WHAT’S COMING UP?
OUR MAY FIELD TRIP (Sunday 22nd) will be a northern beach clean-up, but with time for some natural history observation too, we hope! Everyone welcome especially if you have a ute!
OUR JUNE WEEKEND FIELD TRIP (Sat 18th-Sun 19th) will be to Mission Beach where we will walk the beautiful Edmund Kennedy Track. If you do plan to come along, we recommend you arrange accommodation asap.
ECOFIESTA will be held in Queens Gardens on Sunday 29th May. We will again have a stall and would welcome any members who want to come along to help or say hello. It’s a great opportunity to promote our group, and our activities, to the wider community.
MUNDY CREEK LANDCARE AFTERNOON will be on Sunday June 4th, from 4-6pm. This is a regular event, taking place in the late afternoon on the first Saturday of each month.
WHAT’S BEEN HAPPENING?
TRACKING TOOMULLA: the write-up of our April field trip, is posted here. Read how we nearly found ourselves the uninvited guests at a bush wedding ……
OUR SUBMISSION on proposals to strengthen the Vegetation Management Act was one of hundreds sent to the parliamentary committee. As they are processed the submissions are being published on the committee’s website [Link expired] ours is listed at no. 270. The committee will hold a public hearing on Wednesday 18th at Rydges Southbank between 5.30-7.30pm.
Last month’s BAT NIGHT at the Palmetum was again successful, attracting people from both ends of the age spectrum. While there were far fewer flying-foxes compared with Halloween night, the moon was still beautiful and we had heaps of literature and yummy food. A special treat for those packing up after the event was the rarely heard “wailing woman” call coming from a Barking Owl perched atop a palm next to the cafe. Listen here to a recording – the call we heard was similar but lower pitched, perhaps it was a wailing male?
But back to the bats – we were lucky to have even a small fly-out for our audience because a week later they all de-camped, and it appears that most have moved back to Dan Gleeson Gardens. It is far less suitable habitat and when I called in there yesterday they seemed quite unsettled. The story is that a pair of hungry wedge-tails caused the bats to up sticks. This may be true, but if so is there any reason the wedgies won’t follow them to their new site? As the saying goes, watch this space …
EXCITING MANGROVE DISCOVERIES: In an astonishing win for citizen science, Cairns amateur naturalist, Hidetoshi Kudo, has discovered two rare species of mangroves in Trinity Inlet. One had never before been recorded south of Cooktown, the other highly endangered species was previously unknown on the Australian continent. Some individual trees of both species are estimated to be well over 100 years old yet have been overlooked despite the many mangrove studies that have been undertaken in this area over the years. We have re-posted an article from the CAFNEC newsletter here, and you can also read Mr Kudo’s own account in the May issue of Ecotone.
WENDY GOES GREEN(ER) – yes, there’s an election coming on and NQCC’s Wendy Tubman has stepped up as Greens candidate in the seat of Herbert. Wendy has been a highly skilled and effective co-ordinator of the Conservation Council over the last 5 years and is well able to highlight environmental issues in the campaign. In the meantime Maree Dibella has taken on Wendy’s former role for 3 months until NQCC advertises the co-ordinator’s position. We wish them both well in their efforts to keep the environment front and centre, not just over the next 8 weeks but well beyond. Visit the NQCC website for events coming up – including a showing of the movie Disobedience, this Friday 13th.
CAUGHT ON CAMERA: A small group of members have been setting motion-sensitive cameras at two sites (north and west of Townsville) in the hope of “capturing” some interesting fauna and increasing our knowledge of wildlife distribution. No exciting results so far but it is still early days. These trips are usually held during the week, rather than at weekends, but if you would like to take part, or if you have a property which would make a suitable site, please contact us.
And – stop press – the Branch may become involved with the Society’s Platycount surveys during the winter months. If you are interested in spending an hour or two sitting on a creek bank at dawn watching for signs of platypus – or if you have any knowledge about where they might be found in our region (apart from Paluma Dam) – please get in touch. And we should five a shout-out to Wildlife Queensland’s own Platycount appeal supporting further state-wide research into the distribution of one of the most iconic of our native animals.
A GOOD NEWS STORY!
CARING FOR WILDLIFE: This week, amid the dismal stories of more wildlife species plummeting towards extinction, came a heart-lifting story about the dedicated care and kindness that humans can show to wildlife. This story concerns the successful rehabilitation and release of a number of pied-imperial pigeons (PIPS) after a long period with some wonderful wildlife carers in Townsville (Fay) and Cardwell (Anne) and later with Deb at Mission Beach. Rather than release the birds locally Deb felt they needed somewhere with sufficient fruit to support them through the next four months until the large flocks return from PNG in spring – and where better than under the watchful eye of Yvonne Cunningham at Coquette Point on the Innisfail Coast? Read Yvonne’s own account* of how this little freedom mission unfolded, and gain new insights into how individual birds can form strong attachments to others in their flock. Guaranteed to bring a smile to your face!
*NB If you are reading this after 14/5 you will need to scroll down through Yvonne’s blog to find the post dated 7/5. Latest news is that the PIPs seem to be extending their range towards the nearby Moresby NP, returning to their release base at night.
A CSIRO STUDY has found a 62% decline in the population of the Spectacled Flying Fox (Pteropus conspicillatus) over the period 2005-2014. Authors of the report believe this decline is sufficient for its conservation status to be upgraded from Vulnerable to Endangered (i.e. “at very high risk of extinction in the near future”). While this change has yet to be made, early this month 49 new species of Australian fauna and flora were added to the Threatened Species List. If this means they will receive the focus, funding and attention required to improve their situation this is all to the good – sadly this does not always happen and as Commissioner Andrews pointed out elsewhere, many species fall into the Threatened category in the first place as a result of weak environmental laws. Read more here.