Regent Honeyeater on the Brink

Myles Dunphy Flying Fox Camp

It appears that the Oatley, Myles Dunphy Bush Reserve Flying-fox camp has become a permanent camp.  The numbers of Flying-foxes have ranged from about 4,400-5,500 in February.

This is an unusually large number for the Myles Dunphy Camp, the most that we have had since a peak period in February-March 2009 when 10,000-13,000 were present.  Our local record keeper Geoff Francis  suspects that the unusually large numbers are partly due to the abandonment of Kareela Camp in September.

 

 

 

 

2019 Calendar – The Nature of Georges River

Oatley Flora and Fauna Society, Oatley Heritage and Historical Society and Oatley Lions launched a calendar for 2019 at the Oatley Village Festival on Saturday. The theme of the calendar is the Natural World of Georges River Council Parks and Reserves with photos from local photographers.

There are dates for important events, school holidays, public holidays and dates for various groups in the area such as OFF and OHHS.

The calendars are NOW $5 .  Calendars will be available at OFF meetings and events.


 Copies are also available at :

Mullane’s Pharmacy – 121A Mulga Road, West Oatley NSW 2223 Ph: 9580 2365

Poveli Café and Deli -15 Frederick Street, Oatley NSW 2223 Ph: 9580 1845

AdventureCo – 18 Frederick Street, Oatley NSW 2223 Ph: 8084 3060

 

 

Flying Fox Count at Myles Dunphy Reserve

 

The Grey headed Flying Foxes departed the Myles Dunphy camp  between 8.05 and about 8.40 today. Several of us were treated to a spectacular display of about 3400 flying foxes making an exit North /Northwesterly direction from the top green of the former Oatley Bowling club site. Our resident Flying Fox watcher Geoff Francis documented the spectacle. This is the highest count since the all time high of 4170 recorded flying out on 29 March 2011. Residents have seen and heard them feasting on Figs, Palms and Bloodwoods.

Although they appear in large groups, numbers of Grey-headed Flying Foxes are declining because of habitat clearing. These bats are important to healthy forest ecosystems because they pollinate and disperse the seeds of many important tree species.

Read more at Sydney Bats website  

Also read  Sandra Guy, on Flying-foxes role in ensuring the ongoing health of ecosystems

Click here for  spreadsheet of counts from Myles Dunphy Bat Camp 2010-2018

 

 
 15 February 2018

 

 

Oatley Bay Tree Massacre

A tree massacre has been bought to our attention at the Oatley Bay Memorial Boardwalk. A nearby resident was seen removing gum trees, mangrove trees casuarinas and others on the 13th of July.

Council were notified and  on the day visited the site and confiscated a saw and ladder.  Clearing continued on  27th July and 1st August,  this was reported with photos to council.

OFF members have visited this site and seen lots of small trees and some mangrove branches cut down and the stumps pasted in black (?poison).  All the destroyed vegetation still lying on the ground. It has certainly created a ‘water view’ for the occupant of one unit in the Kingfisher block (No. 136 Morshead Drive). 

Some have noted it would seem an ideal place to erect one of those boards that blocks the view from the unit and shames the perpetrator.  It has damaged the ambience of the Memorial Boardwalk; following website says “construction was competed in October 2008 and boardwalk was officially launched by the mayor and representatives from the St George RS.  http://www.kogarah.nsw.gov.au/environment/local-projects/foreshore

Three Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos were seen climbing amongst the casuarinas that were still standing, and a Magpie-Lark was foraging on the exposed mud flat – certainly an area of significance for birds.

 

 

 

Centennial Park meander in the labyrinth & swamplands

On Friday 30th June 16 members of OFF took the train and bus to Centennial Park on a crisp, clear morning.
 
After morning coffee (with good use of Keep It Cups) and singing Happy Birthday to one of our group we set off for a gentle walk to the Lachlan Swamp.
 
 
 
 
Lachlan Swamp  is a magnificent paperbark swamp and home to a Flying Fox colony. We also observed a large flock of Little Corellas  and amongst them we spotted a few Long-billed Corellas. The Long-billed are normally found in Southern New South Wales.
 
 
 
From there we proceeded to the Labyrinth where many of us followed the path into its centre and out again. This sandstone labyrinth was completed in August 2014 having taken 5 months to build. It was based on the one in Chartres Cathedral in France.
 
 
 
After a picnic lunch on the lawns in the sun we walked back to Oxford St and caught a bus to the Reservoir Park in Paddington. This park is a re-purposing of the old water reservoir – a small gem easily overlooked. It also has a lovely example of a Wollemi Pine tree.
This completed our walk. We were very fortunate to have had such a sunny winter’s day as the forecast in the beginning of the week had been very different.

Urban Habitat Creation

Georges River Council is drawing on the expertise of specialist arborist, Michael Sullings from Sydney Arbor Trees to create nest boxes in dead trees that would otherwise have been cut down and mulched. The preserving of’wildlife trees’ is increasingly important as urban sprawl drastically reduces the number of suitable habitat trees.

Michael and his team use small chainsaws to ‘sculpt’ the hollows within the trunk or branch of the tree. The size and configuration of the hollow will depend on both the tree size and the target animals. More on  urban habitat creation

 

In the Georges River local government area work has been completed on trees in:

Depot Roberts Road

Myles Dunphy Reserve

Oatley Memorial Gardens

Spooner Park

Waterside Parade, Peakhurst Heights 

In the modern age, trees are usually viewed in terms of amenity and safety, with unsafe trees being removed entirely. What is generally overlooked is which aspects of the tree could be retained for the benefit of local wildlife and biodiversity. 

Dead and decaying wood is a food source for insects and other invertebrates, which are in turn food for reptiles and mammals and birds. Trees – alive or dead – which contain hollows are habitat for all manner of organisms. 

Cavities in trees can take decades or even centuries to develop into a large enough space for birds and animals to live in.  It is estimated that 15% of Australian vertebrate species use natural tree hollows for nesting, raising young and housing1. In NSW alone, over 150 species of wildlife use cavities, and are referred to as obligate hollow users. Around 40 of these species are listed as vulnerable or endangered

As people come to a greater understanding of the importance of urban wildlife, and the supporting role that trees – dead as well as living – play, hopefully dead trees and logs will come to be seen as a thing of beauty or at least a necessity.

Full Report on  urban habitat creation

Jibbon Head

On Sunday 4th June, 15 OFF members and friends went on our annual “whale watching” walk. We arrived at Cronulla by train and car and then ferried across to Bundeena. It was a beautiful day and many people like us had decided to visit Royal National Park, consequently the ferry was quite crowded.

From Bundeena we followed the Jibbon Head track, there were plenty of wildflowers out including four species of banksia, acacias and plenty of pea flowers.


We had lunch in a lovely grassy spot overlooking the entrance into Port Hacking. It was a good spot for whale watching as well! We saw up to 10 whales, some were breaching creating spectacular splashes.   We returned to Bundeena via the aboriginal rock carvings, now protected by the construction of a viewing platform. We debated whether the two whales in the carvings were a humback and an orca and what was the significance of the two whales to the local aboriginals. Perhaps they had some cooperative arrangement with the orcas as used to occur with the whalers in Twofold Bay at Eden.


We then scarpered back in time to get the 3pm ferry which again was well crowded.We officially finished at Cronulla and satisfied that we had achieved our whale spotting goal and had a lovely walk in our great treasure, the Royal National Park.

SEE PHOTO GALLERY

Heathcote National Park to Waterfall

After heavy overnight rain and with a forecast of scattered showers for at least the morning period, 8 intrepid walkers departed Oatley Station during rain showers and arrived at Heathcote in clearing conditions. There we met with 3 more souls who joined us for coffee and the reading of the “riot act” during which the rain returned. In spite of the conditions (both “riot” and weather) 11 starters headed off through the Scouts and Guides training camp, towards the bottom of the Heathcote Valley and the Woronora pipeline track.

By the time we reached our first creek crossing (Battery Causeway) the rain had passed making morning tea opportune. Water levels had subsided from those of the reccy walk 2 weeks earlier making all the creek crossings relatively easy, (mostly) without even getting wet feet.

The Bullawarring Track from there to Waterfall led us past some spectacularly gnarled angophoras, verdant grass trees, geebungs and banksias as well as waterfalls and plenty of rock pools and a swimming hole. Whilst enjoying a lunch break in the now pleasant sunshine ‘near ‘the mysterious Myuna Pool and watching a beautiful Kingfisher flit about, Sharyn and Phil joined us having walked from the Waterfall end of the track.

 

 

 

To finish the 10km walk, at the top of Heathcote Creek, we climbed up quite a steep (140m ascent) ridge and then on to the Waterfall train station. A tired group, but I think satisfied with the day’s challenges and rewards, made their way home, some via a stop at the Oatley pub for welcome refreshments.

Report on OFF walk in Heathcote N. P. 2 April 2017 By Kim Wagstaff.

CLICK HERE FOR PHOTO ALBUM

 

Myles Dunphy Flying Fox Camp has grown to over 2000

Bats March 2017Report from our resident Flying Fox watcher Geoff Francis – About 2350 flying-foxes flew out from the camp at Myles Dunphy Reserve on 19 March 2017. This is the largest number roosting in the camp since April 2011.
 
P1010377The camp has spread out from the wetland onto the neighbouring foot slopes. The northeast end of the expanded camp is only about 35 m from the boundary of the proposed development site on the former bowling club and about 85 m from the location of the proposed five storey seniors’ apartments building. There were greater than usual numbers of flying-foxes using the northeast flight path, and many of the flying-foxes came out on the northeast flight path but swung around onto the main north flight path. Thus I was unable to count the numbers for the two flight paths separately. However, at least 200 flying-foxes flew through the airspace where the proposed five storey building would be located.
 paperbark-melaleuca-Melaleuca-quinquenerviaLilly-Pilly-FruitThe flying-foxes are feeding on flowering Melaleuca quinquenervia street trees and some flowering Corymbia gummifera in the Oatley area. They are also feeding on a few (planted) flowering Eucalyptus grandis, and numerous fruiting Lillypillies (Acmena smithii). The flowering of the M. quinquenervia and fruiting of the A. smithii which commenced early last week has significantly increased the available food in the local area, and the increase in flying-fox numbers appears to be a response to this.
 
 On evenings with good visibility I have noticed substantial numbers of flying-foxes from the Kareela camp flying west past Gungah Bay towards Oatley Park, but this evening visibility wasn’t good enough to tell whether this was still occurring.
 
 Report from our resident Flying Fox watcher Geoff Francis (20 march 2017)
 
Flying Foxes important part of an healthy sustainable ecosystem.