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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.
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.
- 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
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.
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.
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.
Back for the third year, Birdlife Australia’s Aussie Backyard Bird Count is looking for people to participate & help this important citizen science research.
In 2015 over 42,000 Australians counted over 1,000,000 birds.
“The Top 10 most common bird species in Australia remained unchanged from last year, with the Rainbow Lorikeet once again taking out the number one spot. There were minor changes in the order of some of the top 10 birds – Common Myna, Galah and Silver Gull were bumped down a place or two, with House Sparrow, Red Wattlebird and the Welcome Swallow moving up the list.
Other notable changes occurred in some of the state’s Top 3 birds, with the Budgerigar failing to make the Top 3 for the NT and being replaced by the Rainbow Lorikeet.
The Australian White Ibis lost its place in QLD to the Plumed Whistling Duck.
In the ACT the Galah and Crimson Rosella were replaced with the Magpie-lark and the Pied Currawong.
And in WA the Silver Gull had its spot in the Top 3 taken by the Galah.
The Top 3 bird species remained the same in VIC, TAS, NSW & SA.”
It’s easy to be involved. All it takes is 20-minutes. Record the birds you see in your backyard or in your favourite outdoor space. You can do one count or as many counts as you like, but they all need to be done during the one week.
First you need to register as a counter. http://aussiebirdcount.org.au
There is an app that you can download, which allows you to submit your count. This is available at the above link. If you participated last year, your already downloaded app will have an update.
You can also choose to provide information about your count directly to the website, but you still need to register as a counter.
Birdlife Australia have also prepared lesson plans for teachers. These are available here – http://aussiebirdcount.org.au/teachers/
The Aussie Backyard Bird Count is happening during the week of 17-23rd October 2016.
One massive Eucalyptus tree, some lawn, a few puddles & birds galore. The sound of chattering birds was loud & lovely.
Sunday afternoon ‘light’ post of a range of birds I saw along the river today. After weeks of Little corellas, I saw none this weekend. Instead the Galahs were out in force. Birds make everything better in my opinion.
Exciting Media Release from the NSW Police Force –
“Recruits hope to become fully-fledged crime fighters
Friday, 01 April 2016 08:08:05 AM
In an Australian first, the NSW Police Force is exploring the capabilities of birds, in this case Australian magpies, for use in law enforcement.
Magpies are renowned for their intelligence and assertive nature. If the project is a success, they could become the latest species to join a long and esteemed tradition of animals working with police to fight crime.
Known as the 1st Avian Policing Response and Intelligence Liaison (APRIL) project, it will be headed by Inspector Brian Peck, who will oversee the selection and training of the feathered recruits.
“When the project was first proposed, I didn’t believe it was possible for birds to be part of policing” stated Inspector Peck. “I’m happy to say that in the trials I’ve seen, the results look promising. They are very capable and adaptable animals – they could be a real asset to the police force”.
Studies have shown that birds such as crows and magpies have intelligence equal to dogs and some primates. The Australian magpie is highly social and capable of complex interactions with other birds within its species. The NSW Police Force hopes to harness this cleverness and apply it to law enforcement.
“We want to see if we can use the magpies’ natural curiosity to gather intelligence on criminals”, Inspector Peck said. Although yet to be determined, this may involve the birds carrying a small mounted GPS or video device.
“The aerial ability of the birds, and their relatively small size, means they can go places that people can’t. They are also quieter and less obvious than man-made alternatives such as aircraft or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) and aren’t subject to flight restrictions”.
While magpies may be small, their assertive nature is well-known. Every year these birds swoop thousands of people in order to protect their territory. It’s this aspect that the police feel may assist them in the apprehension of offenders.
“With proper training, perhaps we’ll be able to utilise the bird’s assertive nature to assist police with the apprehension of offenders. These birds are extremely fast and agile; and display a strength and bravery that defies their size. A crook on the run, if swooped by a magpie, would certainly be distracted long enough to allow police officers to attempt a successful arrest”, Inspector Peck explained.
The project is planned to comprise ten birds, and commences today.”
See – http://bit.ly/1Sr43O3
Quite by accident we discovered the loveliest bush-like park in Glebe, within spitting distance from Sydney CBD. Called Arthur (Paddy) Gray Reserve, it is in Hereford Street Glebe.
According to the plaque Arthur Gray Reserve was originally dedicated in 1958 to commemorate Arthur (Paddy) Gray (b:12 June 1892 d:19 July 1977), who was a cricketer for New South Wales & first Grade Rugby League for Glebe. In 1998 the park was upgraded & officially reopened by Leichhardt Council. Wow, did they do a good job! As I understand, the park is now under the management of the City of Sydney Council.
This park is full of native trees & shrubs to encourage & provide habitat for urban wildlife. There is an old Cockspur coral tree (Erythrina crista-galli) at the entrance surrounded by the loveliest grass I have ever seen. The Cockspur originates from South America & unfortunately has naturalised in coastal districts of eastern Australia. This tree can be a problem along waterways & wetlands, but not likely a lone tree in an inner city park where the local council manages any spread.
There are many Spotted gums, a fig or two & also a Moreton Bay Chestnut (Castanospermum australe) that stands alone as a feature tree. Right now it is covered in lime green bean-like seedpods that are very attractive.
Many grasses & shrubs or varying sizes have been planted for the little birds, especially Blue Wrens. The Glebe Society’s ‘Blue Wren Group’ planted locally native shrubs & grasses to encourage biodiversity in the park. Dead logs are scattered around for the benefit they provide. The Blue Wren Group regularly holds bird surveys that anyone can participate in for free.
There are three areas of lawn – not too large, but large enough to run around & play or exercise. This park allows you to wander bushy paths & find one of the many bench seats to sit & listen to the birds & watch them if lucky enough to spot them.
I stood there & felt amazed that I felt like I was in a bush area, yet was actually in a densely populated area so close to the CBD. The volunteers have done a fabulous job creating a safe habitat for urban wildlife, as well as a place filled with beauty & much sought after peace for the community.
This is my kind of park. I highly recommend a visit if you like to feel that you have got away from crowds, noise & the sight, smell & sound of traffic. The first thing I noticed was how great the air smelt when I walked into the park. It’s beautiful & a local treasure.