Welcome to the busy month of March, with a referendum, an election, Clean-Up Australia, Earth Hour, Easter – and of course our March field trip! – all crammed into a few weeks. But also a warm welcome to two more new members who have joined the Society and the Branch since last month’s update. Su from Magnetic Island and Robin from North Ward bring our total of new members for this year to nine, a healthy start.


Should you eat this? Photo Russell Cumming.

Should you eat this? Photo Russell Cumming.

March field trip: Sunday 20 March, Anderson Gardens. Do you recognise the fruit at the left? At this month’s outing find out why the answer to the caption question is NO!! Meet at 8.30am inside the Gulliver Street entrance. From there we can walk and/or drive to points of interest in and around our largest botanical gardens. 

Mundy Creek working bee: Saturday 2nd April 4.30-6.30pm. This group, part of the Coastal and Dry Tropics Landcare network, has its monthly working bee on the first Saturday of the month. The late afternoon time-slot makes for cooler conditions (with the western sun casting a beautiful light across the wetlands and Castle Hill slopes) and increases the chance of catching a sea breeze. See the report on the Clean-up Australia event below

WQ Townsville Branch AGM: Sunday 3rd April. This will be held at 10 Gowrie Street, Mundingburra (thank-you Jackie and Ken!) starting at 9.30am. All members have been sent a formal notice with a proxy form (for those unable to attend). We will endeavour to send the president’s report, financial report and a copy of last year’s minutes to all members in advance of the meeting. Non-members are welcome to attend but will not be able to vote on any motions or election of officers.

WQ Field trips: Dates for your diary. Our draft program of field trips for most of the year is below, do make a note of dates and destinations. Additional activities such as Australasian Bat night (April/May?), Halloween bat party (October) and a repeat of our popular firefly night (September/October – fireflies permitting) will be announced as dates and details are finalised. Our final outing (November) is undecided and we are investigating the possibilities of another Hinchinbrook Channel trip, a combined kayak and walk along the Ross River (both of which have some logistical complexities!) or something simpler. If you have suggestions – let us know!!

April 17 24 Bowling Green Bay NP Toomulla Bush and Beach  Note change
May 22 Bush and Beach walk and clean-up – coastal section of Paluma Range NP south of Rollingstone.
June 18-19 Mission Beach weekend, walk the Kennedy Bay track
July 24 Magnetic Island butterfly and bird experience at Horseshoe Bay
August 21 Shelly Beach walk and clean-up Crystal Creek  Note change
September 18 Low-tide sandy shore exploration at Shelly Cove, Cape Pallarenda
October 23 South Townsville environmental park (Boundary Street)
November220 To be decided (see above)

Earth hourEarth Hour: Saturday March 19thJoin the City Council event at the Rowes Bay Sustainability Centre*, the gateway to the Rowes Bay wetlands, for a variety of free family-friendly activities from 5.30pm, followed by a Spotlight Safari from 8.30-9.30pm.  Bring a picnic or buy food on site. Click here [Link expired] for full details and discover that Earth Hour is about more than just switching off the lights.

*The Sustainability Centre is on the Cape Pallarenda Road, on the left, just past the RSL retirement home


Our February field trip report can be read here. A most interesting walk on a track leading off from the Paluma Dam which we had never walked before (but surely will again) was enjoyed by a small but enthusiastic group. A  Dropbox folder of all photos can be viewed here – note you do not need to have Dropbox installed to see them. Click on the first image and then on the arrows to scroll through the full set.

Sandra cleans up! Photo courtesy Mundy Creek group.

Sandra cleans up! Photo courtesy Mundy Creek group.

Clean-up Sunday at MundyWhere were you all? Clean-up Australia Day at Mundy Creek was a fantastic way to relax and abandon all inhibitions as we plunged thigh-deep into the creek, or slithered on the muddy banks, retrieving bag-loads of plastic, cans, glass and goodness-knows-what! Sandra and I were the ones getting down and (very) dirty, while Alison minded our information stall and Mike helped with portage before pursuing his entomological interests. The late afternoon is a beautiful time to be in this little-known but very special area and I will be promoting their regular working bees each month – the next is on Saturday 2nd April. The Mundy Creekers are a friendly, enthusiastic crowd and children (and nice dogs) are also welcome. More photos from Sunday’s clean-up herePrior to the clean-up John Gunn (Earth Environmental) gave a history of the creek from C18th to the present and outlined the Natureway project, and Kirralee Donovan (NQ Dry Tropics) alerted us to the threat of the aquatic weed, Sagittaria platyphylla – you will be hearing more about this.


Photo Bill Laurance

Tree Clearing – will it never end? The Newman government’s weakening of Queensland’s hard won tree-clearing laws sparked what was dubbed “a land-clearing extravaganza” that destroyed thousands of hectares of native vegetation and wildlife habitat. The “big ones” were Olive Vale on Cape York (32,000ha) and Strathmore in the northern Gulf (58,000ha) and 40,312 ha of koala habitat throughout the State. Countless more smaller areas lost, with and without approvals, added up to a shocking total tripling the area cleared prior to the 2012 election. The impact on wildlife, especially endangered species, has been horrendous. The Palaszczuk government’s promise to restore the previous controls has remained unfulfilled. Deputy Premier Jackie Trad’s announcement in November of the intention to proceed was denounced by the Katter Party which, if supported by independents, can block attempts to restore the tree-saving laws. Queenslanders need to overwhelm their MPs with demands to stop this devastation. . Call, write or email your MP or use the WWF website to do so. Do it today!

Flying-fox interpretive signs: Progress continues slowly but we are inching further towards the introduction of some attractive, educational signs to promote better understanding of flying-foxes. Whoever is elected onto Council on 19 March, whether as mayor or division councillor, we hope the city’s policy on flying-fox management continues to be evidence-based and supported by sound science, conservation needs and animal welfare principles.

Pied Imperial-pigeon post: The final count of the historic 50th season of monitoring the PIP breeding colony at North Brook Island took place on 25 February. Despite the lateness of the season a total of 9605 birds were recorded in the last couple of hours before dark. These numbers will quickly dwindle as more and more fly north to their wintering grounds in PNG, and we must wait another 6 months before welcoming them back in the spring.


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