Saturday 17th October: ReefBlitz. A host of activities are planned for this day of exploration and discovery organised by the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, starting at 6am and finishing at 6pm. Sessions cover birds, mangroves, reptiles and amphibians, plants, insects, molluscs and much, much more. 

Saturday 24th October: Music for the Reef. Don’t miss this great opportunity to listen to some beautiful music while celebrating the Great Barrier Reef and supporting the campaign to protect it. The much-acclaimed local Aquapella choir will provide a wonderful evening of songs from around the world which brought them standing ovations on their recent European tour. For further information and bookings, click here.[Link expired]

Sunday 25th October: Firefly spectacular. This month’s field trip will revisit the Annandale banks of the Ross River to enjoy the nightly display of fireflies which start to light up once the sun goes down. Please see this post [Link expired]for full details and, if you have not witnessed this before, prepare to be entranced.

Friday 30th October: Batty Hallowe’en Party. NQ Dry Tropics and NQ Wildlife Care, with support from WQ Townsville, are hosting a Hallowe’en party in the Palmetum for adults and children to have fun while learning more about our flying-foxes and having an “up close and personal” experience of the nightly fly-out from the large Palmetum colony. From 5.30-7.30ish – more details to follow.

Saturday 21st November Mission Beach pigeon count: Our November field trip will take us to Mission Beach to join Birdlife members in their annual count of Torres Strait (Pied Imperial) pigeons as they fly out from the mainland towards their island colonies. Many will be heading for North Brook so it is a chance to observe the “other end” of the flight featured in the documentary The Coming of the White Birds.

Saturday starts with a 1.30pm briefing at the Mission Beach C4 Centre on Porter Promenade. Counters then deploy to different beaches ready to start counting by 4pm. Those staying overnight can meet for dinner (probably at the Mission Beach Resort bistro). You need to arrange your own accommodation but there’s plenty of choice at Mission Beach itself, Wongaling, South Mission etc. On Sunday (21st) there is the option of early bird-watching at Ninney Rise (Bingil Bay) and/or we could do one of the many forest or beach walks in the area.  If you would like to take part please notify Trish Pontynen.  


DVD and booklet package tell a remarkable story.

DVD and booklet package tell a remarkable story.

Christmas is coming: The beautiful little documentary telling the story of 50 years of counting the Torres Strait pigeons at North Brook island has been selling well and has had several public screenings. It would make a great Christmas gift for anyone interested in birds, their conservation and the ability of ‘ordinary’ people to make a difference. This 26-minute film has been sensitively made by North Queensland film-maker Sarah Scragg and was partly funded by WQ branches. The film is accompanied by a 12 page booklet written by Margaret Thorsborne, who co-founded the counts with her late husband, Arthur. The package is very reasonably priced at $15 (+$3 p&p if required). Payment can be made by EFT, cheque or cash – please email us with your order and we will send you the necessary details. Free delivery or collection can be arranged for local orders. $5 from every copy sold will go to the Thorsborne Trust to help keep these counts going.

Our Dalrymple Track trip last month was very well attended and all seemed to enjoy their walk along this beautiful and historic track. It resulted in two posts so you can read an overall account of the walk here, and a special post on the invertebrates here. Follow the Dropbox link provided in the report to view nearly 30 photographs from the day.

Towards better Flying-Fox signage. A meeting between Wildlife Queensland, NQ Wildlife Care and city council staff, including the new botanical curator, was held recently. The purpose was to discuss further the design, content and production of some positive interpretive signage relating to flying-foxes and their urban roosts. This has been discussed several times in the last 12 months but this was probably the most productive meeting to date and we have hopes of being involved further.

Keeping our rivers clean: Clean Rivers campaigner, Yvonne Cunningham has welcomed GBR Minister Steven Miles’ announced intention to work with farmers in the Wet Tropics to reduce the loss of soil, pesticides and fertilisers from their farms into the rivers that flow to the Reef. She has called for the restoration of riparian vegetation along all water courses, commenting “While farmers are allowed to grow to the high-banks of rivers and creeks and to drain their farm directly into the Wet Tropics Rivers no amount of best practice management will help the Government meet water quality targets for the Great Barrier Reef.”

Spot the curlew chicks! Laurie Hall photo.

Spot the curlew chicks! Laurie Hall photo.

Keeping happy events happy: While you are out and about – in your garden, along the river, at the beach, in the parks or out in the bush – remember that for many species it is baby-time. So keep dogs under control and look out for vulnerable chicks (like curlews or masked lapwings) that may be right at your feet, or others that may fall from nests. On beaches, terns may soon be starting to lay their eggs and in a month or so marine turtles will be doing the same. The black flying-foxes are also giving birth now and their tiny bundles of black fur can sometimes lose their grip on Mum when she is in flight. if you find any wildlife in distress, call the wonderful wildlife carers at 0414 717374 or the RSPCA on 1300 ANIMAL.

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