JULY 2021 BRANCH UPDATE

  Here’s this month’s snapshot of news and events … I apologise for it being rather hastily complled!

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Tyto walkway. Liz Downes photo.

June Field trip:  June’s wander round Ingham’s Tyto wetlands was very pleasant for our combined group from two Branches. After enjoying our picnic lunch in the park, some of us called in at the Tyto Gallery to see the most impressive exhibition documenting early Chinese settlement in the district (if you are in Ingham between now and July 25, don’t miss it!) A report of our trip will follow.

July trip (Sunday 25th) to Dunk Island is another joint Branch affair and, as there is a cap on numbers, this is being offered to our financial members only.  We rarely make such restrictions but with only 24 seats on the boat, it is only fair. Details have been sent directly to members.

Two chances to visit Wongaloo: Birdlife Townsville have arranged two trips to Wongaloo on the Cromarty wetlands, for Wednesday 25 August and Sunday 12 September. Each trip will be of several hours duration, “with plenty of opportunities for photography and bird watching”. Participants will be taken round the property in a small bus and should take their own morning tea and lunch. The trips will conclude at 2.30pm. Numbers are limited so, if you are interested, you should contact trip leader, Norm Rains (just click on the name) before Weds 28th July. He will no doubt provide further details of start time, meeting place etc..

Claude’s Block is safe! Most of you will have received this news a couple of weeks ago but I’m sure the folks from Magnetic Island Nature Care Association are still feeling pretty happy about the amazing success of their push to raise $400,000 for the purchase of this special piece of Maggie Island’s bushland. It is testament to the environmental passion of Island residents and the many Island lovers who have the misfortune to live elsewhere (!) as well as to the huge effort and considerable talents of MINCA’s membership, that this large amount was raised in only about 6 weeks. We look forward to being able to visit the block on a future Branch trip, when we can appreciate first hand its values and see how it fits in with the adjacent protected land.

New nursery behind the wind turbine.

Work in progress – the new nursery. CDTLI photo.

The Big Nursery Move is done! Landcare’s Mundingburra “Bush Garden Nursery” on the banks of Ross River is no more . . . BUT the Rowes Bay Native Plant Nursery has risen from the compost and is now located at 56, Cape Pallarenda Road, Rowes Bay.The new site is adjacent to the Council’s Sustainability Centre, landmarked by the tall wind turbine – see photo – no doubt it will be a lot greener and shadier in due course. Those of you who came on our March outing to explore the Rowes Bay wetlands, will know exactly where it is.

The Nursery will re-open at its new site on Friday 16th July, resuming its previous trading hours of 8am-2pm on Fridays and Saturdays.

Alligator Creek update – Park to stay closed until end of year. While still coming to terms with the National Parks Service’s deeply disappointing decision to close the campground at Alligator Creek, in the Mt Elliot section of the National Park, we received another shock when an updated ‘Park Alert’ on the QPWS website advised that there would be no visitor access until 31st December 2021 !! We first became aware of the Park’s closure for ‘redevelopment works’ in early March and, at that stage, the Park was expected to re-open on 31 July. Only last month did that advice change and we now have to wait 5 more months until we can see what these works have involved. If we cannot persuade the Parks Service to re-instate the campground, even at half the former size, my hope is that the natural character of what is now termed “the visitor precinct” will be preserved and that the new state-of-the-art infrastructure will not intrude on that lovely harmony of trees, hillside, rocks and creek.

Reef in danger: The UNESCO World Heritage Committee’s recent announcement seemed to come as a huge surprise to our federal environment minister, Senator Sussan Ley, despite the fact that the government’s own management authority (GBRMPA), not to mention a large body of our top marine scientists, have been giving her, and her predecessors, the same message for years. Meanwhile the Member for Hinchinbrook, Nick Dametto (KAP), has brought a bill before State Parliament aimed at reversing reef protection measures introduced in 2019. The bill displays a total failure to understand the complexity and inter-connectedness of the GBR ecosystems and, sadly, a willingness to ‘cherry-pick’ statements of expert scientists in a way which entirely misrepresents their views. Our Branch made a submission strongly opposing the KAP bill.

News from, and of, our Life Members: We love to hear news from those members who we rarely see because they have moved away. Sometime the news is not what we would like to hear. This was the case with regard to our former very long-serving President, and honorary Life Member, George Heinsohn. We were advised by the family that George had been admitted to hospital in Canberra a couple of months ago, after suffering a stroke. He is currently in rehab and still quite weak so a return to his own home seems unlikely at present. He is still enjoying visits from family and friends and we’ve been told that messages received from his host of old friends in the north have lifted his spirits and revived happy memories of his more than three decades here. If you are among those who remember George and would like to send a message, please contact us for email or postal address details.

There’s happier news from our other honorary life member, Jane McLean, in Brisbane. As reported in March, Jane has wasted no time in forging links with local conservation and nature-oriented groups in her area, including a Mt Coot-tha weeding group. She is also in touch with her local WPSQ branch and is looking forward to their next outing: a guided walk through the beautiful Mt Coot-tha gardens. It’s clear that Jane’s friendly and sociable nature has not been dampened by periodic lockdowns and other Covid restrictions in the south-east.

Resting blue tiger.

Resting blue tiger. Liz Downes photo.

Butterflies are back!! My apologies for forgetting to include this in last month’s update. One of our members let us know that the blue tiger butterflies (and other over-wintering species) are back in good numbers on Magnetic Island, so if you are able to get over to the island this month or in early August they should still be there. Take the Horseshoe Bay bus, but get off at Bungalow Bay. Walk 100 metres or so down the road to the turning into Heath Street (on right).  A little track leads off Heath Street close to where it joins the main road – so follow that into butterfly fairyland! Please walk slowly and quietly to reduce disturbance to these butterflies which have flown hundreds of kms to spend the winter in our warmer climate. If you are a subscriber to Wildlife Australia make sure you read the article by an ABC reporting team, in the latest issue, on north Queensland’s “butterfly boom”.

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