November 5 - 11, 2023: Issue 604


Mother Brushtail Killed On Barrenjoey Road: Baby Cried All Night - Powerful Owl Struck At same time at Careel Bay During Owlet Fledgling season 

An Urban Kangaroo

The same week local Sydney Wildlife rescuer and carer Helen Pearce ran in the October 2023 round of the Ringtail Posse, nominating the Brushtail Possum as her favourite local wildlife species, she was called out an hour before midnight to a mum brushtail possum that had been struck by a car at Avalon on the hill just up from the main traffic lights, with the driver not stopping and speeding on. 

This brushtail possum had a baby clinging to its back, which fortunately was not hit, but mum was killed. 

A person staying in the hostel witnessed the hit and run and immediately posted on the Facebook community group 'Avalon What's On' - calling for help and stayed with the bub, still clinging to mum, after moving them from the the road.

Naturally, the community was devastated. 

However, with the increasing illegal and deliberate destruction of local ecological communities in our bush reserves by vandals, unchecked through prosecutions by those in charge of and required to keep these places intact and safe for all residents, especially the wildlife that depend on these places to exist, combined with the loss of food trees in suburban streets and gardens, many cut down and ground out when they could have been kept as stumps for homes for wildlife and no replacement tree planted, as required, let alone one that's already 100 years old and flowering, wildlife are driven to cross roads to feed bubs, especially at this time of year, and all year round, to feed themselves. 

They've been crossing that valley or flat or going up that hill, as part of their historical range built into their DNA, long before a road with a speed limit that kills was put through their home.

It's worse over the Narrabeen bridge. Wildlife carers towards Dee Why, Brookvale, Balgowlah and Manly state those that have come into care are starving, they have barely got through this last Winter. 

People who continue to speed to and from Palm Beach at night on Fridays and Saturdays, and through the back streets across Pittwater, mean local Sydney Wildlife and WIRES rescuers and carers are facing this call out thousands of times each year, literally - usually several times a day during Spring and then again in late Summer and Autumn, when bubs leave their mums.

They attended at least, as there is evidence data is missing from the records*, 5431 rescues across this Local Government Area in the latest figures made available for the 2021/22 period.

And that's for those that may still be alive after being struck by a car, attacked by a cat or dog, made homeless by the felling of their tree and found to have rehomed themselves in an 'unsuitable environment' like your roof.

There are calls to mitigate this, and there are ways residents can contribute to making this happen - more on that in Issue 605 as a local organisation that started addressing this years ago shares the relaunch of addressing the problem - right here, right now.

An hour or so after Helen attended the call, with people still distressed and wondering where the baby was, Helen posted:

''I have the little bub in my care and I’m a licensed wildlife rescuer with Sydney Wildlife Rescue.
It’s extremely frightened at the moment so it’s in an enclosure with marsupial milk, Crittacare, a place to rest and a teddy to grip on to if it wants to.
Once it’s calmer, I’ll weigh it and give a thorough check over so it can be buddied with 2 others of a similar size I already have in care.
Thank u SO much Facundo for caring enough to stop….unlike the pr**k who hit and ran.
And THANK U admin for seeing this and posting so late.''

Early the next morning a member of the community group, still distraught, spoke about the obvious bonds between these mothers and bubs.
Helen understood, shared; 

''It’s very sad seeing it first hand and it never gets easier. This bub is a girl, named Rose by Dylan (her young son). The way she grabbed hold of her mum last night was heart-breaking. She cried numerous times last night.''

Helen explained later on Saturday November 4, in response to pleas for an update:

Helen Pearce: 
''As requested, here’s an update about Rose.
She spent last night in her own space, in a cage next to the current Brushtail joeys I have in care. They could hear and see each other, but Rose had space to process what was happening.

After I checked her out this morning, I put her in with the other 2. They’ve all spent the day sleeping, but knew the other was there.
I’ve just put their marsupial milk, Critta care and fresh native foliage in there and will keep an eye on what happens as they wake up.

They’ll re-establish a pecking order but will all move into the large possum box together within the few days and will bond. Then they’ll go out in my aviary to totally wild up and get ready for release in about 3 months.''

'Rose' - now an orphan. Photo: Helen.

And later that same morning Helen and Tom Borg McGee (Ringtail Posse Round 3, April 2023), along with other members of the community, were out searching around Careel Bay and the ridgeline between that and Whale Beach for a Powerful Owl that was reported struck by yet another car at the same time, 11pm on Friday night.

Yet again, this now northbound speeder, did not stop - but the car strike was witnessed, and a call for help put out and answered immediately - this time by Tom.

''Someone called Jess was kind enough to call WIRES and wait whilst it had managed to move up into a roadside tree, but unsure of any further details.'' Tom explained

''This was around the Careel bay fields/Barrenjoey road where the Dolphin crescent stairs-remnant mature native forest is. Please all look out for this owl, it will be injured and unable to hunt for itself and/or it's chicks.

The speeds driven, both legal and illegal in this area, are cruel to wildlife and hazardous to people. 

It is obvious why the owls were here hunting, many flying foxes in the figs at the 'dog park' and possums in the canopy of remnant forest. 

It would be an easy thing you would think for the speeds from nth Av. shops, to the Palm beach bends should be reduced... So much wildlife has been killed and so many people cross at these sections.''

Of course, the Powerful Owl Project is aware of this pair and nest - it was one of the few pairs left up our way that have not had their nest tree destroyed, with chicks in it, or been killed by vehicles.

Decades ago, 1983, as a teenager I witnessed another Powerful Owl that had been struck in this exact same spot - in the middle of the north bound lane - and one then another car going over it. Neither stopped. These are big birds - there's no way they didn't see it.

After the second one it flapped a wing, was trying to get up. I was able to go and cover it with my jacket and carry it to Ray, then the vet at North Avalon.

A year later, in the exact same spot, a girlfriend was driving behind a vehicle that struck a Brushtail Possum, and sped on. I asked her to stop, wrapped this one up too and we took it to Ray, just 200 metres down the road.

The Powerful Owl, tragically, didn't make it; and this was, again, during the time of year when they are breeding and feeding young - but 60 seconds after Ray took the Brushie out the back I could hear it erupting when placed in a cage prior to examination. Ray grinned; ''That one will probably be ok.''

After losing billions of animals in the 2019/2020 fires, and seeing wildlife species turning up where they haven't been seen before, even here, starving, and the daily multiple road deaths, residents are asking; 'what can I do to help?'.

What can I do to Help?: the short list

Residents can help by becoming a wildlife carer; even if you cannot rescue and care for wildlife in your home you can help source food, volunteer for a shift on the 24/7 lines kept going by Sydney Wildlife Rescue and WIRES volunteers or other activities they need a hand with.

Details for Sydney Wildlife: - next course starts Online Saturday 3rd to Thursday 22nd of February 2024, sign up here
Details for WIRES: - The WIRES Rescue 101 program is the fastest, easiest way for you to get started assisting with the rescue and transport of the most common sick and injured native animals. The WIRES Rescue and Immediate Care Course (RICC) is the essential foundation course that must be completed by everyone wanting to start rescuing and caring for wildlife. Completing the RICC enables you to join your local branch and begin rescuing a range of sick, injured and orphaned native animals, as well as begin providing some immediate care.

Sydney Wildlife Rescue stats for this year are: 3623 Rescues, 556 Releases, 1410 In Care across their 500+ volunteers. WIRES state they get over 100,000 calls for wildlife rescue advice and assistance made annually to the Rescue Office, resulting in hundreds of animals in need every day across NSW.

You can make a donation, this helps buy food and medicines for sick animals, supports running costs, and helps run training courses. These organisations are not-for-profit and rely on community support to do their work all day and night all year long. They are both tax deductible organisations re; donations. 

You can join your local bushcare group and help restore habitat in local reserves in the bush and along the dunes. There are numerous local groups that have toiled for decades to restore habitat and more hands are always needed - again, you don't have to do a full 4 hour shift, one or two hours is more than welcome. The full list of Pittwater Bush Care groups runs below.

You can do the right thing if you find a possum has made your roof a home because its home tree has been destroyed - see below.

You can stand up and speak out when you see local public reserves being deliberately destroyed, demand the council start prosecuting those responsible instead of 'working with' them to 'formalise' and further the illegal and indefensible - after all, that's a process that was commenced under Warringah Council over a decade ago - should that be imposed on and rolled out through Pittwater? A big fat fine and ensuring those responsible pay for restoration works and rare plants is more likely to stop them in their tracks - and inspire finding a win-win solution for all. 

If you are being stood over and intimidated, assaulted either verbally or physically, or even threatened with the now common 'I know where you live' for standing up for and guarding these places, as has been reported more than a few times to this news service in recent years, and even last Sunday, October 29, call the police for assistance, expect them to turn up urgently, to take it seriously, to take a formal statement and prosecute. Make sure they Issue you with an Incident Number - if they take hours to turn up, leaving you isolated and the target of more abuse or attacks, won't take a statement or don't give you an Incident Number there and then, lodge a formal complaint with the NSW Law Enforcement Conduct Commission (LECC)

It should be taken into account that the NSW Police Force is currently facing shortages of personnel. See this Issue's report: NSW Police Trainees Will Be Paid To Become Officers: State Government Moves To Address Frontline Services Shortfall

However, in August 2020 a report run shows a wallaby startled by one mountain bike rider being run over by the second one on a trail at Ingleside. The video posted August 5th 2020 on a website called ‘Trail Forks’ with a webpage dedicated to ‘Deep Creek’ and titled ‘Submission to Friday Fails’ shows the mountain bike rider colliding with a wallaby that had been sitting quietly in the sun. The rider was dislodged, and obviously recovered – no account of what happened to the wallaby or whether help was sought for what would certainly be injuries and shock was posted.

Screenshot of 'Submission for Friday Fails' - Trailforks- wallaby about to be run over circled

Cumulative impacts on ecosystems are occurring due to the sheer scale of mountain bike trails. One trail construction can be hundreds of kilometres long. These continue to be built throughout Australia, often in extremely ‘ecologically sensitive’ areas such as steep gullies, that play a vital role as ‘refugia’ for plants and animals and fire protection, and, as can be seen in this video, are extending road deaths of wildlife into the very homes of these animals. 

Some examples of the detrimental impacts from mountain biking and trail construction are:
  • Edge Effects can affect species when trail construction causes changes in the vegetation structure at the edges of their habitat. Edge effects also encourage weeds and can spread serious environmental threats such as Phytophthora, 'dieback' (Phytophthora cinnamomi), which can cause permanent damage to ecosystems and landscapes
  • Disturbance from machinery and tools used during construction, maintenance and biking on trails (use) can detrimentally affect threatened species such as Powerful Owls, Wedge-tailed eagles and Koalas as well as small mammals, reptiles and invertebrates that would be less able to avoid the rapid approach of mountain bikers
  • Habitat loss and fragmentation can lead to ‘niche reductions’ for plant and animal species. They lose their ‘homes’ and thus, ecosystems decline
The proliferation of illegal tracks during the recent years of Covid lockdowns is well documented, as is the injuries and hospitalisations of youngsters as a result. A great sport and way to get a mental health boost when needed then, and now, and a wonderful way to connect with others and the environment, there has been ongoing unchecked damage done to public parks, bush reserves, compounded by bullying behaviours, assaults and ongoing intimidation of others who challenge the destruction.

A resident academic, fed up with the failure to address the issue, has launched a survey this week to collect data on what has happened and is happening here and across the state. The data will inform a future report. This will run for 12 months. This survey aims to document mountain bike related incidents on public land, available at:

Above: Crescent reserve Newport, destroyed during Covid lockdowns. The bush carers who restored this spot over decades and  challenged this allege the parents of the young boys who destroyed this reserve then threatened them, with tools and that they would 'kill them - knew where they lived'. They further allege on finding the teenagers in the bush doing the same on August 29th at 1.15pm the bush care volunteers called the council rangers. While waiting the teenagers informed the volunteers that ‘they were doing nothing wrong’ and ‘council didn’t mind’. One lad even claimed his dad ‘owned the council’. Their comments escalated and became threatening, causing the volunteers to call the police who state they stayed until about 4.00pm without a ranger or a police person showing up. 

You can make a submission about the Lizard Rock/Patyegarang proposal to kill off acres and acres of habitat and wildlife, and which will definitely impact on Narrabeen, as the Mona Vale Road East project has on Bayview, Pittwater's estuary, and all the creeks from Warriewood to Narrabeen Lagoon.

You can speak up and make a submission about the forthcoming proposal to widen Wakehurst Parkway to four lanes to facilitate that proposal - the Wakehurst Parkway, along with Mona Vale road, are the major wildlife killing corridors here. That new Parkway proposal, at the outset, is $75+ million dollars of your tax dollars being spent to destroy greenfield for the benefit of developers. That too will increase road deaths of wildlife unless you state fauna rope bridges and underpasses should be built into the design. Friends of Narrabeen Lagoon Catchment and the Elanora Heights Residents Association tabled some great ideas in 2021 and 2022 when this was first announced about how this may be done so it doesn't destroy Narrabeen's environment and wildlife.

You can speak up next year when the Federal Government tables its own Australian Nature Law Reforms in 2024.

BirdLife Australia updated members on November 1 2023 about a meeting with the Albanese government and have joined other leading environment groups calling on the Minister for the Environment to run a broader public consultation before introducing these critical reforms to parliament next year.

BirdLife Australia advises some of of their and others' key priorities are included in the proposals, including: 
  • Formal recovery strategies for every nationally threatened bird and species. 
  • National environmental standards to support more rigorous and consistent decision making. 
  • An independent national Environmental Protection Agency (to be called Environment Protection Australia) that would sit at arm’s length from the Government of the day and would be responsible for making decisions on project proposals that could harm threatened birds and important natural areas. 
  • The development of a more robust system for the management and use of environmental data by a statutory office, Environment Information Australia. 
But there are areas that will require more work, BirdLife states, including:  
  • Boosting people’s confidence in the new laws. To improve public trust in the new laws and the institutions that will be responsible for delivering them the Government should provide the public with an opportunity to review and have its say. 
  • The Minister of the day will retain a broad general ‘call in’ power that will allow them to make a decision on individual proposals that are deemed to warrant ministerial intervention. What is proposed in this new package is weaker than the settings under current laws.  
  • The new laws envisage a system of “restoration actions’ – offsets – and “restoration contributions” to compensate for “residual” environmental impacts.  This mechanism will need to be carefully designed, implemented and monitored to ensure that it supports real improvements for wildlife and their habitat, and doesn’t facilitate destruction. 
Currently local fauna species are rated as worth next to nothing in NSW under 'offsets' and that can be called out by you as well. 

For example, regarding the offset requirements for Lizard Rock/Patyegarang, these can be bought for less than $9M dollars which is around 1% of the proposed 850M+ dollar development proposal. The following is from page 60 of the Appendix 7. Social Impact Assessment document on the NSW Department of Planning proposal website:

"It is noted that the off-set requirement could be met by total payment of $8,850,139.39 into the Biodiversity Conservation Fund in accordance with the NSW Biodiversity Offsets Scheme."

You can stand up and support those in south-western Sydney who are trying to save Sydney's last koalas - we used to have koalas, and we lost them through dog attacks, destruction of habitat and their food trees thereby, and the putting up of fences and roads in their pathways across the land through the seasons.

Here again 'offsets' are a license to kill. Did you know that one koala offset is currently worth $399? If a developer wants to kill koala habitat, and the koala thereby through a slow starvation, then the number of offsets is determined, money paid and away they go. This is already happening; those rescuing koalas from suburban southwest Sydney streets, as developers have been allowed to clear their lots and put up exclusion fences, find them exhausted from becoming lost on their former home range and starving, because there's nothing left for them to eat. 

And does it matter that the koala in NSW is now listed as Endangered at State and Federal level? 
Not at all; hand over your 400 bucks, kill a koala food tree, kill koalas.

In New South Wales' Biodiversity Offset Scheme, "species credits" can be bought to offset damage to their habitat.(Supplied)

If you speak up by penning a submission during consultations - like those in southwest Sydney who ran as Ringtail Posse 8, including one of our own - reiterate the environment must now come before the profiteers, the 'offset' for one koala may go up to five trillion billion gazillion dollars; which is what many state they're each worth. 'Add in that someone other than those hired by the proponents should get to count how many koalas there are', it has been pointed out.

Under the previous state government environmental considerations answered to planning. The new state government is already shifting that ground; encourage them to persist by calling it out for what many state it is; an offset extinction plan; 'require the opposite' is what is stated to those who ask 'what can I do?'. If you smell a whiff of the opposite being progressed anyway, you could do as others have done lately, and since the 1960's, stand before bulldozers, chain yourself to their trees.

Finally, you can talk to all those living around you who want the daily deaths on Pittwater roads to stop, approach Transport for NSW as a group or individually, ask them to install fauna rope bridges across the places where it is well known, has been for decades now, our other 'residents' are being killed. TfNSW requires data and maps for this - more on the group who are relaunching the ways to mitigate wildlife road deaths, which also sprang from right here, next Issue - and one extra simple and easy thing for those asking 'what can I do?' to get that through.

A photo of what they look like runs below. These were installed after, not before, as requested, too much wildlife was killed during the build of the hospital up the Parkway no one can reach after a thimbleful of rain floods it due to the erosion and weed spread being caused by those illegally destroying the public council reserve and national park above it, residents allege. 

The people who stood up and spoke up for these to be installed were all from that local wildlife road deaths prevention organisation along with wildlife rescuers and others. They even got creative with it; stood where the critters had been killed dressed as them, waving signs. They never shut up, never backed down, never let themselves be bullied into silence.

Below are details of the latest Wakehurst Parkway consult from TfNSW, which commences tomorrow.

Transport for NSW (Transport) proposes to carry out road improvements along Wakehurst Parkway between Frenchs Forest Road, Frenchs Forest and Pittwater Road, North Narrabeen.

These include intersection upgrades and focus on improving safety and capacity for this key road link in Sydney’s northern beaches. 
A Review of Environmental Factors (REF) including Biodiversity Development Assessment Report (BDAR) has been prepared for the proposal. These documents outline the proposed work, potential construction and environmental impacts and mitigation measures. 

The documents will be available for viewing on the project webpage from Monday 6 November. 
Formal submissions about the proposal are welcomed by emailing . 
The REF is on public display until 5pm Wednesday 20 December

The Wakehurst Parkway project team will be at Oxford Falls Main Hall at Oxford Falls Peace Park on Thursday 16 November from 3pm to 6pm, and at Bilarong Community Hall on Saturday 18 November from 10am to 2pm.

fauna rope bridge for possums and other wildlife can be seen at top of photo

Possums In Your Roof?: Do The Right Thing

Possums in your roof? Please do the right thing 
On the weekend, one of our volunteers noticed a driver pull up, get out of their vehicle, open the boot, remove a trap and attempt to dump a possum on a bush track. Fortunately, our member intervened and saved the beautiful female brushtail and the baby in her pouch from certain death. 

It is illegal to relocate a trapped possum more than 150 metres from the point of capture and substantial penalties apply.  Urbanised possums are highly territorial and do not fare well in unfamiliar bushland. In fact, they may starve to death or be taken by predators.

While Sydney Wildlife Rescue does not provide a service to remove possums from your roof, we do offer this advice:

✅ Call us on (02) 9413 4300 and we will refer you to a reliable and trusted licenced contractor in the Sydney metropolitan area. For a small fee they will remove the possum, seal the entry to your roof and provide a suitable home for the possum - a box for a brushtail or drey for a ringtail.
✅ Do-it-yourself by following this advice from the Department of Planning and Environment: 

❌ Do not under any circumstances relocate a possum more than 150 metres from the capture site.
Thank you for caring and doing the right thing.

Sydney Wildlife photos

Aviaries + Possum Release Sites Needed

Pittwater Online News has interviewed Lynette Millett OAM (WIRES Northern Beaches Branch) needs more bird cages of all sizes for keeping the current huge amount of baby wildlife in care safe or 'homed' while they are healed/allowed to grow bigger to the point where they may be released back into their own home. 

If you have an aviary or large bird cage you are getting rid of or don't need anymore, please email via the link provided above. There is also a pressing need for release sites for brushtail possums - a species that is very territorial and where release into a site already lived in by one possum can result in serious problems and injury. 

If you have a decent backyard and can help out, Lyn and husband Dave can supply you with a simple drey for a nest and food for their first weeks of adjustment.

Photo: J J Harrison


Bushcare In Pittwater 

For further information or to confirm the meeting details for below groups, please contact Council's Bushcare Officer on 9970 1367 or visit Council's bushcare webpage to find out how you can get involved.

Where we work                      Which day                              What time 

Angophora Reserve             3rd Sunday                         8:30 - 11:30am 
Avalon Dunes                        1st Sunday                         8:30 - 11:30am 
Avalon Golf Course              2nd Wednesday                 3 - 5:30pm 
Careel Creek                         4th Saturday                      8:30 - 11:30am 
Toongari Reserve                 3rd Saturday                      9 - 12noon (8 - 11am in summer) 
Bangalley Headland            2nd Sunday                         9 to 12noon 

Winnererremy Bay                 4th Sunday                        9 to 12noon 

North Bilgola Beach              3rd Monday                        9 - 12noon 
Algona Reserve                     1st Saturday                       9 - 12noon 
Plateau Park                          1st Friday                            8:30 - 11:30am 

Church Point     
Browns Bay Reserve             1st Tuesday                        9 - 12noon 
McCarrs Creek Reserve       Contact Bushcare Officer     To be confirmed 

Old Wharf Reserve                 3rd Saturday                      8 - 11am 

Kundibah Reserve                   4th Sunday                       8:30 - 11:30am 

Mona Vale     
Mona Vale Beach Basin          1st Saturday                    8 - 11am 
Mona Vale Dunes                     2nd Saturday +3rd Thursday     8:30 - 11:30am 

Bungan Beach                          4th Sunday                      9 - 12noon 
Crescent Reserve                    3rd Sunday                      9 - 12noon 
North Newport Beach              4th Saturday                    8:30 - 11:30am 
Porter Reserve                          2nd Saturday                  8 - 11am 

North Narrabeen     
Irrawong Reserve                     2nd Saturday                   2 - 5pm 

Palm Beach     
North Palm Beach Dunes      3rd Saturday                    9 - 12noon 

Scotland Island     
Catherine Park                          2nd Sunday                     10 - 12:30pm 
Elizabeth Park                           1st Saturday                      9 - 12noon 
Pathilda Reserve                      3rd Saturday                      9 - 12noon 

Warriewood Wetlands             1st Sunday                         8:30 - 11:30am 

Whale Beach     
Norma Park                               1st Friday                            9 - 12noon 

Western Foreshores     
Coopers Point, Elvina Bay      2nd Sunday                        10 - 1pm 
Rocky Point, Elvina Bay           1st Monday                          9 - 12noon

Friends Of Narrabeen Lagoon Catchment Activities

Bush Regeneration - Narrabeen Lagoon Catchment  
This is a wonderful way to become connected to nature and contribute to the health of the environment.  Over the weeks and months you can see positive changes as you give native species a better chance to thrive.  Wildlife appreciate the improvement in their habitat.

Belrose area - Thursday mornings 
Belrose area - Weekend mornings by arrangement
Contact: Phone or text Conny Harris on 0432 643 295

Wheeler Creek - Wednesday mornings 9-11am
Contact: Phone or text Judith Bennett on 0402 974 105
Or email: Friends of Narrabeen Lagoon Catchment :

Community Gardens, Environment Groups And Organisations In Pittwater