MAY 2021 BRANCH UPDATE

WHAT’S COMING UP?

Kennedy Bay walk ~ Mission Beach ~ 22-23 May: Please read this post for full details. All those who responded to our call for expressions of interest were emailed with further details on 9/5/21 so If you did not receive that email it means you are not on the list  - but if you are keen to join us, please let us know – you would be very welcome.

Climate strikeStudent Strike 4 Climate: Friday 21 May (morning) The school strikes couldn’t go ahead last year because of Covid, but students will gather again  on May 21st between 9-11am at Jezzine. This year the focus will be to call on the Morrison Government to invest in renewable energy and First Nations solutions that care for country, not dirty gas projects. Regardless of your age and whether or not you have children or grandchildren taking part, do get out there and support these young people if you can.

Green Drinks at Grill’d: Friday 21 May (evening): This monthly gathering, hosted by NQCC, is an informal and friendly networking event for people who care for the environment. This month it is at Grill’d in Palmer Street from 6-8.30pm on Friday May 21st - which is shaping up to be quite a busy day! You can RSVP here.

“Our Townsville” Event ~ Sunday 6 June ~ Anderson Gardens: If you have been wondering “Whatever happened to EcoFiesta?” you are probably not alone.  Of course, this time last year we were all under strict Covid restrictions and public gatherings indoors or outdoors were disallowed. But for 2021 Council has shifted venues and created an “Expo” event which incorporates all aspects of Townsville society. We are pleased that our application to have a stall there has been approved so please put this date in your diary!!

WHAT’S BEEN HAPPENING?

April (May) trip report: Confusing as it sounds, our April field trip actually happened in May to avoid a soaking on the scheduled day. We had a short but beautiful climb up Picnic Bay’s Hawkings Point and all agreed we should make more frequent trips to the Island. To read about our day and associated discoveries, click here.

Birding with an expert: It was good to see a bunch of our members at the bird walks conducted by Queensland’s chief scientist, Hugh Possingham last week. I am sure I was not alone in finding it well worthwhile to be up very early on what felt like a wintry morning on Friday (Saturday was a tad warmer). It wasn’t just the birds we saw and heard – though the pair of brown goshawks with nest in Anderson Park was pretty special, as was the Nankeen night heron, fishing with pelicans and egrets at Aplin’s Weir the next day. It was Hugh’s wide understanding of the uniqueness of our Aussie birds, and his knowledge of their behaviour and biology that fascinated me. Who knew that the closest relatives of our common magpie lark are the monarch flycatchers?? That the magpie goose is a very ancient form of waterfowl neither a true goose or a true duck? Or that female magpie geese may share a nest and raise their broods together?  Or, indeed, that 15% of Australian birds engage in some form of communal or co-operative breeding? Or, sadly, that threatened bird species have been suffering an annual decline of between 1% and1.5% over the last 40 or 50 years?

Greater bilby. STBF photo.

Greater bilby. STBF photo.

Some great news for Currawinya bilbies: It is 20 years since the first ‘bilby fence’ was completed at Currawinya National Park – to keep feral predators out and bilbies safe –  and it has been a roller-coaster ride since then, but right now there are plenty of smiles in south-west Queensland. The irrepressible Kevin Bradley – chair of the Recovery Team – reports that the bilby population inside the fence is thriving, with close observation revealing the animals are in great condition and all the females that were checked had young.  An additional 10 captive bred animals (5 male, 5 female) are now in a soft-release area in preparation for their new lives at Currawinya. A healthy bilby population also improves soil structure and supports other wildlife, as species like hopping mice and short-beaked echidnas also use bilby burrows for temporary shelter or more permanent homes. Read more at this website.

But in Western Australia?? The bad news is that a few weeks ago it was revealed that a foreign-owned company, known to be a persistent lobbyist and a major donor to all political parties, was allowed to clear 840 hectares of bilby habitat south of Broome, for cattle grazing. Another example of the obscene power of money.

Australian shorebird habitat on record: Last month Birdlife Australia launched the National Directory of Important Migratory Shorebird Habitat (click here to access). Described as a “masterpiece of research”  and based on tens of thousands of shorebird surveys and literally millions of bird sightings, the Directory identifies key sites for shorebirds right around the country and detects trends in shorebird populations. There are chapters for each Australian state and territory; Queensland is covered in Chapter 4. The data contained in the Directory’s nearly 1300 pages provides vital information for locals, land managers and scientists who are working to protect these remarkable long-distance travellers.

Tiffany (L) and Crystal (R). NQCC photo.

Tiffany (L) and Crystal (R). NQCC photo.

New leadership for NQCC: Our conservation council has had to make a few tough staffing decisions recently to ensure it stays within budget, but selecting Crystal Falknau for the leadership position of Co-ordinator would have presented few headaches. Crystal became involved with NQCC as a volunteer soon after arriving in Townsville in 2016, with a BSc in Environment and Sustainability. She went on to join the management committee before taking on a part-time paid position with responsibility for community engagement and fundraising. Meanwhile another very committed NQCC volunteer and former Secretary, Tiffany Bond, will step up to fill Crystal’s previous role. We wish them both the very best in roles which we hope will be rewarding as well as challenging.

 

Comments are closed.