Update, 3pm: A brief statement has been received from Ballina Shire Council regarding the discovery of the nest.
‘The removal of the Fig Tree at Castle Drive, Lennox Head has been suspended after the discovery of a duck nest,’ it reads.
‘Despite previous examinations before the commencement of works, a nest has been uncovered deep within the tree.
‘Council is consulting with National Parks and Wildlife Service to determine the preferred way forward.
‘Arborists have confirmed the tree can remain in its current condition and is not a public safety risk while the investigation into managing the duck nest is completed,’ the statement concludes.
Original report: Work has again been stopped on Ballina Shire Council’s demolition of a Moreton Bay fig tree on Castle Drive, Lennox Head, after a nest of duck eggs were found in a tree hollow this morning.
The tree is being removed after council’s insurer refused to insure the tree further after a payout to owners of an adjoining property for cracking caused by its roots.
Local John Sparkes told Echonetdaily that when he arrived at the tree this morning, ‘a pair of ducks were flying around the tree, as they always do, and they appeared to be paying attention to one particular branch’.
Mr Sparkes said a cherry picker was brought in and a nest in a tree hollow with a clutch of eight eggs in it had been found.
He said work had been stopped and both Wires and the National Parks & Wildlife Service had been called.
‘It is up to them to determine what happens to the eggs. We are hoping they will delay any further work on the tree until they hatch in six weeks or so.’
He added ‘and that’s just one hollow; there appear to be about 20 hollows in the old tree so who knows what else they will find.’