On the morning of 5 March, a member of the Subcommittee (Judy Christie) saw two Superb Fairy Wrens near 153 St Johns Rd, Forest Lodge, in a dense, prickly conifer. The location is just near Jarocin Ave and close to Glebe Town Hall – so more incentive to get that Glebe Town Hall garden going! The City has finally removed the grass from the gardens on either side of the front entrance to the Town Hall and native flora has been planted; the Development Application for these plantings was approved by the City six years ago.
At 6:30 pm on Tuesday 24 May, Simon Griffith, Professor and Australian Research Council Future Fellow in the Department of Biological Sciences at Macquarie University gave a talk at Benledi to 30 members of the Society and their friends entitled ‘The house sparrow in Australia: Lessons from an introduced bird’. Sparrows were introduced into the east coast capital cities during the 1860s and have become widely distributed along the entire eastern part of Australia. They thus have a role as a useful sentinel species (‘canary in the coal mine’); any alteration in their numbers, distribution or overall health can provide insights into the effects of change in the environment. For unknown reasons, the sparrow population in Sydney is in decline and the possible causes are being investigated by Professor Griffith’s research team (please visit Sparrownet to record your experiences of sparrow sightings – https://research.science.mq.edu.au/sparrownet/). One interesting hypothesis is that the increasing numbers of aggressive noisy miners (related to a proliferation in their food source provided by the extensive planting of nectar producing flowers including the new hybrid varieties of Grevilleas and Callistemons) have driven sparrows from their usual urban habitat. Afterwards we enjoyed a glass of wine and delicious food, a gift from Jim and Effie from Esca in Glebe Point Rd.
The Friends of Orphan School Creek Bushcare Group held a community planting day in the park on Saturday 7 May from 9.30am to 12 noon. The City assisted on the day and 200 tube stock were planted. In John Street Reserve, work continues on the establishment of the biodiversity garden with the installation of stonework along the John St boundary, a brick path through the park, and the installation of a blue-wren themed bird bath. It was agreed that residents near John Street Reserve should be letterboxed following the opening of the biodiversity garden to inform them of the need to control movements of their domestic cats so that they do not endanger small birds arriving in the Reserve.
Following letterboxing of local residents, members of the Glebe Palmerston and Surrounds Landcare Group met at 2pm on Saturday 19 March at the junction of Keegan Ave and Palmerston Reserve. In addition to weeding, a written survey was conducted to determine the expertise and skills of Group members. An action plan, itemising the plants required for the various sections of the Reserve, has been submitted to the City for their comments. The City is still to install the promised water tap in the lower part of the Reserve.