numbers of people and that the practice may be a significant way for many to connect with nature.”

The ultimate aim of the research is to “develop purpose guidelines for people who feed birds to do so with minimum risk to birds.” 

You don’t need to commit to the whole period, though you can if interested.  You are asked to observe the water/food source for 20-minutes a day & report your observations on the Citizen Science website.

Dates –

  • Monday 6th – Sunday 12th February 2017
  • Monday 13th – Sunday 19th February 2017
  • Monday 20th – Sunday 26th February 2017

To participate you need to sign up here – https://csdb.org.au/Account/Sign-Up.aspx

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