Wildlife in the gardens
Koalas are regularly sighted, mostly round the barbecue area and first parking area but also in big old gums at the far end of the Rainforest Walk at the western end of the Gardens. Wallabies are around, though shyer than the koalas, and there is an abundance of bird life. Stay still and quiet for a few minutes in virtually any part of the Gardens the birds will be heard and seen.
Though not strictly rainforest animals, koalas are animals of the forest edges and since we have cleared the Lantana and other weeds from the area their presence in the Eucalyptus forest and other parts of the Gardens has increased. They like it here and are very tolerant of us working beneath their trees. In fact we occasionally see them on the ground even when there are people around. A recent sighting of a mother and baby thrilled all of us. Koala habitat in the Northern Rivers area is decreasing as more clearing takes place for housing and farming. We are in regular contact with Friends of the Koala (FOK) who give us koala advice and deal with sick or injured animals. More Eucalpyts have been planted by Council in the phytocapping area immediately across the road from BBQ area.
The wallabies most regularly sighted in the Gardens are the Swamp Wallaby (Wallabia bicolor). They are quite shy but are usually around the site. Although beautiful, they can cause damage to young plants by eating the leaves and can also ring bark older trees by eating the bark. We put wire cages around vulnerable plants.
As the rainforest plants in the Gardens grow and mature they are creating an environment that is very attractive to birds. Added to that is the now disused settling pond adjacent to the Gardens which attracts large number of water birds including pelicans. The Brunswick Heads Bird Watching group periodically visits the site and sends us a listing of their sightings. Green Corps teams have added to that list and people working on site also report birds which have been sighted. Our most recent bird count totals over 100 different species
Fungi are very important in the environment to help break down organic matter into nutrients that plants can use. Some kinds of fungi, like bracket fungi, can be found at almost any time. However, fungi proliferate when there is extended wet weather (generally autumn) and an amazing variety can be seen if you look carefully. The little red caps of the fungus below are only about half a centimetre (1/4″) across. The water fungus in the next picture is large in comparison.