Assets with Eyes

Restoration supports rare visitors

22 Jun 2020

After 20 years of healing the land at Sydney Olympic Park  – removing large tracts of invasive weeds such as lantana, restoring floristically and structurally diverse vegetation for animals such as woodland birds and Green and Golden Bell Frogs, and working with volunteers to conduct fauna surveys that guide adaptive land management and much more – the Parklands now support resident populations of species absent in most of urban Sydney, many of which are threatened with extinction, as well as rare visitors using the Park as a stepping stone to other natural areas.

Many rare visitors were observed in 2019-20. These include birds such as the White-naped Honeyeater, last seen in 2006; Tree Martin, last seen in 2007, and the first record of a Fuscous Honeyeater. However, the most exciting observation was the Swift Parrot, listed federally as critically endangered as fewer than 2,000 birds exist in the wild. Swift Parrots breed in Tasmania and migrate in autumn and winter to woodlands in south-eastern Australia. Key threats include loss of habitat through logging, clearing and development, and predation by the Sugar Glider introduced to Tasmania continue to impact on the species. All the birds were seen in planted and regenerating woodland in Narawang Wetland and Newington Nature Reserve, and were reported to the Authority by experienced birdwatchers and ecologists.

A 1m long Lace Monitor, while not a threatened species, was another exciting discovery, reported by SOPA’s bush regeneration contractor Toolijooa. One of Australia’s largest lizards, it can reach 2m in length. It has long, sharp claws for climbing, and spends much time up in large trees when it’s not on the ground foraging for insects, bird eggs, reptiles and small mammals. The Lace Monitor was seen resting on the concrete sound barrier on Holker street on several occasions, surely an unexpected sight for motorists!

In December, a Short-beaked Echidna was spotted in the Badu Mangroves. This unusual species is a monotreme (along with the platypus), a mammal that lays eggs and has no teats. Outside of their breeding season, echidnas live solitary lives, wandering home ranges of up to 50 hectares. Unfortunately, the echidna was killed on Hill Road, highlighting the importance of safe movement corridors for wildlife to survive in the urban environment.

The Park is an example of what can be achieved with dedicated, continual restoration actions. We look forward to sharing more exciting discoveries with you over the next 20 years.

 

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Swift Parrot, a critically endangered species with less than 2000 birds left in the wild CC-BY-SA-4.0 Gunjan Pandey
Lace Monitor on Holker street sound barrier
Short-beaked Echidna in Badu Mangroves

Swift Parrot, a critically endangered species with less than 2000 birds left in the wild CC-BY-SA-4.0 Gunjan Pandey

Lace Monitor on Holker street sound barrier

Short-beaked Echidna in Badu Mangroves

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