Dubbo

The biodiversity report for the Dubbo Campus noted that the site was highly disturbed given its original life as a working farm, beginning in the 1820s.

While the campus is located on the fringes of an urbanised area, the report notes that there are significant areas of native grasslands and planted woodlots to the west of the campus. In addition, there is potential for a significant wildlife/biodiversity corridor in an ephemeral drainage line, which runs from the eastern side of the campus across to the planted woodlots and native grasslands on the western side of the campus.

The below gallery show cases native fauna species identified on this campus through biodiversity monitoring activities.

Charles Sturt University extends our sincere gratitude to the following talented and very generous photographers for granting permission to publish their amazing images.

Thank you to: Simon B Cotterell, Ian Montgomery birdway.com.au, Jennifer Horsnell, Geoff Burrows, Dr Joanne Connolly, Tim Bergen, Alexandra Knight, David Hunter, Mark Stephenson, Cilla Kinross, Ian Kerr, Roger France and Ken Monson.

Wildflower images are sourced from canberra.naturemapr.org

Flagship species: Little Lorikeet

Conservation status: Vulnerable TSC Act NSW

The Little Lorikeet, Glossopsitta pusilla is a small (16-19 cm; 40 g) bright green parrot, with a red face surrounding its black bill and extending to the eye. The undertail is olive-yellow with a partly concealed red base, and the underwing coverts are bright green. The call in flight is a shrill and rolling screech: ‘zit-zit’ or ‘zzet’. Although difficult to observe while foraging high in treetops, a flock’s constantly chattering contact calls give it away. Flight is fast, direct and through or above the canopy. They are nomadic nectar feeders regularly recorded in the Dubbo region.  They are regularly sighted at Charles Sturt University Dubbo when the eucalypts are in flower.

Habitat requirements – home and food

  • Like other lorikeets, this species forages mostly on flowers, specialising in those growing at the tops of tall eucalypts and paperbarks.
  • They feed with other lorikeets, forming noisy mixed-species flocks.
  • They forage in the canopy of open Eucalyptus forest and woodland, yet also find food in Angophora, Melaleuca and other tree species.
  • Isolated flowering trees in open country, e.g. paddocks, roadside remnants and urban trees, also help sustain viable populations.
  • Feeds mostly on nectar and pollen, occasionally on native fruits such as mistletoe, and only rarely in orchards
  • Gregarious, travelling and feeding in small flocks (<10), though often with other lorikeets. Flocks numbering hundreds are still occasionally observed and may have been the norm in past centuries.
  • Roosts in treetops, often distant from feeding areas.
  • Nests in proximity to feeding areas if possible, most typically selecting hollows in the limb or trunk of smooth-barked Eucalypts. Entrance is small (3 cm) and usually high above the ground (2–15 m). These nest sites are often used repeatedly for decades, suggesting that preferred sites are limited. Riparian trees often chosen, including species like Allocasuarina.
  • Nesting season extends from May to September. In years when flowering is prolific, Little Lorikeet pairs can breed twice, producing 3-4 young per attempt.

Key threats

  • Given that large old Eucalyptus trees on fertile soils produce more nectar, the extensive clearing of woodlands for agriculture has significantly decreased food for the lorikeet, thus reducing survival and reproduction. Small scale clearing, such as during roadworks and fence construction, continues to destroy habitat and it will be decades before revegetated areas supply adequate forage sites.
  • The loss of old hollow bearing trees has reduced nest sites, and increased competition with other native and exotic species that need large hollows with small entrances to avoid predation. Felling of hollow trees for firewood collection or other human demands increases this competition.
  • Competition with the introduced Honeybee for both nectar and hollows exacerbates these resource limitations.
  • Infestation of habitat by invasive weeds.
  • Inappropriate fire regimes.
  • Aggressive exclusion from forest and woodland habitat by over abundant Noisy Miners.
  • Climate change impacts including reduction in resources due to drought.
  • Degradation of woodland habitat and vegetation structure due to overgrazing.

What Charles Sturt University is doing

The biodiversity report for the Dubbo Campus notes that the site was highly disturbed given its original life as a working farm, beginning in the 1820’s.  While the campus is located on the fringes of an urbanised area, the biodiversity zone has significant areas of native grasslands and there are planted woodlots to the west of the campus. In addition, there is potential for a significant wildlife/biodiversity corridor also an ephemeral drainage line, which runs from the eastern side of the campus across to the planted woodlots and native grasslands on the western side of the campus.

The one area totalling 8.6 hectares at Charles Sturt University Dubbo has been identified and mapped as an area of high conservation value.  These Biodiversity Zones were formally ratified by the University in April 2017.

Charles Sturt University aims to undertake activities that:

  • increase the connectivity of vegetation corridors across the campus;
  • rehabilitate highly disturbed sites
  • encourages partnerships with staff, students and external community groups including the Dubbo Field Naturalist and Conservation Society and the Dubbo Regional Council; and
  • noxious weed control.

How you can help:

Participate in activities enhancing the biodiversity zones including:

  • participate in tree planting days on campus;
  • participate in flora and fauna monitoring activities;
  • keep pet cats inside at all times, especially at night;
  • pick up litter around campus;
  • be aware of the important habitat role of hollow trees;
  • observe native animals on campus and report to the Campus Environment Committee anything that stands out; and
  • observe speed limits and watch out for native animals when driving around campus, especially early in the morning and at dusk.