Blue Wren Report for 2011-12
The nine members of the Subcommittee met on a monthly basis during the year – we always welcome new members to come and join our activities, and were glad to welcome two recent newcomers.
In June, accompanied by Fay and many other members of his family, Glebe colleagues and old Lindfield neighbours, an Angophora was planted in Paddy Gray Reserve in grateful memory of David Mander-Jones who died during the year and was the much-loved first convenor or our subcommittee.
A highlight of our November meeting, held at the Red Room Company in The Rocks, was the reading of Margaret Sheppard’s poem “Superb Fairy Wrens”, which was subsequently published on the Company’s web page and in the Bulletin.
Planting days with the aim of increasing biodiversity in our suburb were organised, in association with the City of Sydney, in September at Minogue Crescent and Lewis Hoad Reserve, and in November and May at Paddy Gray Reserve (with members of the Rozelle Bay Community Native Nursery joining in and contributing around 1000 plants). Of special importance was the number of parents who brought their children to these popular events. In addition to our web page, details of planting events were also available on our Facebook page (see – “Glebe’s Blue Wrens”) and there is also now a link on Wikepedia to the Society’s Fairy-Wren habitat report.
In February we were one of only two community groups invited by the City of Sydney to participate in the 21st birthday celebrations of Sydney Park, where we set up a display and handed out information about how to provide suitable habitats for blue wrens and other small birds in the inner city.
Our report would not be complete without our summary of events involving John Street Reserve, a park where wrens were once plentiful and led to the formation of our subcommittee in 2006. The Society’s publication (Superb Fairy-Wren Habitat in Glebe and Forest Lodge: a community based conservation project) recommended that blue wren habitat corridors be established through Glebe (one of which includes the Reserve). The publication was adopted by the Society and the City, who wrote to the Society in 2009 recommending the establishment of a blue wren habitat-demonstration garden in the reserve. In December, however, the City Councillors approved (despite opposition from local Society members and residents) a concept plan containing a gated community garden taking up about 40% of the reserve. The result was the formation of a well organised local residents’ action group, the Friends of John Street Reserve Inc, which is campaigning against the approved concept plan. The City has recently undertaken further consultations with local residents, and we hope that it will rescind the concept plan approval and reinstate its 2009 recommendation of a blue wren habitat demonstration garden.
Our liaison with the City of Sydney has led to greater understanding of the habitat requirements for small birds. Outcomes of this liaison include the hiring of bushcare trained specialists for ongoing maintenance in Paddy Gray Reserve and Orphan School Creek Park, habitat enhancement considerations in park upgrades in the wren corridors, advice on the landscaping of Glebe Town Hall and an anticipated habitat enhancement plan for the Lombard Street/Palmerston Avenue Park near the Glebe light rail stop. We are pleased to report that during the past year, Society members have seen wrens in Jarocin Avenue, Forest Street and Hereford Street; these habitat sites, together with John Street and Paddy Gray Reserves, form part of the important wren corridor linking Glebe’s wrens to those on the campus of the University of Sydney.
The year ended with communication from the Cubberla-Witton Catchments Network in Brisbane’s Inner West that our 2008 Fairy-wren habitat report was inspiring their approach to habitat restoration, followed by our permission for them to use a diagram in their upcoming publication. Our contribution to the landscaping of Glebe Town Hall was recognised in a recent Council media release. We are also delighted that the gifting to us of a significant sum from Residents and Rate Payers of Orphan School Creek Gully Subcommittee (FRROGS) appears at last to be confirmed, thanks to the efforts of Andrew Wood, Bruce Davis and Mairead Browne.
We celebrated National Tree Day at a major event organised by Planet Ark, Toyota and the City of Sydney on Sunday 29 July at Jubilee Park, giving away information about our group, local birds and habitat restoration. In glorious winter sunshine, people congregated to plant thousands of natives along the canal, meet the Lorax and hear his story, and some, to have their faces painted.
At the time of writing we look forward to a biodiversity workshop to be held in Glebe and two field visits via light rail by attendees at the National Landcare Conference, all on Monday 3 September (Biodiversity month). We also look forward to a major planting day on 9 September in Lombard Street/Palmerston Avenue Park, following removal of some age-expired poplars and most of the oleanders there.
During the year the Blue Wren group was reconfirmed as a subcommittee of the Glebe Society, a role bringing with it new responsibilities, duties and insights.
Andrew Wood and Jan Craney 31-7-12