On the last Wednesday day of every month at 8.00am during winter (7.00am starting August) the Wednesday Day Club spend and hour wondering through Fairhill Botanic Gardens enjoying the huge diversity of bird life that the gardens have attracted before retiring to have a cuppa, talk about their sightings and a chat. On most outings they identify over 60 different types of birds with the highest number being 85 seen and three heard, that’s a huge diversity in a 10 acre garden. They have listed over 150 species of birds over the past years.
There is a consensus among the Wednesday Day club members that the best bird watching any where is in the Fairhill Botanic Gardens which is pleasing in many ways but in a lot of ways it is very concerning as is indicates a lack of bird habitat else ware.
In 1974 Fairhill Botanic Gardens was a dairy farm, not one tree or shrub on the place. It has been interesting to watch the changes in the bird population as the gardens evolved. Before any of the trees and shrubs the bird life consisted of open field bird, the Butcherbirds, Magpies, Peewees and the odd Kookaburra.
As the quicker flowering garden beds started to provide shelter the Honeyeaters started to arrive followed by finches and wrens as more seed producing plants started to produce.
Evolving further, the rainforest gardens started to close in and rainforest birds such as Emerald Doves, Catbirds and Whipbirds took up residency.
During this stage the open field birds declined and the gardens went through a period when they disappeared altogether. But recently they have started to come back as the trees started to provide a habitat for them.
There are Noisy Miners on the list of sighted birds; they are occasionally seen in the open paddocks on either side but never in the gardens. This is because the Noisy Miner is an attack bird. It needs open lines of sight so that it can dominate all other birds. And because the gardens don’t provide that, the Noisy Miners don’t feel comfortable and stay away.
At the last gathering of the Wednesday Clubbers there was a discussion about the decline of bird life. The consensus is that there is a lack of corridors (one comment was “that a bird can no longer travel from Brisbane to the Sunshine Coast any more”) but also the lack of habitat in private gardens. Fairhill Botanic Gardens is a great example of how a bird friendly garden can be created. And it does not need to be 10 acres, there a some fantastic examples of small backyards providing great support for the bird population, we just need more of them.
The morning of the last Wednesday of the month is a really enjoyable time in the gardens and the members of the Wednesday Day Club invite all who has the time to join in. There are no membership fees, just role up to Fairhill Botanic Gardens and join in.
The next gathering is on Wednesday the 26 of June; look forward to seeing you then.