November field trip this SATURDAY 22 November: bookings are now closed for our end-of-year cruise on Ross River Dam. All those booked have been advised to meet at the Dam car park, between 8-8.15am on Saturday 22nd bringing the correct money for their fare, as well as binoculars, cameras, hats and enthusiasm. As a way of saying thank-you for their continued support the Branch is “shouting” the cost of the morning tea for all financial members who are attending.

September and October field trip reports: Apologies for not publishing the report of our September trip to the Cromarty/Wongaloo wetlands in time for last month’s update but, for those who haven’t already found it, you can read it here now. Great photos and an impressive bird list so definitely worth looking at.

Our October exploration of Lou Litster Park showed us how wasteland can be transformed into oasis by commitment and hard work. Click here, and never underestimate those natural places and spaces in our city, or the power of a few to make a difference!

What’s in your backyard? Latest in this series is a sequel to the previous post which featured a stone-curlew family at Mt Low. This post covers observations of another curlew family, made over a 10-year period in Mundingburra. Discover more about these birds, and the stresses and strains of being a curlew minder, here.

Fly-out spectacular: Sunday 30th November: We are hoping to join with NQ Wildlife Care in hosting batty hour between 6-7pm on Sunday 30 November at Rossiter Park. NB This event has now been confirmed- see separate post here.

Flying the flag for flying-foxes: A further meeting was held with Townsville City Council staff last month re management of local flying-fox colonies and ways we can contribute to better public awareness of and tolerance towards their presence in our city. It is disappointing that problems resulting from (temporary) canopy loss in the the Palmetum has sidetracked a plan to develop interpretive signage at this site, which we are keen to support. Hopefully in the new year we can encourage the Council to think again about the value of educational, interpretive signage.  

In the meantime the Burdekin Shire Council decided to disperse a maternity colony in a Home Hill park, against the recommendations of the DEHP guidelines. There is uncertainty where the bats have gone and unless their alternative roost sites are protected from disturbance they are likely to return to the park, as they have done in the past.  However there are signs that the Burdekin Council has taken on board some of the points made by conservation groups, bat groups and individuals and at least remain strongly opposed to culling.

What price dumping? Wetlands face new risk: Following national, and international, outrage about the dumping of dredge spoil in GBR waters (specifically of course from the Abbot Point site) both the Opposition, and now the Coalition, have promised to reduce dumping of dredge spoil in the GBR. The ALP has made the strongest commitment by pledging to end dumping in the entire World Heritage Area of the reef, not just within the marine park boundaries, and they will need to be kept firm on this promise.

With regard to Abbot Point, grave concerns have now arisen over the proposed use of the Caley Valley wetlands for this purpose. Among other outstanding natural values, these wetlands provide habitat for the endangered Australian painted snipe. Nearly 2 years ago Greenpeace made a beautiful video featuring these wetlands – although some of the information has been superseded by recent events, the threat to the wetlands may now be greater than it was then. Please go to the NQCC website to get latest information and/or take action.

Saving the last of the last: A new campaign by the National Parks Association of Qld was prompted by the news that numbers for the beautiful Gouldian finch may be as low as 2500 in the whole of Australia and down to a few hundred in Queensland. Many other of our bush birds have been found to be in serious decline. NPAQ is trying to raise $60,000 in order to survey 12 Queensland properties which have been ear-marked for National Park gazettal but not proceeded with. One of these properties, Wairuna, lies to our north-west between the western edge of the Girringgun NP and the Gregory Developmental Road. Read more here about why these surveys are so important and sign up with NPAQ if you want to be kept informed.

Talking Feathers: an exhibition by Georgina Kenyon. Georgina has recently travelled in Papua New Guinea exploring the richness of the wetlands, forests and birds as well as the culture of its people. Her exhibition includes works inspired by these travels as well as by the birds and environments to be found around our own city. The exhibition opens at the Perc Tucker Gallery at 11am on Saturday 6th December and runs until 25 January 2015.

Welcome Peter Ogilvie: Last but not least a big welcome to our new State President, Peter Ogilvie, who has had a decades-long involvement with the Society and vast experience in the field of national park management and wildlife conservation both within and beyond government. He hopes to get around the state to visit the more far-flung branches within the next 12 months.

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