Down by the creek UPDATE

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Shirley Hardy
Shirley Hardy's picture
Down by the creek UPDATE

There's some interesting spots along the Tenterfield, NSW creek where I used to venture, hang about and take photos. That was until recently. My little neck of the woods is wrought with danger, for man and animal alike. My neighbours across the road and their stupid dog; and another neighbour (who also hates birds and cats with just as much passion) are the cause of all neighbourhood problems for every living creature. The dog across the road chases birds and probably kills them. It's reknowned for being a snake killer as well. But now the access to the creek from Laird Street intersection has been fenced off - meaning no-one can get into the creek anymore. 

This particular gum tree (species unknown 'cause I haven't ID'ed it yet) came crashing down probably over late summer sometime, going on the activity of the White-faced Heron that nested in the tree every summer. The White-faced Heron has recently moved out to find another tree to nest in. I haven't seen her in quite a few weeks now. She only recently had 2 babies which grew up and left home before the tree branch came down.

I know why the tree branch came down - because the stupid b**** across the road set fire to the area to burn off the thick scrub on the other side of the creek - which was not even on her property. Boy did she get raked over the coals for that. As a result this gum tree caught on fire and the fire could've easily brought the tree down there and then. But the tree hung on for about 2 years then just couldn't handle the weight and the branch snapped off. This was a huge branch, and probably about half the tree went down as well. It flattened our other neighbour's fence and fell into her paddock. The White-faced Heron's nest was in the other half of the tree that still remains upright.

Looking closer at the second pic I noticed the 2 gum trees I planted a few years back have been removed by the neighbours across the road, probably out of spite toward me and used as kindling for their fireplace. They should've been about 10-15 feet tall by now and directly to the immediate left (in the picture) of the tall gum tree, on the grass area. Man am I irate. I'm thinking of a plan of attack. Hmm.... maybe a huge flood might do the trick. It'll certainly rip up fences and cause more erosion and do more damage to their property across the road. Yep, I'm saddistic (only toward my neighbours across the road though). They bring out my evil side!!!

The other neighbour's house and property where this gum tree branch rests in is up for sale, so I'm hoping someone buys it and plants really tall trees and other such stuff, and doesn't put up with their new neighbour's s***.

On the plus side to all of this there seems to be quite a few gum trees revegetating along the creek and even away from the creek in the paddocks, and probably lots of silk trees too. I recently had to pull up 2 silk tree seedlings from my garden. Didn't want to but they're not natives nor indigenous to my area. They're a nice tree though but have invasive roots.

What is going to peeve the council off is the creek is no long accessable to them. So they can't come in and rip up any trees, unless they get the neighbours to tear down this fence. The fence is actually on council property, so perhaps I should go complain to the council about this fence? See picture 3.

The fence goes from the corner of the neighbour's property across the road from me, to my other neighbour's property fence line. It is not even straight either. And there are rocks at the base of the fence. What? Do they think a few rocks are going to protect the fence from a flood? They obviously don't know much. The next flood we have will erode the ground where that big black log is (see 3rd pic again) to the left of the driveway, hanging over the water, then push it into the water and the force of the water will just wash that fence away. The neighbours across the road have unintentionally set up a debris trap that will wash everything away during the next major flood. And I'm laughing my head off because they don't have a clue as to what they're in for. I'm actually hoping they'll backfill with even more rocks near their fence perimetre - which will cause higher flood waters onto their actual property, and perhaps even destroy their raised garden/vegie beds. 

If we do get another flood they could als be sued for creating debris upstream, as they're piling up wood to burn off in July in their paddock which happens to be in the flood zone of where the flood water goes onto that paddock.

I just don't get that. Why burn off every year when there's perfectly good wood in that pile to use in their fireplace? They don't even want to think about such things. They'd rather get wood from a gum tree to burn, just like everyone else around here. 

Shirley Hardy
Shirley Hardy's picture

On a further note, I find this gum trees' growth to be quite comical. It's growing in a section of the creek next to the Douglas Street bridge that's inaccessable to human vehicles. An untouched area of Tenterfield. There are not many pockets of untouched wilderness, as I call it, here in Tenterfield. In fact, this is the only untouched area (of the Tenterfield Creek) in all of Tenterfield from what I can tell. There's minimal revegetation due to cows grazing along this section for most of the year, on and off throughout the year.

I'm at Tenterfield, NSW. (Formerly known as "Hyperbirds".)

Woko
Woko's picture

Wow, Shirley, you sure are sounding mightily peeved at the environmental shenanigans in your neighborhood!

Shirley Hardy
Shirley Hardy's picture

Yes, I am Woko. I'm surrounded by idiots and they won't move out nor stop destroying things, scaring the wildlife, f***ing cats; etc. Living in Tenterfield is like living in the dark ages. There's no progress of any sort here and very few people even bother to grow a native garden at all. My motto now is "Whatever I plant I don't pay attention to nor attach any feelings to. Let all the plants go feral for all I care." If the town gets flooded and washed away - who cares. More space for gum trees to grow in I reckon. 

There's 4 main native plant types along the creek: Leptospermum; gum trees; wattles; and reeds. The rest is weeds and grass. Its been like this for years - mostly devoid of vegetation. The main problem along the creek is grazing in the creek by cows and the council planting (when it does do anything) only one tree deep. I just give up. .

I'm at Tenterfield, NSW. (Formerly known as "Hyperbirds".)

Woko
Woko's picture

Giving up is certainly an option, Shirley, although I'm unconvinced that Earth is any better off for doing so although sometimes there can be value in retreating for a while in order to take a deep breath & regain one's sanity & equilibrium.

Another option is to become an underground, secretive, phantom ecological restorer in an area least visited by humans yet where, over time, indigenous native plants can regenerate from your own plantings & your own bush care actions.

Battling against all those weeds & uncaring humans is a daunting, if not fruitless, task. One of the first principles of bush care is to begin with the highest quality bush rather than in areas swamped with ferals. I've mentioned in other threads Bringing Back the Bush by Joan Bradley. An oldie now but a goldie still. Another worthwhile guide is Bush Regeneration by Robin Buchanan. Perhaps in moments of frustration when you want to pull the ground over your head & let Homo sapiens go to hell in its own way you might find value in immersing yourself in these books to gain inspiration, information & intelligence on how to go about contributing to the restoration of natural landscapes.  

jason

Shirley don't you dare try and take the title for Looser Land from my part of Australia. They are very good at it around here.  I think if it doesn't kill you it will make you stronger and more patient.  That is what I am finding anyway, I lean to accept the frustrations better and celibrate the small and infrequent wins.  I don't know how many times I have given up on my creek, but like nature itself I keep comming back, slower and perhaps less out there, but still grow in some compacity. Woko is right, look to what's less exposed so to speak, it's easier to find shelter and growth in there.  If you can't find a copy of Bringing Back the Bush, I am happy to loan you mine.

Sorry to drop in on your thread, but you were talking about dead head humans. Just yesterday I discovered someone in the hood has a new chain saw, well that is all I can make of it.  A random tree, felled in a small nature strip full of lazy people loads of rubbish that should have gone to the dump.  There are some good breading trees in this strip, I hope it stops at only one.  

Ipswich Shire Eastern flanks

soakes
soakes's picture

LOL.  Whoever cut that tree down clearly had no idea how to do it properly!  He was probably lucky it didn't land on his head.

That might have been the best outcome...

soakes
Victoria, Australia

Shirley Hardy
Shirley Hardy's picture

Woko and Jason. I needed a kick up the butt so "Thank You" for that. I'm going to take some time out to contemplate nature and take some of my own advice, that I gave to you, Jason. (How to solve problems by resorting to how nature solves problems.) I currently have (well, the birds do anyway) a bigger problem to solve. It's bigger than anything humans could ever cause. It's OWLS plus too many sparrows, indian mynahs and starlings/blackbirds. An owl recently bred in the area somewhere and now some of my resident small birds are missing. I was writing earlier today on another thread about the missing birds but as I write this I am starting to hear some of the birds that went missing. They must've went into hiding or even left the area for some time but now just starting to come back. 

The real problem is twofold: there is not enough owl and raptor proof plant life around here for the birds to seek shelter in, and the introduced species numbers are not dwindling because of owl predation. There's also a lack of indigenious plant life in the area. Daylight raptors (eagles/hawks etc) are rare here. They usually get chased off by the bigger birds (Torresian Crows, Pied Currawongs and Magpies) in summer. What the heck eats sparrows and Indian Mynahs?

I believe Brown Goshawks eat sparrows as I think that was the species I saw chasing a bunch of sparrows one year, in the plum tree that has been since chopped down out the front. If I can somehow get the crows and butcherbirds and currawongs to only eat sparrow eggs and chicks I'd be really happy. The native bird numbers then might have a chance to repopulate the area. 

However, native bird populations are predated on by everything, eventually, including the odd cat, snake, fox and pet dogs.

I get mad about things and do tend to give up on things from time to time, like recently. I guess I care too much about the birds and non-human lifeforms around here. .I know I can't actually do anything about the creek as it's all fenced off and parts do have live electric fences to them - to keep the cows in. But cows go straight under the electric fences from time to time and wander the streets. Horses do the same sometimes - they jump fences and roam the streets.

So, on that note, I've started to think about the type of garden I am growing out the front and am starting to extend it further toward the building/flats. My garden is too small to be a habitat for any native bird species yet. I don't think I'm thinking this through properly. The birds need really prickly plants for sheltering in against large predators, including cats. Using cacti might actually be a good thing in this instance, for protection at ground level anyway. I have most of my potted cacti out in the front garden and all the small native birds sit on them. If the native birds sit on them then they will nest in the area surrounded by them, if designed right. Perhaps this is what nature is showing me as a solution to a problem?

I know the cacti I have are not native to Australia but the small native birds (Willy Wagtails, Superb Fairy Wrens, Yellow Thornbills, Rufous Songlark, etc) all sit on them. Introduced species don't.  This just makes me think that using cacti that I know is sharp and extremely prickly may be a solution for my problem, at least in my garden anyway. Getting them to grow amongst native plants in rich organic soil will be the hard part. How hard is it really to make a small habitat? The small native birds have already been checking out the climber on my fence for habitat worthiness. I'm sure that that's what they (Yellow Thornbills and Superb Fairy Wrens) were doing as they weren't eating the nectar of the bottlebrush flowers at the time. If I hung up cacti on the fence as well, I'm sure something would move into the honeysuckle. I'm already training the honeysuckle vine to make a sort of natural basket/hollow shape near the top, to form a foundation for a potential nest site. Something small birds can work with to make a nest for themselves. I'll surround the area with cacti so cats, owls and other birds of prey can't get in. It also has to be Torresian Crow proof.

Don't worry, Jason. Nature has a way of f***ing people up who destroy nature needlessly. That tree may not have fallen on the guy's head but something will happen to him at some time. Perhaps he may get struck by lightning or drown in an accident or die in a car accident where he struck a tree (the tree always wins you know!). Nature is a force not to be reckoned with. The gum tree will regrow. That you can guarantee even if termites got to it first. The tree will adapt. Believe it!

I've found that we humans can have a very positive effect on nature if we want to, just by thinking about things. Ever since I started revegetating the creek and thinking about the area becoming green and alive with trees and other sort of plants, the nearby gum trees started self germinating it's seeds and revegetation began to happen. 

I'm not even sure if it me doing this or not but years before I started planting tree seedlings no revegetation was occuring, except with non-gum trees in the Tenterfield creek itself. Not even the Persian Silk Tree was producing seedlings. Something happened with nature, and as I can tell, the weather conditions didn't change all that much. Natural revegetation does happen each year and gum trees do "fill a gap with their seedlings" when available. But if that were true, and throw in cattle/sheep/horse grazing/people mowing as the prevention for revegetation from happening, and you'll notice something odd. Revegetation should occur yearly where no livestock/mowing occurs despite the weather conditions. That is not the case here at all. Revegetation can and does occur even with cattle grazing in the paddocks. It may be minimal but it does happen. There seems to be another force at play here that seems to prevent natural revegetation from happening - and I believe that as stupid as it sounds - it's human's intentions (our thoughts/desires) for the environment.

As an example, I once thought about growing all kinds of different plants in my garden to make the birds visit and eat from it. At the same time I thought that idea was awesome because then the birds could contribute to my garden by dispersing other plant species seeds in their poop. Well, that has begun to happen already. Just this week I had to pull out 2 Persian Silk Tree seedlings as they are not natives and have invasive roots. The other 2 trees (pear trees perhaps - I haven't ID'ed the trees yet) I've left growing. They were probably all donated by Eastern Rosellas. And Eastern Rosellas are very rare visitors to my garden, yet they live right across the road from me. Go figure!

On a good note my Native Frangipani trees have daily visits from a Rufous Songlark (I think that's what it's called - the whippersnipper mimicker, or the Willy Wagtail look alike). It was spotted sitting on top of the 3 foot tree (the tallest one of the three trees) catching bugs, then going for a drink in the puddle then resting on the fence before repeating the process. The bird species visiting my garden has increased to almost 20 species, in just 12 months. This includes one owl species. It does not include introduced species. But keeping the birds coming back will be hard in winter unless I can get plants that flower from autumn to spring. I am also trying to get native grasses to grow in the garden. 

But as I've said before on this site growing indigenious plants is hard because they're hard to obtain in the first place. How the heck does nature do this, to make habitats for wildlife? It looks easy enough but it's not as it all has to be balanced. 

I'm at Tenterfield, NSW. (Formerly known as "Hyperbirds".)

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