Photo: Noisy Pitta at the Point courtesy Bruce McNoughton
Did you know that before the 1860s Lennox Point and Skennars Head were largely covered in coastal rainforest? Early settlers, first timber cutters then dairymen, denuded the slopes. Since the Residents’ Association first started plantings in the 1980s coastal rainforest has been slowly growing back over the headland.
The efforts of the Residents’ Association were followed by GeoLINK and Ballina Shire Council. Perhaps less well known is the contribution made by a group of our surfing pioneers in the 2000s.
These surfing elders cleared part of the 100 acres of weeds below Pat Morton Lookout and are responsible for the initial planting at the Shorty’s Stairs car park. Some of these salty dogs also helped establish the Lennox National Surfing Reserve and their vision for both land and sea is their legacy for future generations.
‘Plant trees, restore habitat and the animals will return.’
Who said that? One of those old surfing pioneers or a Landcare worker? Whichever the maturing rainforest now nurtures a growing abundance of wildlife. One of the colourful new arrivals is the noisy pitta.
‘When I see a noisy pitta I’ll know I’m successfully restoring my land to it’s pre-1860s state.’
That’s a quote from a local cane farmer who has regenerated rainforest that’s now once again home to many noisy pittas.
These vibrant ground-dwelling birds are rare around Lennox but they are gradually making a comeback. A couple of years ago a single pair was identified in the restored rainforest above Pat Morton Lookout. Now there are four pairs of these spectacular birds.
Their diet includes invertebrates, worms and snails and they use anvils, such as rocks, to break open any hard-shelled prey. Fruit is also on the menu so part of Landcare’s mission is to plant plenty of fruit-bearing rainforest trees which also attract wonga pigeons, fig birds and top-knot pigeons with their crowns of quiffed feathers.
Breeding season for the noisy pitta runs from July to February. They build dome-shaped nests of sticks and leaves between buttressed roots or next to logs and rocks and both parents rear the chicks.
They usually migrate between coast and ranges but it’s possible The Point pittas are permanent residents. So next time you’re up there, keep an eye out for these colourful ground-dwellers and please KEEP YOUR DOGS ON A LEAD. Noisy pittas, their eggs and chicks, are easy prey for roaming pets.
Landcare dates for August
(Times are 8:30am to 10:30am)
Wed 1st Seven Mile dunes – north of surf club
Wed 8th Boulder Beach – Coast Rd car park
Wed 15th Seven Mile dunes – opposite William St
Wed 22nd Boulder Beach – Coast Rd car park
Wed 29th Lake Ainsworth – SW corner
Further info: www.lennoxheadlandcare.org; email, firstname.lastname@example.org, phone Shaun on
0448 221 210 or find us on Facebook Lennox Head Landcare.