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fauna... birds & animals

Birds of Oatley Park
The park provides a sanctuary for many species of birds, some of which nest within its boundaries. Others simply use the park and its tidal boundaries as part of their wider search for food and shelter, returning regularly to the park, but nesting elsewhere.

A number of migratory birds also find the bush-covered peninsula a convenient stopover on their long flights.

It is difficult to say exactly how many species occur within the park and around its edges at any single moment and as numbers fluctuate depending on such variables as time of year and availability of food. A number of lists of birds of the park have been made over the years by members of Oatley Flora and Fauna Conservation Society. For example, 115 different species were recorded in the years 1973-75, but many of the birds listed then have not been seen recently or are rare visitors. The improvement to Lime Kiln wetlands has attracted a number of species which were previously unrecorded for the area.

Listed here are 145 species recorded for the bushland of Oatley Park, its tidal mud flats, mangroves and Lime Kiln wetlands. Recent sightings are indicated by (R) after the name. An Oatley Park record in The Atlas of NSW Wildlife (NPWS) is indicated by (A).

> CLICK HERE for a full listing of birds.

O.F.F. Conservation Society would appreciate notification of any additional sightings of birds not on this list.

Mammals, Reptiles and Amphibians
Because of the proximity of housing and the high recreational use of the park, visitors cannot expect to see many animals other than birds. Those which might have once occurred have mostly become locally extinct. Foxes which breed in the park, and marauding cats and dogs from nearby houses have taken a heavy toll of smaller mammals and reptiles.

Ringtail Possums and Brushtail Possums probably survive, but being nocturnal, are seldom seen. The Echidna has been recorded from the park in the past but is quite rare. There is at least one record of Swamp Wallaby (in 1997) during a dry period. It probably entered the park from surrounding bushland.

Grey-headed Flying Foxes visit flowering eucalypts from time to time. Two species of small bats have been identified in 2003 from sound recordings of their calls - the Bent-winged Bat (Miniopterus schreibersii) and Goulds Wattled Bat (Chalinolobus gouldii).

The Atlas of NSW Wildlife records 8 species of lizards, 6 species of snakes and 2 species of frogs for Oatley Park and its surrounds but many of these records are old and most are rarely if ever seen today. The Eastern Water Dragon is one species often sighted along the creek which flows into Lime Kiln wetlands, near the rack which is designed to collect rubbish washed down from the catchment.

Other lizards reported from the park are Broad-tailed (Leaf-tailed) Gecko (in 1993), Eastern Stone Gecko (in 1992), Southern Scaly-foot (in 1992), Eastern Water-skink (in 2003), Yellow-bellied Three-toed Skink (in 1932), Eastern Bearded Dragon (in 1924) and Copper-tailed Skink (in 1923). Snakes are seldom seen but the following have been recorded : Red-bellied Black Snake (occasionally seen recently), Red-naped Snake (in 1992), Yellow-faced Whipsnake (in 1969, probably locally extinct), Green Tree Snake (in 1995), Brown Tree Snake (in 1947, probably locally extinct) and Blackish Blind Snake (in 1998).

In addition, there has been a credible sighting of a Marsh Snake in the park and a Diamond Python in Lime Kiln Bay. The park does not provide good habitat for frogs and only the Common Eastern Froglet and Striped Marsh Frog have been recorded. These frogs have the greatest tolerance of polluted water and ponds.

Fauna of the Mangroves
Mangrove areas are biologically diverse and exceptionally rich in fauna. They are breeding grounds for prawns and fish, and although no specific study has been made of the Lime Kiln Bay mangrove community, other studies of similar areas around Sydney have revealed that they contain large numbers of animal species, including tiny shrimps, molluscs, crabs, marine worms and a wide range of distinctive spiders and insects. One square metre of mangrove sediment can contain 100 or more tiny animals of 35 different species.

Two species of crab occur commonly in the tidal mud flats around Oatley Park. They are the Red-fingered Marsh Crab (Sesarma erythrodactyla), which has a blackish-green shell and bright orange-red claws, and the larger Paragrapsus laevis which prefers to live in the higher tidal limits under logs and stones and has swollen claws coloured purplish-brown to red. At night these crabs feed on the brown algae growing on the trunks and roots of the mangroves, or on the micro-organisms present in the mud. Two very common shells along the mud flats are Salinator solida and Ophicardelus sulcatus. Sometimes under stones you will also find one of the air-breathing marine slugs, Onchidium.











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