Saturday, March 18, 2017

Now Hear This

With the change of season imminent, hopefully (autumn/winter seems a little reluctant to arrive in beautiful Baw Baw this year), we begin to see and hear the arrival of some birds from the mountains and we say goodbye to some that start heading north at this time of year.

Pied Currawongs have started coming down from the mountains and their numbers are building as we begin hearing their beautiful carolling at dusk when they settle into their favourite communal night roosting patch of trees. Like many other birds, some individuals do remain in our patch all year, but the majority actually 'migrate' annually between the mountains and the lowlands. (Altitudinal migration is a term often referred to in the bird world).
(Pied Currawong call –Graeme Chapman)
The King Parrot, nearly everyone's favourite, likewise prefers to spend the summer in the mountains where it uses hollows in large trees to nest and rear the new season's fledglings. Around about now the numbers of these beautiful birds will begin building in our parks and gardens. Many 'kingies' oddly seem much more approachable in their urban environment than they do in the bush. Bird watchers around the world are amazed at their beauty and tameness as they feed at garden seed trays in Aussie backyards.
(King Parrot call – Graeme Chapman)
The distinctive stuttering creaky growls of the Gang-gang Cockatoo become increasingly familiar in autumn as they arrive from the hills to spend winter in the lowlands. Some say their call is evocative of a creaking rusty gate hinge. We are particularly fortunate to have the Gang-gang in our midst as the distribution of this bird is limited to a thin strip of mountain and coastal forests in the south-east corner of the continent.
(Gang-gang Cockatoo call – Xeno-canto)
These are just three species we might hear a little more from in the next few months as they begin to occupy Drouin's outstanding street trees, parks, reserves and gardens.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Trees and Property Values

Worldwide research indicates that residential property values are enhanced by at least 5% when the property is located in a well treed street. Some USA research puts the improved value as high as 20% in some cities.
A well-treed section of Drouin

Brisbane and Perth are two Australian cities where recent research supports this finding.

 Real estate agents have recognized the value of a good tree in a front garden at about $5,000 for a suburban property and earlier work had estimated that a tree-lined nature strip added 30% to properties.

Princes Way west
A recent discussion with the principal of a large and well established real estate agency in Drouin confirms these sorts of findings – "Homes in leafy streets realize higher values and are easier to sell".

Wood St
With 'hard' figures now available, I wonder will the day come when the removal of a tree or trees from a street might precipitate legal action by residents for compensation for loss of property value!

Monday, February 27, 2017

'Golden Whistler' Reserve

Golden Whistler Reserve is a linear stretch of mixed remnant and planted species between McGlone Rd and the Princes Freeway in Drouin.

Golden Whistler is not the official name of this patch of bush – I think it officially goes by the uninspiring title of Public Purposes Reserve. The name Golden Whistler has caught on as each time I visit and when the FoDT surveyed the trees, we were serenaded by at least one pair of Golden Whistlers.

A walk there one morning recently had me thinking of yet another alternative name – Blue Wren Central! The beautiful Superb Fairy-wren seemed to be in every second bush.

 Here's the bird list for the short morning's walk – Superb Fairy-wren, Golden Whistler, Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo, Grey Fantail, Striated Thornbill, (a new one for my Drouin list I think), White-browed Scrubwren, Eastern Yellow Robin, Red Wattlebird, unknown Raven sp, Bell Miner, Spotted Pardalote and Red-browed Finch. I think I had fifteen in my head after half an hour – as I type this I've forgotten a few, (probably due to my date of birth!).

At the moment the Sweet Bursaria is in flower and attracting a variety of insects, the Kangaroo Apple fruit are turning red and the trunks of the Angophoras and Spotted Gums at the start of the walk are always attractive.

Access to this little remnant wonderland on our doorstep is via an unmarked track in McGlone Rd, just west of the entrance to the Drouin Golf Club. Check it out – one of Drouin's precious places.