Assets with Eyes

Grassland specialists

29 Jul 2020

Never make the mistake that grasslands are empty – they teem with wildlife from grasshoppers to hovering raptors. There are special animals that can only be found in these spaces, making them an important type of vegetation at Sydney Olympic Park. Come and explore!

Grasslands are a different experience from the shelter and canopy of a woodland or forest. Grasslands are full of tall swaying tussock grasses, sedges and herbs that provide shelter and food for small animals. Grasslands at Sydney Olympic Park are made up of plant species such as Kangaroo Grass (Themeda australis), Wallaby Grass (Austrodanthonia spp), Barbed Wire Grass (Cymbopogon refractus), Blady Grass (Imperata cylindrica) and a few exotic species too. This type of vegetation can be best seen in the Woo-la-ra precinct where the majority of the hills are covered in grasses.

The Woo-la-ra name has Aboriginal origin, meaning 'look-out place' and the views from the top are inspiring! From here you may see a Black-shouldered Kite hovering above you as it searches below for insects, small reptiles and rodents with its sharp eyes. Only a few birds of prey can hover – the Nankeen Kestrel is another raptor you may see using the hovering technique to find its prey.

The Golden-headed Cisticola is a tiny bird that weighs the same as 8 paperclips or 8 grams, and loves the low tangled vegetation of grasslands. The tall grasses offer sanctuary to search for insects on the ground. The males are very vocal at this time of year zitting and buzzing from tall grass stems or bushes. Look for this species at Woo-la-ra and Wentworth Common. If you are patient, you may see the display flight of a male popping high in the sky before arrowing back down to the grasses for safety.

There are many species such as the skinks, quail, pipits and finch that use grasslands too so come and sit quietly, enjoy the view and see what you can see.

Listen to the video to hear this vigorous male defend its turf! 


A Black-shouldered Kite with its favourite prey – a mouse
A Golden-Headed Cisticola calling from a Bottlebrush shrub © Jon Irvine
Walk or ride your bike to discover grasslands at Sydney Olympic Park

 A Black-shouldered Kite with its favourite prey – a mouse

 A Golden-Headed Cisticola calling from a Bottlebrush shrub © Jon Irvine

Walk or ride your bike to discover grasslands at Sydney Olympic Park

 

           
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