Are there any blue wrens in Glebe? The answer over the past year is ‘sometimes’. During our second annual spring bird survey on Sunday 26 October 2014, local residents in Jarocin Ave reported that blue wrens, both male and female, are seen in their garden from time to time – they are probably flying there from the Sydney University. During the lecture given to the Society on 7 May by Dr Holly Parsons (Program Manager for Birds in Backyards), a question was raised as to the possibility of reintroducing blue wrens to Glebe. Dr Parsons advised that this could be difficult as the birds are not an endangered species and, as we know, they are present locally at sites on the campus of the University and on the harbour foreshore at Pyrmont. Thus, the return of wrens to Glebe is dependent upon the establishment of habitat corridors linking Glebe to adjacent populations.

The refurbishment of John Street Reserve (approved site for a biodiversity demonstration and blue wren habitat garden) by the City continued with the construction of a new retaining wall along its western boundary. On 15 June, members of the Subcommittee met on site with Joel Johnson, Manager Parks Trees and Aquatic Facilities and Sophie Golding, Urban Ecology Coordinator, from the City to discuss future plantings in the Town Hall Garden. The City has now agreed to review the plan for plantings for ‘blue-wren friendly’ native plants in the gardens at the front of the Hall. The Reserve and Town Hall gardens will form part of an important blue wren corridor which will eventually link Glebe to the wren populations at the University of Sydney.

Over the past year, the Subcommittee has acted as a coordinator and facilitator for the various bushcare groups in our suburb. The Glebe Bushcare Group continued to meet each Wednesday morning and centred its activities on the parklands adjacent to Chapman Rd. After the Society wrote letters to the City, restricted parking signs were installed in Chapman Rd in order to solve the problem of campers staying for days in the parklands and damaging the Group’s native plantings, and also to request that a site in Chapman Rd continue to be provided for the Rozelle Bay Community Native Nursery.

The bi-monthly working bees conducted by the Friends of Orphan School Creek Bushcare Group continued – in November 2014, the volunteers collected seeds from the native flora in the Park; the seeds were germinated and the seedlings planted in the Park or in local private gardens. A joint planting day with the City of Sydney was held on 18 April 2015 during which 200 native tube stocks were planted on the banks at the northern entrance to the park. To publicise the work of the Group and invite local residents to join them, a photographic and native plant display was organised during June in a shop window in Ross St. It also included historical photographs of the park dating back to the time in 1926 when the creek was relocated in buried storm water pipes.

The formation of The Glebe Palmerston and Surrounds Landcare Group followed an onsite meeting near the Glebe Light Rail Stop on Tuesday, 30 September 2014 between local residents and Melanie Flanigan and David Mackney from Operators of Sydney Light Rail, Transdev, and Rae Broadfoot who is Community Gardens and Volunteer Coordinator at City of Sydney. The Group’s volunteers now have an active program for native plantings in seven of Glebe’s pocket parks.

The Subcommittee has 16 members and 10 or more usually attend our monthly meetings. Members of the Society with an interest in biodiversity and the care of our suburb’s parks are always welcome to join the Subcommittee. For your diary, the Society’s third spring bird survey will commence at 6.45am on Sunday 27 September 2015. As in past surveys, we will meet in Paddy Gray Reserve and the City will provide data sheets for recording the numbers of each bird species seen and will analyse the results. On the same day the Subcommittee will be encouraging all Society members to identify and count birds in their own gardens. Please see final arrangements in future Bulletins.