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Four things to watch for in the Park this summer

Published: 5 December 2018 at 12:00 am

Now that the warm days and long daylight-hours are here, it’s the perfect time to get into the Park as much as possible. Here’s four things to keep an eye out for in the Park this season.

Eastern water dragons abound

You’ll be seeing more of these much-loved Park reptiles through the summer. They are hard to miss! They grow to around 90cm in length, much of which is taken up by their very long tails.

The water dragons like to sun on tree limbs or around waterways. If disturbed, they’ll try to make for the water and swim to the bottom to wait for the threat to pass. They can stay underwater for up to 30 minutes if necessary – quite impressive! Be alert next time you are walking along the river; you might spot one.

Eastern Water DragonWSP213.01.11

Eastern water dragon

Breeding season for the grey-headed flying-fox

There’s a lot going on now right in the resident Parramatta Park bat colony. The population has swollen with the addition of new pups born in spring. And it’s loud now too! When roosting or feeding, flying-foxes “squabble” loudly. This mixture of screeches and cackles is how they communicate; establishing territory, warding off rivals, stay in touch with family or warning others of possible threats.

While they are still young, the pups are left at the camp during the night until January or February, when they will start foraging with their mother. They wean around March, allowing parents to gather in large roosts to mate again.

FF with baby BG

A mother flying-fox with pup

Early morning bird watching

Take advantage of summer’s early sunrises to go birdwatching in the Park. In addition to the cute baby plovers, you will cross paths with white cockatoos, lorikeets and crested pigeons. But if you’re lucky – and a little bit patient – you might spot the eastern rosella, spotted pardalote or golden whistler, our rarer species.

Set your alarm, grab your binoculars and get exploring! Oh, and share your photos with us – we’d love to see what you find.

Western Sydney Birds

Rare birds – golden whistler (left) and spotted pardalote (right) 

Weeds or natives?

Part of the challenge of bushland management is being able to distinguish native plants from weeds. Over the summer season, you’ll see the native sigesbeckia and plectranthus growing all over the Park grounds. People often mistake these for weeds. Sigesbeckia is often mistaken for bidens, or “cobblers pegs”, a weed that sticks hundreds of seeds to your clothes.

You might see cayratia clematidea, or “slender grape”, on the side of the Park walkways. It’s a common Australian vine that attracts butterflies, usually found on the edge of rainforests.

We kindly ask visitors not to remove plants from the soil, even if you think it’s a weed. Instead, take a photo and send it to us. We’ll check with our expert bushland team to make sure it’s not one of the native plants we’re trying to support.

Native Plants side by side

Sigesbeckia and plectranthus (left), and cayratia clematidea (right)

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