Twenty four Society members and friends attended a lecture (Thursday 7 May in the downstairs meeting room at Benledi) given by Dr Holly Parsons entitled ‘Little birds in a big city – the lives and times of Superb Fairy-wrens’. The President introduced Dr Parsons, who is the Program Manager for Birds in Backyards, and Andrew Wood thanked her for a wonderfully informative talk. As far as the possibility of reintroducing blue wrens to Glebe is concerned, 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 of Sydney and also on the harbour foreshore at Pyrmont. Thus the return of wrens to Glebe, including John Street Reserve, is dependent upon the establishment of habitat-corridors linking our suburb to the adjacent populations. For example, in December last year wrens were observed in Jarocin Ave, Glebe and we assume that they had flown from the University of Sydney. So, sites such as the Glebe Town Hall gardens are especially important as, with the planting of suitable native flora, they can form part of a corridor enabling the University’s wren population to expand to Jarocin Ave and eventually John Street and Paddy Gray Reserves. In addition to predation from larger birds, another issue raised by Dr Parsons in re-establishing a small bird population in Glebe was the killing of native animals by domestic cats and the need to keep these pets indoors at all times. The work of Professor Chris Dickman at the University of Sydney has shown that up to 80% of urban domestic cats hunt the local native animals (most commonly birds, including blue wrens).

Dr Holly Parsons with Norma Hawkins after Holly’s lecture to the Society about the lives and times of Superb Fairy-wrens. (image: Tony Tan).
Dr Holly Parsons with Norma Hawkins after Holly’s lecture to the Society about the lives and times of Superb Fairy-wrens. (image: Tony Tan).

A Regional Landcare Bushcare Forum, attended by three members of the Subcommittee, was held by the NSW Government’s Greater Sydney Local Land Services at the Royal Botanic Garden on Friday 15 May. The keynote speaker was Sean Dooley, Editor of Birdlife Australia, who emphasised the need to maintain and re-establish habitats for birds especially the endangered species. Sophie Golding (Urban Ecology Coordinator, City of Sydney) presented the results of spring bird surveys in the local government area in 2014. The Society’s surveys over the past two years were mentioned in detail as in 2013 we were the first community group to conduct such a survey in Sydney.

Thirty volunteers attended the City of Sydney’s planting day on 18 April in Orphan School Creek and about 200 native tube stocks were planted on the banks at the northern entrance to the park. Members of the Orphan School Creek Bushcare Group had letterboxed invitations to local residents and the City provided morning tea. A working bee was held in the park from 9am on Sunday 10 May; it was attended by 10 people including the City of Sydney’s Councillor Robyn Kemmis. The next working bee is on Sunday 21 June commencing at 9am – please contact Judy Christie (0437 693 372) if you would like to attend.

A childcare centre is to be constructed on the site of the Rozelle Bay Community Native Nursery in Chapman Rd. The Subcommittee will draft a letter to the City of Sydney to be signed by the President requesting that the City provide the nursery with alternative accommodation.

In John Street Reserve the Murrayas have been hedged and some have been removed as recommended in the City’s Work Plan. We spoke with Nick Criniti (Contract Coordinator Parks, City of Sydney) about the maintenance of Paddy Gray Reserve – the City’s contractors are using a bushcare trained team for maintenance of the Reserve and future plantings of native flora are planned.

The Palmerston Ave and Surrounds Landcare Group met on 7 May and its members have been appointed as coordinators for the seven parks/sites in the area (Upper Palmerston, Lower Palmerston, Sarah Peninton Reserve, Light Rail Area, William Carlton Gardens, Ernest Pederson Reserve and Quarry St Steps).