Wildlife Land Trust / Sanctuaries / NSW / Hen Puddle

Victoria Thomas is the owner of Hen Puddle, a property situated in Pearces Creek, approximately 20km northwest of Ballina, New South Wales. The property is a home and wildlife sanctuary as well as a site for habitat regeneration, education, recreation and eco-friendly tourism. Victoria wishes to retain the land for these purposes, continuing to provide a refuge for native wildlife and rainforest communities. She has planted nearly 1,000 trees from 50 endemic rainforest species on the land, particularly along the creek and surrounding the dam.

Hen Puddle covers 8 hectares of formerly cleared land and was historically used for grazing, then pecan farming. The block backs on to Skinners Creek to the north and features a large dam. Vegetation is largely comprised of planted rainforest trees from 2-6 years old and mature pecan trees.

A wide range of wildlife is present including microbats, platypuses (Ornithorhynchus anatinus), diamond pythons (Morelia spilota), red-bellied black snakes (Pseudechis porphyriacus), bandy-bandys (Vermicella annulata), green tree frogs (Litoria caerulea), eastern dwarf tree frogs (Litoria fallax), lace monitors (Varanus varius) and a variety of native butterflies and moths.

Birdlife is abundant and includes masked owls (Tyto novaehollandiae), glossy black-cockatoos (Calyptorhynchus lathami), rainbow lorikeets (Trichoglossus moluccanus), eastern (Platycercus eximius) and crimson (Platycercus elegans) rosellas, honeyeaters, pied currawongs (Strepera graculina), magpies (Gymnorhina tibicen), pied butcherbirds (Cracticus nigrogularis), wompoo fruit doves (Ptilinopus magnificus), Australasian figbirds (Sphecotheres vieilloti), egrets, straw-necked (Threskiornis spinicollis) and white (Threskiornis moluccus) ibises and black-faced cuckoo-shrikes (Coracina novaehollandiae).

The riparian habitat is home to a vast array of ducks and water hens, eastern longneck turtles (Chelodina longicollis), eastern water dragons (Intellagama lesueurii), freshwater catfish (Tandanus tandanus), perch, bass (Macquaria novemaculeata), yabbies and native eels.