BRANCH UPDATE JUNE/JULY 2018

WHAT’S BEEN HAPPENING?

Welcome to our new members !! Now we have passed the halfway mark of the year, it’s timely to welcome all those who have joined us as new members in 2018 (or in one case renewed from earlier times). So, a warm welcome to Carole, Isabelle, Sheila, Christine, Carolyn, Bree, Peter and Bernadette, Judi, and Margrit. We are very happy to have you all on board and hope we can keep you informed, interested and active.

 … and a word to existing members. We will shortly be receiving our current subscription records from our Brisbane office, which handles such matters. If yours is overdue we will send a gentle reminder via email. Please remember that membership fees are shared equally between the Society and the Branch and therefore helps our efforts at both a local and a state level.

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Adriana and Beth at work attaching a camera.

Mahogany Glider project makes good progress: After all the paperwork, purchases and planning, calculations, consultations and wet weather frustrations, we finally settled into a routine of regular trips to the project site with cameras working well and yielding encouraging results. 

With only one 4WD vehicle at our disposal for most trips, we are usually limited to a maximum of 5 people per trip. But, whenever possible, we will try to provide opportunities for members who have expressed interest in the project to come along – and one of these took place last week. Trips are planned at approximately 3-4 weekly intervals (sometimes more frequently) and are usually on a weekday, leaving Townsville around 8am, returning between 1-3pm approx. They involve driving and walking through the property with stops at various points to check, re-locate and re-set cameras. Observations are also made of flowering trees and oozing sap (both of which attract gliders), and to assess habitat: composition of vegetation, density of canopy and the height and variety of tree species. All these factors help to determine likely camera sites. We are giving members first preference to participate in these trips – so if you’d like to take part when the opportunity permits, and haven’t already given us your name, then please get in touch.

Our August field outing (Sunday 19th August) will provide another opportunity to visit the site and hopefully get through to the beach which was not possible in the wet conditions of March.

May field outing We chose the right month for our energetic clamber up the foothills of Mount Stuart, all agreeing we wouldn’t be so keen once the heat hits us but at cooler times it’s a great local walk. You can read the report and view some of the photos here.

Our June outing to Cardwell attracted 14 people and a couple of showers – but not enough to dampen the enthusiasm for the area’s walks, woodlands and wildlife. A report of the trip will appear soon. We are very grateful for the contribution of Suzie, Daryl and Geoff (from the Cassowary Coast & Hinchinbrook Branch) for sharing their knowledge and friendship.

Northern quoll seeks shelter, photograph by resident.

Northern quoll seeks shelter, photograph by resident.

Little quoll makes the record: a resident of Burdell called the NQ Wildlife Carers in May to report this little northern quoll (Dasyurus hallucatus) on her property. She said she had seen the quoll several times running along the fence but this time it appeared to be injured. Sadly it disappeared before the carers arrived and may have succumbed to the injury.

Nonetheless, this was an interesting sighting in one of the new northern suburbs where the species has not been recorded in the recent past. There is still an area of uncleared bush bordering the Bohle River not far from where the quoll was seen. It is far from pristine and the encroaching suburbs bring increased threats from traffic and roaming dogs,  but if we are careful perhaps some of these feisty little mammals can survive there. A small nearby park has information about the endangered black-throated finch, also recorded for this area, so it would be timely for some similar awareness about quolls to be provided, and how best to reduce the threats. We have informed the City Council about the sighting and submitted the record to the Queensland’s Dept of Environment and Science WildNet database. (*We were unable to contact the resident to seek permission for use of the photo, but hope she won’t mind its inclusion here)

WHAT’S COMING UP?

Saturday 14-Sunday15 July: New Economy for North Queensland Symposium. NQCC is co-hosting this important event over two days on Magnetic Island, with a range of workshops and inspiring local, national and international speakers. Some tickets are still available – you can find out more and look at the program here

Sunday 29th July Whale-watching trip 9am-12 midday! As previously advertised, this month we will be joining SeaLink’s first ever whale-watching trip. We have 17 adults, plus several children, booked on the trip which is now sold out. Please ensure you are there 30 minutes before departure time.

August 19th / September 23 / October 21 outings:  Our field trips for these months will visit Ollera Creek project site and beach (August), Magnetic Island (September), Bluewater Range (October).

Helping echidna research – the Great Scat Hunt!! Do you ever see echidnas in or around your garden? If you are lucky enough to have these shy monotremes paying you a visit there’s a team at the University of Adelaide who would love your help. Visit this site to find out more.

Plastics and oceans – your views, please! Can you help JCU PhD candidate, Anne Bauer, with her research into the problems of plastic debris entering our oceans? Anne needs a wide range of Townsville people to complete a community attitudes survey. It takes about 10 minutes to complete and you can find the survey via this link.

And something to read…. From the ABC News website this article describes how human intervention in dingo population control has affected the Australian landscape – and not for the better. And this recent article shows that those camouflage artists, stick insects, mimic plants in ways other than just appearance!

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