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Cup and Saucer Creek Wetland three weeks ago with much of the pond area covered with netting.

Cup and Saucer Creek Wetland three weeks ago with much of the pond area covered with netting.

Cup and Saucer Creek Wetland last Sunday.  It's a jungle in there.

Cup and Saucer Creek Wetland last Sunday. It’s a jungle in there.

Something interesting is happening at Cup & Saucer Creek Wetland, but I don’t know what.  It is obvious that work is being done because the pond has been drained & large areas have been covered with netting.  It was like this three weeks ago & everything had grown into jungle-like proportions by last weekend.

Canterbury Council holds regular working bees in the wetland & are looking for new volunteers.  To register your interest & for more information about how you can get involved, call Council on 9707 9000.

The pond closest to the river is green with algae.

The pond closest to the river is green with algae.

What a gorgeous sight.

What a gorgeous sight.

Last week I was sent an email seeking information about two black swans sighted on the Cooks River.  Then I saw posts about the swans on Facebook.   Following a trail I found a Facebook page called ‘Henry & Matilda.’  Here they documented the cygnets C1 & C2 leaving Sydney Park on Friday 18th January  Monday 18th February to destinations unknown. (see below)

Beautiful .  The rain has made the river brown.

Beautiful . The rain has made the river brown.

By Thursday 21st February the swans had been found on the Cooks River & identified as the same pair that left Sydney Park earlier that week. last January 2013.

Last Sunday we went black swan hunting & found them where I expected them to be – at the most popular place for waterbirds on the river – just outside Boat Harbour at Hurlstone Park.

I think it is a really good chance that the Black Swans have made their home at Cup & Saucer Creek Wetlands because they are vegetarians, eating algae & river plants.  Cup & Saucer Creek Wetlands is a very safe place for birds because people cannot enter.  Really safe places are unusual along the river.

On Sunday we watched a Pied Cormorant fishing in the wetlands, which was a first for us.

I am thrilled that black swans have come to bring a touch of glamour to the Cooks River.  These two are only 5.5 months old.  We were fortunate enough to see them when they were very young in Sydney Park.  See – http://bit.ly/QAQQ85

Black swans can live for 20-30 years so the community will have lots of time to get to know them & any others that come to live on the river or who are born here.

More to add – The owner of the Facebook page ‘Henry & Matilda’ contacted me & said that a glitch duplicated the photo of the swans leaving Sydney Park & added the wrong date.  The swans actually left Sydney Park on 18th January 2013, not 18th February as was written above. The swans have spent time in the Alexandra Canal & Wolli Creek before setting in at the Cooks River.

Here they with their parents in Sydney Park last October 2012.  The third cygnet in still in Sydney Park.

Here they with their parents in Sydney Park last October 2012. The third cygnet in still in Sydney Park.

Showing one of the four ponds in the very beautiful Cup & Saucer Creek Wetland.  New reed nests have been built over the last month or so.

Showing one of the four ponds in the very beautiful Cup & Saucer Creek Wetland.  New reed nests have been built over the last month or so.

Last January 2011, while on a visit to the lovely Cup & Saucer Creek Wetland, we came across a new park bench.  It is a normal looking park bench, except that it has a brass plaque attached with the name of a deceased woman.  I was struck by how lovely this was; quiet seat where one could sit & contemplate while looking over Cup & Saucer Creek Wetland.  I have been meaning to find a space in which to write about this since then.

Not only is this memorial park bench good for the person or family who organized with Canterbury Council for it to be installed here, but it also is good for other people.   A memorial park bench gets transformed into a seat of love.  To me this is far nicer than going to a cemetery.

Yesterday was Mother’s Day & we found ourselves again at the Cooks River at Canterbury & passed Cup & Saucer Creek Wetland.  This seat was a good respite after a long walk.  When we arrived we saw that a sprig of hot pink Bougainvillea flowers had been attached to the bench directly next to the woman’s name. It was a Mother’s Day gift left earlier in the day.

Canterbury Council offer memorial park benches, but don’t have information on their website as yet.  Mosman Council offers this as do many other Councils. Newcastle Council’s website says, “The City of Newcastle provides the opportunity for family and/ or friends to remember their loved ones by way of a memorial bench or tree planting in Council parks & open spaces.”

Perhaps Marrickville Council can think about offering this service to the community.  According to the Council websites I have seen, the park bench is paid for by the person/family who wants it & they also provide the brass plaque that is attached to the bench. They also get to choose the location of the bench & Council has the final say. Council installs the park bench & affixes the plaque.  The people are happy because they get to create a meaningful memorial for their loved one & the community gets a new park bench at a nice location where there are likely to be few or no park benches.  How can Marrickville Council lose with this?

A Mother's Day gift

The view directly in front of the memorial park bench. It's shady in the afternoon. To the left is the Cooks River. To the right is more of the Wetlands. It's a lovely position to sit

Cup and Saucer Creek Wetland

Today is the 40th anniversary of the signing of the ‘Convention on Wetlands of International Importance’ in Ramsar, Iran in 1971.  This year the theme is ‘Wetlands & Forests.’

Australia has 62 wetlands listed as internationally significant under the Ramsar Convention.  There are 1,911 other listed wetland sites around the world.

The East Asian-Australasian Flyway travels from the Arctic to China, South Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore & down to Australia. Birds migrate annually up & down this flyway stopping at wetlands along the route.

Unfortunately many of the wetlands along the East Asian-Australasian Flyway are being destroyed by urbanization.  Wetlands are being reclaimed for housing, for farming & many are being drained to irrigate farming land.  Also, many of the trees in the wetlands are being chopped down to make charcoal.  Consequently bird numbers are declining, in some cases dramatically.

Hunting & watersports are also a big problem for the birds. Experts agree there is a need for well-managed bird sanctuaries along the migratory flyways where hunting is prohibited & watersports are limited & controlled.

“The IUCN Red List of threatened species has the following categories –

  • Extinct
  • Extinct in the Wild
  • Critically Endangered
  • Endangered
  • Vulnerable
  • Near Threatened or Least Concern.

Over 40,000 species have been assessed for the Red List, of which more than 16,000 are considered threatened with extinction (Critically Endangered, Endangered or Vulnerable).  In the latest assessment in 2010, 1,240 species are considered threatened with extinction (i.e. in the categories of Critically Endangered, Endangered & Vulnerable). This represents 12.5% of the total of 9,895 extant bird species in the world. An additional 838 species are considered Near Threatened & 4 are Extinct in the Wild, giving a total of 2,082 species that are urgent priorities for conservation action. Of the threatened species, 190 species are considered Critically Endangered & are therefore at extremely high risk of extinction in the wild.” http://www.birdlife.org/index.html

You can follow the migration of 9 Critically Endangered Sociable Lapwings that have been tagged with satellite transmitters, from their breeding grounds in Kazakhstan to their wintering areas in Africa here – http://www.birdlife.org/sociable-lapwing/?utm_source=digitalspring

We have our own little wetland in Tempe that was created by Marrickville Council on what was once a tip.  It’s a gorgeous place that offers habitat for a range of birds, insects & small animals. I made a YouTube video of Tempe Wetlands here – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0WaCth6mwPk

Sydney Park has a number of wetland areas with another large pond almost completed. (Shown here in the background). These ponds collect & filter local stormwater. The area is already populated by a range of water birds, including Royal Spoonbills. A year or two ago, a pair of Black Swans came & had chicks

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