By Mark Selmes
Ongoing surveys by Greening Australia’s Nicki Taws have once again verified the value of Roslyn Landcare tree plantings .
During a recent tour of both revegetation corridors and remnant trees Ms Taws commented that “ the ongoing commitment of Roslyn Landcare was validated by the results, once again revealing numerous bird species.”
As well as the usual suspects of revegetation sites such as fairy wrens , grey fantails , thornbills and yellow and white faced honeyeaters , the attendees , which included Mary Bonet of Upper Lachlan Landcare , were lucky enough to see one of the threatened species of the area , the Varied Sittella on Paul Dawsons’ property ’ Highlands’. The productive basalt soils on this property support impressive remnant eucalypts which in turn provide the necessary hollow bearing trees which are the backbone for Australian native ecosystems with their nesting sites and den hollows used by countless generations of wildlife . The retention of these trees and hollows is necessary for continued survival by many of Australia’s animals . They include bats, possums, gliders, owls, parrots, antechinus, rosellas and kingfishers as well as numerous species of snakes, frogs and skinks. In south east Australia this includes some 17 % of bird species, 42 % of mammals and 28 % of reptiles (Gibbons and Lindenmayer 1997).
Ms Taws pointed out that fallen timber, retained in some of the protected remnants, add to the biodiversity values where it provides still useful habitat for ground dwelling animals such lizards, spiders and echidnas.
Greening Australia states that one reason why we must bring native birds back is to “provide free, safe and highly effective pest control services.” Honeyeaters can consume 24-36 kg of insects per hectare, per year; 40-60% of the diet of ravens consists of insects such as grasshoppers and army grubs; sugar gliders are estimated to consume 3. 25 kg of insects per year; one insect eating bat can consume up to 600 small flying insects in an hour. (Source: Paddock trees : who’ll miss them when they’re gone?)
Even on a windy day the property ‘Rosslyn’ saw a dozen tree martins swooping and diving among the remnant trees and surrounding revegetation. The trees on ‘Carrawongy ‘ gave shelter to a Peregrine Falcon.
Monitoring of sites for birds have also proven to be” a useful indicator species “as to whether onground activities are making a difference”. For Roslyn Landcare the answer is a resounding YES !
This article can be viewed online in the Crookwell Gazette http://www.crookwellgazette.com.au/story/1153989/the-greening-of-roslyn/