Welcome to Spring everyone – and a special welcome to new members, Chantelle and Kerry. I hope everyone’s spirits have been lifted, in this annus horribilis, by the coo-ee calls of the koel and the softer coo-oo calls of the Pied Imperial-pigeons, returning to us from their winter homes.
Field Outings, Past and Upcoming: The small group who visited Broadwater in July obviously had glorious weather, even if none were inspired to leap into the swimming hole. This link will take you to the report and some intriguing photos. A larger group fronted up at Elliot Springs in August on a similar day of blue skies and sunshine (who doesn’t love winter in the Tropics?) and walked the Bindil Ridge. Report to follow.
In a slight change of plan, this month (Sunday 20 September) we will be visiting an unnamed creek on Cape Cleveland, which will involve a morning walk following the creek, towards mangroves at the creek mouth – we probably won’t go as far as the mangroves. There will be good shade. More directions and details to follow.
Black-throated Finch Waterhole Count: The BTF waterhole count is a great opportunity for new volunteer observers to support the BTF recovery programme and hopefully to see the endangered finch at close quarters. The Recovery Team is looking for volunteers to watch selected waterholes on 17th-18th October and record the birds that come into drink. If interested please register on their their website.
Flying-fox Conversations: The Branch met with TCC staff to discuss flying-fox policy and roost management. This particularly relates to Dan Gleeson Gardens where daily dispersal actions attempt to keep the bats at one end of the park. It is also where thousands of animals died during an extreme heat event in 2018. It was good to renew dialogue with the Council on this issue although there remain some difficulties. It was disappointing to learn that Council will continue dispersal action throughout the birthing and nursery season (Sept-Nov) whenever they deem “necessary” even though the Dept of Environment now recommends against this, and even though it increases the risk of human-bat contact and the death or abandonment of infant and juvenile animals. It is also disappointing that Council has ruled against the use of canopy sprinklers to cool and rehydrate the animals in heat waves, but we hope speedy progress will be made with other heat mitigation measures. We have submitted a detailed critique of the procedures outlined for Dan Gleeson Gardens and hope to keep lines of communication open over this critical period.
Stopping our Wildlife’s Slide to Extinction: Please read this urgent message from the Humane Society: “Last week our wildlife came closer to another disaster as the Morrison Government raced a Bill to weaken our national environmental law through the House of Representatives, not even allowing a debate on amendments to it. All this happened whilst a critically important 10 year statutory review of the law is underway. It is a review that will still be incomplete when this dangerous Bill goes to the Senate for debate – its last hurdle before becoming law.” It is expected this Bill will be introduced into the Senate, possibly as early as the first week in October. You can read more in this report from the Humane Society and this analysis of how the Coalition is scrambling to hand over its authority to protect the nation’s natural environment to the States. You can take action by appealing directly to our Federal MPs and Senators. Click on this link to sign a prepared letter, or use some of their points to help write your own.
Mahogany Meetings: Branch committee members attended an all-day Mahogany Glider Recovery Team meeting in Cardwell. High on the agenda was the long-awaited and updated National Recovery Plan which has now completed the public submission phase and we live in hope that this will be finalised by the end of the year. The previous edition of this Plan was released in 2008 and the long delay in getting the new one “up and running” has been a source of much frustration. The Recovery Team are to be commended on the countless hours of painstaking work that has gone into the preparation of this Plan and their persistence in the face of many hurdles. The meeting heard presentations from John Hodgon (QDES) on the workings of Queensland’s Threatened Species Network and from JCU postgraduate student, Eryn Chang, for whom the glider will be the focus of her PhD research, as well as updates on other glider projects, including our own, and encouraging moves to install more glider crossing poles.
Writers Wanted! NQCC has arranged to have a regular column in the Townsville Bulletin covering natural history and nature conservation topics. Articles should be between 400-500 words and preferably accompanied by a couple of photographs. Let us know if you have something you’d like to write about and we can put you in touch with NQCC President Peter Hanley who is co-ordinating the submission of articles. Don’t despair if you have a great topic but no photos – we may be able to source suitable photographs from among our combined memberships.
Celebrating Wildlife through Art: A beautiful new book, to be released in October, will feature the enchanting wildlife art of Cardwell-based artist Daryl Dickson. Daryl came to north Queensland 30 years ago, settling in the Kennedy Valley just outside Cardwell. Here she became active in local wildlife conservation while developing high level skills as a wildlife carer and a superb talent as a wildlife artist. Daryl has also illustrated a number of children’s books, including the popular Paddy O’Melon, by Julia Cooper, in 2017.
Published next month by Exisle Publishing at $55, you can pre-order the book now or support local business (and save yourself a few dollars postage), and find it at Mary Who Bookshop in a few weeks’ time, or give them your name to secure a copy. This is the perfect Christmas gift for yourself or anyone who loves our unique and beautiful wildlife. More information here.
To Recycle or Not to Recycle? That’s the [disposal] question! Of course, we know you are all very good recyclers and careful with how much waste you accumulate and the best way to dispose of it. But sometimes the messaging is as mixed as a tossed salad (Pizza boxes? Yes? No?) so Clean Up Australia has posted a useful guide which makes it clear what you should or shouldn’t put in your yellow bin, and gives tips on how to reduce your use of products that end up ether in landfill or the recycling mountain. Read it here – I’d be surprised if you don’t learn at least one helpful new tip.
Protecting the Platypus: The Society’s next webinar, following on from the very successful Glorious Gliders, will be on Wednesday 23 September. You can register for free here.
Our next Committee Meeting will be Monday 2nd November. Non-committee members are welcome to attend and help stimulate our brain cells (which can get a little tired towards the end of the year) but please advise us beforehand.