Iberdrola Australia staff participate in biodiversity survey at Burrendong Arboretum
In 2020 Iberdrola Australia established a cross functional working group to focus on sustainability initiatives. Thirty staff members volunteered to become members of the group.
The first big project was to undertake a fauna and habitat study at an Arboretum near our Bodangora windfarm in New South Wales.
Six members of the group travelled to the Arboretum to participate in the survey which took place in mid-April 2021.
The Burrendong Arboretum is located 50 minutes drive south west of Bodangora, and is 167 hectares of land that was established in 1964 as a reserve for native trees. Since that time it has attracted many forms of native wildlife, including birds and bats.
Of particular interest is habitat for birds, as due to its location in the same area as Bodangora windfarm, but far enough away to provide physical distancing for birdlife, it is an ideal breeding habitat. One of the key features of a landscape for many local bird and bat species is hollow logs, as these provide ideal nesting and breeding habitat. The Iberdrola Australia staff assisted some ecologists from Habitech to count the available tree hollows in the Arboretum.
In addition to nesting habitat, the group was on the lookout for bird species, and in particular for any of the 10 species identified as being of special significance to the windfarm, either because they are rare or in some cases because of their significance to the local Wiradjuri people. The 10 species consist of six birds and four bats, namely: (1) Wedge-tailed Eagle; (2) Superb Parrot; (3) Australian King Parrot; (4) Brown Treecreeper; (5) Little Lorikeet; (6) Grey-crowned Babbler; (7) Southern Forest Bat; (8) Yellow-bellied Sheathtail-bat; (9) Gould's Wattled Bat; and (10) White-striped Freetail Bat.
The group found four of the six bird species and are awaiting specialist analysis of the sound data recorders to determine which bat species were present. Overall, 64 different bird species were identified.
Finally the group performed a night time survey looking for frogs. Some frog species were able to be visually identified, and some were determined to be present by their distinctive calls.
The final data from the trip are still being analysed, but we expect to identify some species with inefficient nesting habitat. Iberdrola Australia will then consider if artificial nesting boxes can be used to supplement the existing tree hollows to increase bird numbers.
The trip was a great chance to get out into nature, to meet with members of the local community, and to get to know colleagues outside the normal work setting.
The knowledge that the ecologists shared was fascinating, and gave team members a much greater appreciation of what to look for as we walk through nature in our daily lives.