Comments from ornithologist Mark Clayton about Superb Parrot habitat near Mt Rogers and in Gungahlin

In the late 1960s and early 1970s Superb Parrots were a common species in the area that is now covered by the suburb of Fraser.
I used to know people who owned a property there and Superb Parrots commonly bred in some huge old Yellow Box trees. There was also probably Canberra's last colony of Grey-crowned Babblers present on site.
The parrots then appeared to die out for quite a while and it is only in the last decade that they appear to have made a comeback to the northern part of the ACT. How long they will stay remains to be seen as they tend to follow food resources around. The breaking of the drought has probably had quite a bit to do with the birds’ return.
On the other hand the ACT Government has done nothing to help them by clearing large areas of suitable habitat, for housing. I remember someone once saying that of the 95 mature Yellow Box and Red Gum trees in the area that is now Crace, 80 were removed for housing.
Several years ago I travelled along the road that borders Mulligan's Flat Nature Reserve and was horrified to see that every tree up to the reserve’s boundary had been flattened. As I pointed out to Chris Davey when he was doing surveys to record breeding sites for the parrots, it is a totally useless exercise to find nests if all their food trees are being knocked over. This is what is happening with Regent Parrots along the Murray River. They breed in the River Red Gums and feed in the mallee which is still being cleared for agriculture. They are having to move further and further to find feeding sites.
I will be interested to see what happens with the Superb Parrots as Canberra continues to move into critical habitat in the newer Gungahlin suburbs. The ACT Government plans for so-called "offsets" is a farce and so is their so-called "solar orientation "policy which is one of the reasons the trees in Crace were removed. All the old eucalypts near the Gungahlin Town centre will be dead within the next 50 years and nothing appears to have been done to start potentially replacing them. As soon a building goes up near them they will be removed as potential hazards.
The older I get the more cynical I become about governments and their "environmental" policies. I don't think any of them really have a clue!


No comments:

Post a Comment