Bird Habitat Planting Success

Saturday 25th April saw up to 30 community members arrive in Popes Glen Bushcare worksite to help rehabilitate bird habitat. See “Bird Habitat Anyone?” post for more site details.

The Bushcare Group plans to create a habitat specifically tailored to attract and support smaller birds, such as Red-browed Finch, Superb Fairy-wren, Eastern Whipbird. Over 300 plants of local provenance and ready for planting.

D Demstration Hole Dig w

First, dig a hole

Under bright blue skies Council Bushcare Officer Peter Chrismas demonstrated planting techniques to the whole group. We broke up into small groups to work in 5 small areas, previously marked out. Plants suitable for each micro-area had also been laid out earlier in the day. Very well organised indeed.

E Demonstrate Planting w

Then find a plant …

F Volunteers Planting w

Hard at work still digging and planting

The very enthusiastic volunteers dug holes, planted & guarded, then watered every one of the tube-stock provided for the day.

G Finished Product w

The “finished” product

As the last few plants were being fitted in, the debris collected and final water spread around, the first drops of rain appeared and the skies began to fill with grey and darkening clouds. With most of the work done, many of the volunteers repaired to the morning tea (now lunchtime!) shelter. Some of us stayed behind to check for any rubbish & lost tools, also engaging in some impromptu weed identification while sheltering under tree ferns in the heavier downpours.

This dedication was rewarded, with the arrival close by of a White-necked Heron which had been patrolling the swamp 30 metres away earlier in the morning. Still & quiet as a statue, the bird patiently watched its prey hiding somewhere in the thick carex swamp grass beneath. We watched, took photographs, waited patiently too. But not as patiently as the Heron. We had left the bird to concentrate on its job, when a sudden sound made us turn again to find a large crayfish in the Heron’s bill.

Heron with Lunch

Heron with Lunch

A fantastic job of juggling ensued, at the end of which the crustacean disappeared into the bird’s crop in a single, swift gulp. This heron has been in and around the Popes Glen swamp for at least two weeks and has been seen fishing before. Will it make home here? Very unlikely, but it is exciting to know that such a large bird is finding other parts of our previously lifeless willow-desert such good habitat.

There will be more such fun next month with another set of plants ready, but we can’t promise the Heron will repeat its performance. If you would like to come on 23rd May, or want more information, see below.

All community members are welcome, but numbers are limited so contact Alan to register and for details:    Ph 4787 7097