Planting project brings birds back

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Clyde has come a long way in the past 10 years as it works to boost native surroundings.
Members behind the Clyde Community and Enviroschools Ecological Restoration Group have marked a decade since it was launched, and are celebrating just how far it has come.
The group has focused its attention on an area of public land beside the Clyde Bridge and Mata-Au/Clutha River track.

The project, which has helped return birdsong to the area, has been supported by volunteers, including Clyde School staff and children.
Group volunteer Lynne Stewart said native birds including karearea, kotare, korimako, tui and riroriro were among those that had been seen and heard around the area recently.
She said the land had been ‘‘transformed’’ from a ‘‘dark, prickly and uninviting area‘‘, which was once just home to briar, blackberry, hawthorn, 29 large wilding pines and a single native tree.

Now it is an area of natural heritage, which a range of birds frequented.
‘‘It’s one decade since our first planting this year and local students and other volunteers have been weeding,’’ she said.
‘‘Natives planted 10 years ago are growing well and the latest wee trees can mostly be seen above the weeds.’’

She said before the group formed, Central Otago’s biodiversity had been lost in the area, including native plants and the ecosystems they supported.
‘‘But, here . . .natives are slowly ecologically restoring this area.’’

Ms Stewart has heard the birds, particularly riroriro, as she spread mulch, and has also seen karearea flying about.
‘‘It’s great our natives are flourishing here,’’ she said.
‘‘Every year it improves with kowhai, ti kouka/cabbage trees and harakeke/flax all providing food for our native birds, as well as habitat.
‘‘Kanuka and ribbonwood trees provide habitat too, they just need time to grow,’’ she said.
‘‘On behalf of our birds, I’d like to thank all who have been, or are going to be involved with weeding and planting here at our Project Gold plantings.’’

ALEXIA.JOHNSTON
@alliedpress.co.nz