The Most Productive Non-Native Habitats in Aus

To: 'Martin Butterfield' <>, 'Sonja Ross' <>
Subject: The Most Productive Non-Native Habitats in Aus
From: Stephen Ambrose <>
Date: Fri, 7 Aug 2015 22:07:02 +0000
Australian golf courses can be quite important as habitat for native
species, especially in towns and cities. Vegetated areas along fairways and
boundary areas of golf courses are often links within larger wildlife
corridors, as well as providing important foraging, roosting, nesting and
refuge habitat.  A lot of mature trees along fairways often have hollows
that are suitable for nesting, roosting or denning, presumably as a result
of them being subject to increased weathering from tunnelled winds and
physiological stress to the trees from fertiliser, herbicide and excessive
water runoff.  While these hollows may suit the larger, more aggressive
hollow-using native species in our suburbs (e.g. Sulphur-crested Cockatoos,
Galahs, Rainbow Lorikeets, Laughing Kookaburras, Brush-tailed Possums), as
well as exotic species (e.g. Common Mynas and Common Starlings), they are
also used by other vertebrates such as microbats, reptiles and amphibians.

Last year, a flock of at least 15 Swift Parrots were feeding on the nectar
of Blue Box (Eucalyptus baueriana) on Riverlands Golf Course and the
neighbouring Deepwater Reserve in Bankstown, western Sydney. These trees
were providing an important food source for Swift Parrots when flowering of
their preferred food tree species on the inland NSW slopes of the GDR was
poor. So in this case the golf course was an important drought refuge for
over-wintering Swifties.

There are a couple of golf courses in metropolitan Sydney which have
relatively large populations of the threatened Green and Golden Bell Frog
(Litoria aurea), despite the likely runoff of pesticides and excess
nutrients into wetland areas. If my memory is correct, I think the 2nd
largest known Green and Golden Bell Frog population in Sydney, second in
size to the population at Sydney Olympic Park, is in a wetland area of the
Kogarah Golf Course in Sydney's southern suburbs.

So while native biodiversity of golf courses may be less than in natural
bushland areas, they still play a very important ecological role, especially
in urban environments.

Stephen Ambrose
Ryde NSW

-----Original Message-----
From: Birding-Aus  On Behalf Of
Martin Butterfield
Sent: Thursday, 6 August 2015 2:05 PM
To: Sonja Ross
Cc: birding-aus NEW
Subject: The Most Productive Non-Native Habitats in Aus

I am not sure about Australian golf courses but where I lived in Ottawa in
1991 was next to a golf course with lots of trees which I thought would be
good for birds.  Unfortunately not.  From December to April it was covered
with snow (great for skiing after work).  As my Canadian friends explained
once the snow melts the green keepers soak the place with insecticide to
protect the grass and no bugs = no food for birds so they go elsewhere.
WRT to cemeteries I suspect it depends on the attitude of the cemetery
managers.  The one at Gypsy Point (VIC) seems to be left unmown away from
the headstones and has a good collection of birds (and an excellent
collection of orchide in Spring).  By contrast the one at Mongarlowe (NSW)
often gets mown to bedrock (apparently because the adjacent RFS Unit feels
it looks bad for them to have vegetation nearby) and the one at Dalton
(NSW) gets lit up regularly by the RFS  because they think....(?).  Neither
of these are good birding or botanising spots when those policies are in

Martin Butterfield

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