In a national survey conducted during Oct 2013 by BirdLife Australia, the superb fairy wren or blue wren was voted as Australia’s favourite bird. The work of the Subcommittee during the year can best be summarised by the words of one of our members, Norma Hawkins, who when interviewed by the Inner West Courier about her volunteer work at Paddy Gray Reserve to restore the habitat for blue wrens and other small birds said ‘I’m passionate because of the beauty of the birds and what they give to you in everyday life. I want everyone to have that experience and for them to be kept and saved from predators.’ In April 2014, the work of the Subcommittee in increasing and improving habitat areas and creating wildlife corridors in Glebe was described in articles in the Inner West Courier and Sydney Morning Herald.
The Forest Lodge Public School, with the support of the Society, was successful in obtaining a grant from the City of Sydney which provided funds to plant locally indigenous species particularly around the perimeter of the school. The plantings will also form a teaching and learning project for the school as it informs its pupils about local environmental issues and will be part of a ‘blue wren corridor’ linking our suburb with similar habitats on the campus of the University of Sydney. Also, discussions have continued with the City about further native planting for the grassed area in front of Glebe Town Hall – this is planned towards the end of 2014.
During the year, planting and weeding days were held in Glebe’s parks and reserves – Paddy Gray Reserve (Sept 2013), Orphan School Creek Reserve (monthly including National Tree Day in July) and in Federal Park and Federal Park South (weekly) –with many hundreds of volunteer-hours of work. The Subcommittee purchased a long hose for Paddy Gray Reserve and watered the newly planted native seedlings every couple of days until they were established and thriving; Society members will be delighted with results.
‘I’m passionate because of the beauty of the birds and what they give to you in everyday life. I want everyone to have that experience and for them to be kept and saved from predators.’ – Norma Hawkins
The City continued with preparatory work for the creation of a habitat for blue wrens and other small birds and a biodiversity demonstration garden in John Street Reserve. Flood modeling of the Reserve was completed, it was decided to rebuild the retaining wall on the western boundary, and the results of core sampling of the Reserve (a former industrial site) showed that the first 30-40cm of the surface soil is contaminated and will need to be removed and replaced with clean topsoil. These works are to be completed by the end of 2015 when planting of the Reserve will commence.
Commencing at 6:45am onSunday3 Nov 2013, a spring bird survey of seven parks and reserves was organised with the assistance of Sophie Golding, the Urban Ecology Coordinator, City of Sydney. Almost 400 birds (21 species) were identified and the highlights included two Sharp-tailed Sandpipers (Calidris acuminata – migratory waders which breed in Arctic Siberia) in the saltmarsh wetlands adjacent to Johnston’s canal, a pair of noisy Willy Wagtails (Rhipidura leucophrys) near Johnston’s canal and three Masked Lapwings (Vanellus miles) on Jubilee Oval. All Society members are invited to help with our next survey on Sunday 26 Oct which will be followed by breakfast in a local café – please see final arrangements in future Bulletins.