Monday, December 6, 2010

Exotics good for birds?

Dear All,
Just to be an agent provocateur.... I am not convinced that Lantana
camara is all that bad, as compared to other exotics. Whilst it does
cover good swathes, it is providing a very secure breeding habitat for
a huge number of native birds, and migrants like it when passing
through. It may have been the saviour for our endemic Hinde's Babbler
which now has a very close association with it, having lost the native
habitat previously found in the area and this has allowed the bird to
hang on in extremely heavily gardened areas where it certainly would
have otherwise died out. At certain times of year the flowers attract
a very great assortment and huge numbers of butterflies, hawk-moths,
beetles and a host of other insects which precious few of the
indigines can compete with, the closest being the Vernonias.
Brown-backed Scrub-Robin is another bird that would have disappeared
from the degraded areas were it not for the cover of Lanana camara.
All Mexican Poppys and of course Eichhornia (Water Hyacinth) and the
likes... have to go.
best to all
Brian Finch