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This species of Callistemon has been used as a street tree all over Marrickville LGA. They flower twice a year & the flowers last for many months. The photo below clearly shows the difference in flower size & colour between this & the newer Callistemon species that is being planted now.

As I write this post, the air is full of the song of feasting Lorikeets.  It sounds wonderful & lasts for much of the day.

Marrickville Council planted some new Bottle Brush trees (Callistemon) in the area last year, about which the community was very pleased, especially as Council removed concrete to plant the trees.  The trees have grown quickly, already having reached around 3.5 metres in height.  They also look great when in flower, except they only flower once a year & the display lasts for only 3 weeks.  Blink & they are gone!

This morning I had a chat with others about these new Bottle Brush street trees with the concern being that the birds & bats ignore them because the flowers are dry.

The flowers of the new species of Callistemon are a gorgeous vivid red & bigger than the usual flowers produced by the older Callistemon street trees that are all over Marrickville LGA. These new flowers are all show & almost useless as a food source for wildlife.

The same happened to two Grevilleas we planted. We eventually removed them because the birds & bats were ignoring the flowers.  We plant specifically to feed urban wildlife so an ornamental tree was not what we wanted, even if it was a native & the flowers were pretty.

It was annoying because there is no indication when you buy these trees that they produce dry flowers.  We presumed the same happened with Marrickville Council.

The nursery told us it was because the trees were hybrids & grafted to specifically produce great flowers.  That the flowers don’t produce much nectar & are therefore useless to nectar-feeding wildlife is not considered an issue.  It’s a hit & miss. Some are okay, but most end up with ornamental flowers…great for florists.

This morning’s chat moved on to wondering how many of these ornamental Callistemon street trees Marrickville Council have planted, whether they will continue to plant this particular Callistemon species in the years ahead & even whether they know that the flowers have little or no nectar.

There was great concern that Council will continue to plant this particular Callistemon species with the fear being that the birds & bats will not have enough food in the years ahead when the older Callistemon street trees are replaced. Using these trees would also have an affect on biodiversity now.

Someone said, “Imagine no flocks of cheeky Lorikeets chattering away in the trees?”  We all agreed. Somehow the sound of these birds lightens our lives.

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Tempe Reserve is a hot spot for biodiversity creation

Today is Threatened Species Day & September is also National Biodiversity Month.  These events are meant to raise awareness in the community about our environmental issues.  The Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population & Communities says the following about Australia’s biodiversity –

“Australia is home to more than one million species, many of which are found nowhere else in the world. About 85% of flowering plants, 84% of mammals, more than 45% of birds & 89% of inshore, freshwater fish are endemic – that is they are only found in Australia. Changes to the landscape & native habitat as a result of human activity have put many of these unique species at risk. Over the last 200 years many plants & animals have become extinct.”

The NSW Office of Environment & Heritage says, “In NSW more than 1000 native species, populations & ecological communities are threatened with extinction.”  In Marrickville LGA we have remnants of Sydney Turpentine & Ironbark Forest, Swamp Oak Floodplain Forest, Sydney Sandstone & Sandstone Heath. The Marrickville Draft Biodiversity Action Plan identifies these as a priority for action to keep.  Once the habitat goes, so do the animals, birds, reptiles, frogs & insects that inhabit it.  In some areas species are hanging on by a thin thread.

In Marrickville LGA we have the Green & Gold Frog, the Grey-headed Flying Fox, the East-coast Freetail Bat, the Eastern Bentwing Bat & the Long-nosed Bandicoot on the vulnerable or endangered list.  With funding for the GreenWay being cut out in this week’s NSW Budget, the Bandicoot colonies will be at greater risk.

Flying Foxes across Australia have become ‘Public Enemy Number 1’ because they are impacting humans more than ever in search of ever-dwindling food sources & habitat.  Recently there have been incidents of poisoning local Fig trees, a major source of food for flying foxes.  For bats, the future is not looking good.

Also mentioned in the Marrickville Draft Biodiversity Strategy as threatened species for this area are the Red-crowned Toadlet, the Barking Owl, the Masked Owl, the Powerful Owl, the Sooty Owl, the Pied Oystercatcher, the Terek Sandpiper, the Swift Parrot, the Regent Honeyeater & the East-coast Freetail Bat.  That’s a long list for an area of only 14 square kilometres.

Looking at the map of ‘Threatened species, population & ecological communities around Marrickville LGA over the last decade’ in the Marrickville Draft Biodiversity Strategy, about 98% of sightings follow the GreenWay or near the GreenWay, the Cooks River & off to Wolli Creek.

Council has the responsibility to plant street trees, parks & other areas with urban wildlife in mind. It is wonderful to see that they have prepared such in-depth reports about biodiversity in Marrickville LGA. Their action list gives me great hope in that there will be a future for urban wildlife & that areas of habitat will continue to be cared for & built upon, especially for those classified as vulnerable or worse.

The Environment Protection & Biodiversity Conservation List of Threatened Fauna has a list of 444 species that makes for bleak reading – http://bit.ly/qCM3lO

Here is an Inner West Courier article about the GreenWay funding – http://bit.ly/o4MvUp & another where WIRES are asking people to net their fruit trees correctly so as not to injure flying foxes & birds – http://bit.ly/ovPTlB

There are a number of events happening across the locality for National Biodiversity Month such as the Two Valley Trail Reconciliation Walk (see –  http://bit.ly/oHDA0C ) & the Birds & Bush event (see – http://bit.ly/pirv0V ).

This is a close-up of one of a row of perfect Bottle Brush (Callistemon) trees just inside the perimeter of Ferncourt Public School in Marrickville South. Native trees in this condition are great for biodiversity because they offer lots of food for a range of animals, birds, butterflies, native bees & other insects. If only the thousands of Bottle Brush trees across Marrickville LGA were in such good condition.

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