In springtime Barren Grounds sports a vibrant cloak of wildflowers; tea tree, boronia, fuchsia, drumsticks, wattles and yellow pea flowers… The Reserve is a spectacular heathland plateau perched on the Illawarra Escarpment, surrounded by precipitous cliffs and woodlands, forests and rainforest. This heathland is one of four remaining on the NSW south coast. It provides a retreat for heathland plants and animals including many vulnerable species.
The Reserve was set up in 1956 to protect two threatened heathland birds, the Eastern Bristlebird and the Ground Parrot. Eastern Bristlebirds are medium-sized, long-tailed, brown and rufous birds. The entire Eastern Bristlebird population has decreased to around 2000 and Barren Grounds is one of the remaining strongholds. The elusive Ground Parrot is a slender parrot, grass-green with black and yellow markings and a prominent pale yellow wing bar.
160 species of bird have been counted in the Reserve including the Southern Emu-wren, the Striated Fieldwren and Superb Lyrebirds. The dense heath provides protection from predators for rare mammals including the smallest of the Kangaroo family - the Long-nosed Potoroo, Swamp Wallabies, Sugar Gliders and Tiger Quolls. Sightings during last week’s visit to the Reserve included several honeyeater species, White-browed Scrubwren and three Emu-wren.