Bring the Birds Back 

Bring the birds back to our streets. Whilst leading a walking tour of Middle Head bushland in Sydney Harbour National Park, a child asked me, “why don’t we see these little birds in our streets at home?” The children were marvelling at Silvereyes (Zosterops lateralis) and Variegated Fairywrens (Malurus lamberti) as they darted through the Heath Banksia (Banksia ericifolia). These children had never seen birds like this before and the reason we don’t see birds like these and others like them is simple. There is no habitat that offers them food or shelter in our streets. 

Silver EyeVariegated Fairywren

Rewilding Green Spaces

Improving habitat for bird life can be through biodiversity corridors. These do connect natural bushland and encourage an increase in diversity of plants and animals but are often complex projects that involve a multitude of bureaucracy. However, rewilding green spaces within your local community is an easier option. Whether it is in your own street across a few neighbouring balconies and gardens or maybe transforming an underutilised green space in the local park. You can plan and create a low-cost community garden where native plants, birds and people can interact.   

Mosman’s Native Garden

In Mosman, there’s a Discovery Garden of native plants that aims to encourage just that. The garden all started when a small group of community members came together and began to plan the transformation of an underutilised area of grass in Memory Park. Mosman Council gave the community initiative two green thumbs up and provided essential tools, mulch and native plants to get the native garden started. Some of the plant species found in the garden include: Large-leaf Bush Pea (Pultenaea daphnoides), Happy Wanderer (Hardenbergia violacea), Heath Banksia and even a Sydney Red Gum (Angophora costata). The diversity of native herbs, shrubs and trees selected for the Discovery Garden are found in the Sydney Harbour National Park. Perfect for providing essential habitat for a variety of rarely seen bird life.

Large-leaf Bush PeaHappy Wanderer

Create Your Own Native Garden

Although this garden is small, it will inevitably improve the connectivity between people of Mosman, bird life and the surrounding bushland. You too can create a low-cost native garden in your community just like this one and bring the birds back to your streets. All you need is inspiration.

For inspiration on how or learn more about Mosman’s Discovery Garden contact us here at EcoWalks Tours for more information.

Car-rang-gel | North Head

Fire in the Eastern Suburbs Banksia Scrub on Car-rand-gel | North Head

The Black Summer Bushfires in NSW caused significant loss of wildlife and burnt over 5.4 million hectares of habitat. within Sydney’s iconic North Head scrubland. However, this fire had devastating consequences.

Common Brush-tailed Possum – Trichosurus vulpecula -nocturnal, semi-arboreal marsupial of Australia.

Although this controlled burn by NSW National Parks was planned to reduce the risk of habitat loss from an unplanned fire, it achieved the exact opposite. It is estimated that more than 62 hectares of the endangered Eastern Suburb Banksia Scrub was destroyed when the fire jumped containment lines. Prior to this fire, the Australian Wildlife Conservancy had only just released numerous native Bush Rats, Brown Antechinus and Eastern Pygmy Possums in an effort to increase the animal populations that would have improved the biodiversity within this fragile ecosystem. Sadly, the Australian Wildlife Conservancy reported a large decline in the populations of these native animals after the fire.

Fires are an important part of rejuvenating many Australian habitats. Fires assist with transferring energy across and through different ecosystems and many of the native flora found in the Eastern Suburb Banksia Scrub rely on slow and cool burns to regenerate. Plants such as the genus Banksia are reliant on cool burns to open the follicles to then release the seeds after a fire has passed by. The B. serrata, B. ericifolia and the B. integrifolia are excellent examples of plants within this sensitive ecosystem that rely on fires to do exactly this. But the North Head fire was extremely hot and it has caused many Banksia seed pods to remain closed and we may have lost them for good.

 Banksia serrata Banksia ericifoliaBanksia integrifolia

There is a bright side to this fire though. The Orange Bracket Fungi (Pycnoporus coccineus) and other decomposers like it are flourishing and busy breaking down organic matter like this Banksia branch. Also, the Kangaroo Apple (Solanum aviculare) seedlings have laid dormant beneath the thick layers of scrub and were last seen here in 2018. But recently, due to the burning of the scrub the Kangaroo Apple has rejuvenated and can be easily spotted again. Similarly, the Native Sundew (Drosera binata) hasn’t been spotted for a number of years and since the recent fire, this precious little flower is now growing out of the ashes throughout the scrubland of North Head.

Orange Bracket FungiKangaroo AppleNative Sundew

Remember though, seedlings are very small and can be easily walked on. So, avoid walking in these areas while they are regenerating and if you must go, use designated footpaths and an accredited tour guide.

Ever Wondered What Plant is That?

Native flora of Sydney Harbour with EcoWalks Tours. 

What are some of the plants found in Sydney Harbour National ParkWe just love showing our visitors the unique flora on our walks. Lately it has been during our virtual tours but we are now super excited to be back hosting our face to face guided walking tours.

Here are some of our favourites that you’ll be able to spot on our walks.

Eggs and Bacon Pea

Eggs and Bacon (Dillynia retorta). This plant is a dense twiggy shrub with small needle-like leaves. The Eggs and Bacon Pea thrives in shrub lands on sandy soil. Although there are other yellow peas about, this one has yellow ear-like flowers bloom in clusters that have a scarlet centre.

Prickly Moses

The Prickly Moses (Acacia ulicifolia) is a wattle that grows in open forest, woodlands and heath on sandy soils with low fertility. Flowers are pale cream sphere-like heads on long stems beyond the reach of the prickly needle-like leaves that defies the touch. Watch a video about Prickly Moses here


This is the Correa reflexa which is a small shrub and is found in sheltered, wet sandstone gullies. Kids usually see it first as it’s only about 1 meter in height. The leaves are opposite, and may be heart-shaped with drooping flowers that vary in colour from red with yellow or green tips.

Have you seen the Correa reflexa before?

Happy Wanderer

The Happy Wanderer (Hardenbergia violacea) is a climbing vine with small bright purple flowers that are typically shaped like others of the pea family. With alternating leathery leaves that are dark green and oval shaped it is easily identifiable to others.

Nielsen Park She-oak

The Nielsen Park She-oak (Allocasuarina portuensis) and it was only discovered by botanists in 1986. That’s right, these sticky little plants are only found in Sydney Harbour’s and were just went unnoticed. With extensive efforts from NSW Parks personnel, scientists and conservationists alike, the Nielsen Park She-oak was saved from extinction. Although still listed as endangered, there is still hope for recovery. Now, there are six individuals at Middle Head thanks to the Rangers.

Red Five Corners

Red Five Corners (Styphelia tubiflora) has vibrant red flowers that have rolled back petals revealing their fluffy inside. In bloom between May to October and are just an absolute delight to see when walking our new wildlife meandering walking tour

Come see the Red Five Corners with us by booking a Wildlife Meanders Tour at Q Station.

Black Wattle

The Black Wattle (Callicoma serratifolia) is not a true wattle at all. A wonder full leafed large shrub to a medium size tree. These flowers are delightful puffy balls of cream colour that resemble some Acacia flowers. The leaves are bright green with serrated edges with a woody texture. Unmistakable the Black Wattle is and one of our favourites that’s for sure.

Pink Kunzea

The Pink Kunzea (Kunzea capitata) is a beautiful flower among the heath flora of North Headland, Car-rang-gal. Closely related to the genus Callistemon or bottlebrush. Just gorgeous!

Native Flora of Sydney Harbour and Conservation

Mosman Parks and Bushland Association (MPBA) are the guardians of Sydney Harbour’s bushland of Mosman. In particular, Kate Eccles OAM leads the wonderful volunteers of MPBA are currently working on removing invasive plant species found in Sydney Harbour National Park at Chowder Head, Mosman. The crew of EcoWalks Tours sure are looking forward to improving the local bushland at Middle Head and assist MPBA whenever we can. So, why not help where you can and join MPBA and improve the natural environment of Sydney Harbour. Visit MPBA here.

Ever Wondered What Native Flower is That?

As a lover of all things in nature big and small in Sydney Harbour National Park, I have developed a passion for sharing my love for all the native plants that are found on Middle Head.

Here are some of my favourite floral displays I love to show visitors on my tours. So I wonder if you too feel the same. Let’s find out.

Lilac Lily

The Lilac Lily (Schelhammera undulata) is a solitary flowering herb with pink to violet petals grow out from a stalk. This little beauty is found growing in moist sandy soil in shady places within the Sydney Harbour National Park. The Lilac Lily is in bloom July to September but you have to know where to look to find it.

Hops Bush

The Hops Bush (Dodonaea triquetra) has unusual green, 3 cornered membranous with rounded edges that resemble the fruit of the beer brewing hops species. It has slender but large leaves that are dark green with pointed tips and visible veins.

Coastal Rosemary

The Coastal Rosemary (Westringia fruticosa) is a dense along exposed coastal heat, it can withstand shrub with dark green narrow pointed leaves with margins the curve downwards to channel water droplets towards the base of the plant to be soaked up by the roots. Found in shallow soilsd strong winds. Noticeable by the irregular shaped white, pink or blue flowers at the top of a well-leafed stem.

Heathy Parrot Pea

The Heathy Parrot Pea our Eggs and Bacon (Dillynia retorta) is a endemic plant to Sydney Harbour National Park. It is a dense and spreading twiggy shrub that grows to a height of upto 2m it thrives in heath shrub land on sandy soil. Vibrant yellow ear-like flowers bloom in clusters during the months of July to November that have a scarlet centre.

Prickly Moses

The Prickly Moses (Acacia ulicifolia) is a wattle that grows in open forest, woodlands and heath on sandy soils with low fertility. Flowers are pale cream sphere-like heads on long stems beyond the reach of the prickly needle-like leaves that defies the touch.

Sunshine Wattle

Sunshine Wattle (Acacia terminalis) is endangered due to habit loss and competing invasive plant species. However, there are still individual plants still situated throughout the park and with ongoing conservation efforts from local community groups and such as Mosman High School Enviro Group in partnership with NSW Parks and Taronga Zoo, the number of individual plants are increasing. A unique wattle that is a the forefront of conservationist’s minds.

Sydney Golden Wattle

The Sydney Golden Wattle (Acacia longifolia) has yellow flowers resembling balls are grouped together along the stalk that gives a cylindrical appearance. The  long leathery leaves are not leaves, rather, phyllodes with longitudinal veins that run through them. Phyllodes do not have stomata or pores as true leaves do. This is so moisture is not lost through transpiration during dry conditions. 

Wallum Heath

The Wallum Heath (Philotheca buxifolia) is a native plant found throughout sandstone heath that has a sticky appearance with gorgeous white to deep pink flowers along its stem. A pleasant display of flowers among the heath landscape of Sydney Harbour National Park bushland.

Common Aotus

The Common Aotus (Aotus ericoides) is found all along the Eastern Suburbs Banksia Scrub (ESBS) landscapes within Sydney Harbour National Park. This flowering shrub loves shallow sandy soil usually along sandstone gullies with an abundance of sunlight.

Love Creeper

The Love Creeper (Glycine clandestina) is a climber with a very slim stalk that has 3 leaflets growing out from a short stalk. The flowers are petite with shades of purple to mauve that vary in shape and size. Similar to other pea flowers.

Happy Wanderer

The Happy Wanderer (Hardenbergia violacea) is a climbing vine with small bright purple flowers that are pea shaped with alternating leathery leaves that are dark green and oval shaped.

Flannel Flower

The Flannel Flower (Actinotus helanthi) is endemic to Sydney Harbour National Park and blooms between September to April. It gets its name from the woolly-like hairs and fluffy tuffs that appear all over the plant and the creamy white flower blooms on top.

Although I have selected these plant species to showcase to visitors, there are so many other unique and gorgeous flowering plants located in Sydney Harbour National Park.

For further information, I recommend Australian Plant Society NSW.

Sunshine Wattle

Acacia Terminalis Terminalis

What a pleasant walk it was guiding today’s tour group through the Sydney Harbour National Park from Athol Bay to Georges Head.

The Sunshine Wattle is a native plant that is considered to be endangered. Sightings of this wattle are rare and you are unlikely to find it in the Sydney Harbour National Park.

However, on our Georges Head Walk tour today we saw this Sunshine Wattle not far off the track. Although, it is believed to be endangered due to hybrid species populating the area, there are still opportunities to spot a true Sunshine Wattle.

Join our EcoWalks Tours for a scenic and educational experience whilst visiting the Sydney Harbour National Park.


Crimson Bottlebrush

The Crimson Bottlebrush is a vibrant flowering shrub the produces many spiked red flowers that appear cyclical along the stems. The Crimson Bottlebrush can be found in the Sydney Harbour Naitonal Park and is an absolute winner when it rains.

So, join EcoWalks Tours to search for the Crimson Bottlebrush.