July 3 - 9, 2011: Issue 13 

Marita Macrae has studied Horticulture and Bush Regeneration at Ryde Tafe and has been active in volunteer and professional Bush Regeneration since 1990, mostly in Pittwater.

In 1994 Marita was co-founder of the Pittwater Natural Heritage Association, an excellent local organisation that arranges weed eradication days in local Reserves as well as conducting Educational days. A former teacher and journalist, Marita supports environmental organisations the Australian Conservation Foundation, Birds Australia, Australian Bush Heritage Fund, the National Parks Association as well as serving as a Director at the Pittwater Environmental Foundation. (Photo by Michael Mannington, 2011)

Marita has recieved several awards in recognition of her hard work and dedication to our Environment including the Pittwater Bushcare Award in 2000 and became the Pittwater Australia Day Citizen of the Year in 200, the same year she was awarded a OAM.

Last week we featured some of the great videos the Pittwater Eco Warriors, featuring Marita, have made to show you how to eradicate weeds.

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 Breakfast with the Birds Warriewood Wetland

June 26, 2011
By Marita Macrae

Scarlet Honeyeater, Copyright by Nevil Lazarus, 2004.

Photographed at Warriewood in June 2004.

Breakfast with the Birds is an activity offered by Pittwater Natural Heritage Association a couple of times a year to introduce people to the wonders of the Warriewood Wetlands and its birds. About 170 species have been recorded in this area, including Irrawong Reserve upstream on Mullet Creek and the settlement ponds constructed just north of the wetlands to catch the runoff from the Shearwater housing estate.  

On a still and sunny winter morning we started from Katoa Close on a two-hour  birdwatching (and bird-listening) stroll.

From early April to about the end of July, Swamp Mahoganies (Eucalyptus robusta) are in flower, their nectar and insects attracting lots of different honeyeaters. The Scarlet Honeyeater is one of the most spectacular, the male a tiny brilliant red bird with a long probing beak, the female tinged with red but mainly brown. After hearing their tinkling calls high in the foliage we were lucky to finally have wonderful views of these charming birds, for once unusually low in the trees.
What else did we see? On the settlement pond were Hardhead Ducks, brown, the male with a white eye, diving deep,  unusual visitors to the settlement ponds. A winter visitor is the Silvereye from Tasmania, escaping a harsher winter, recognisable by its tawny sides. Yellow-faced, White-plumed and White-cheeked Honeyeaters were active in the flowers.  Grey Teal, Purple Swamp Hens and Dusky Moorhens were enjoying the settlement ponds.

In the dense undergrowth chasing insects were Superb Wrens, Whipbirds, Whitebrowed  Scrubwrens and Grey Fantails. A Golden Whistler hunted above them in the higher branches.

We finished with tea, coffee and goodies – and a chat.

Beginners and experienced birdwatchers are welcome to join our bird strolls. Our next Breakfast with the Birds will be on Sunday October 24th. Email pnhainfo@gmail.com or phone 0439 409 202 if you would like to book.
Our Introductory Field Guide to the Birds of Warriewood Wetland and Irrawong Reserve will give you a good start on birdwatching here, $20, available from PNHA.  All proceeds go to conservation work in the wetlands.

Copyright Marita Macrae, 2011.

All Rights Reserved.