Next outing 24th July This will be at Bicentennial Park in Hermit Park. This is an uninspiring park on the old Queens Road landfill site, with some even less inspiring surroundings. However there is a path that runs alongside the river and birds can be seen along the edges and in the mangroves. The tide will be going out so there’s the possibility of birds on the muddy river bed and in the shallows.

This will be a stroll along a path for a few hours depending on the birds. Bring snacks in case there’s somewhere pleasant to sit afterward if you aren’t in a hurry.

Meet at 9.00 in the car park beside the toilet block (which may be closed, TCC has a strange attitude to public toilets) on Queens Road.

Taylor Point: If you are familiar with Cairns’ coast and beaches, you will know Taylor Point – the headland between Kerrara Beach and Trinity Beach. Despite the city’s expansion, this headland has retained its native vegetation and scenic views more or less intact. Having been in the hands of the Anglican Church, it was purchased by a developer about a decade ago, who has had it on the market for some time. There has been a long community campaign to protect this land (Cairns’ last undeveloped headland) by trying to persuade the State Government to purchase it for a conservation park. This would safeguard its scenic and ecological values while providing both educational, research and recreational opportunities for the community at large. To date these appeals have fallen on deaf ears, but there is now a petition before the Queensland parliament which Queensland residents are able to sign. Click this link to open the e-Petition:  https://www.parliament.qld.gov.au/Work-of-the-Assembly/Petitions/Petition-Details?id=3766

Our Black-Throated finch needs every cent  Under the large black headline “FINCH STRIKES AGAIN” the Townsville Bulletin recently claimed the City Council had been “slugged $750,000″ to protect the southern black-throated finch (Poephila cincta cincta). Seems someone at the paper was getting a little over-excited. Readers who went beyond the front page found the correct figure was less than a third of that amount. The payment of $221,600 was one of the Queensland government requirements for approvals to construct the duplicate underground water pipeline, to replace the one which failed in 2020, leaving the city perilously close to running out of water. In case anyone’s wondering, this was not the result of finch sabotage. 

To keep things even more in proportion, with construction costs estimated at a cool $60 million, the “finch’s share” represents less than 0.4% of the total and will support habitat restoration and research into the bird’s ecology and population biology. To its credit, Townsville City Council has confirmed “it is committed to doing its part to keep the Townsville black-throated finch population as healthy as possible, citing active work to plant 1000 grasses at Oak Valley, and will comply with all conservation requirements. That is not to say of course that Council, and others, should not take much more care to preserve what little habitat remains around our city. Already extinct in NSW, and very probably from its entire former range south of Proserpine, Poephila cincta cincta has a sharply contracting range and falling population. It needs every square metre of its remaining habitat to stay healthy and every cent that can help recover and restore what has been lost.

Deadly hazards for whales . . . the whale season will be reaching its peak in the next few weeks, a time when these magnificent animals cruise north along the “humpback highway”. But spare a thought for those that fall victim to the human traps lurking along their path. Following recent whale entanglements off the south-east Queensland coast, the Humane Society International has issued a fresh appeal for a new and better approach to shark control, one that does not inflict suffering and death on our marine wildlife.  Read more here.

Saving wild homes: all ages art competition . . . The Queensland Conservation Council has just launched its annual art competition, on the theme of saving the homes of wildlife. This year the competition is open to all ages, with categories for under 10 yrs, 10 -16 yrs and 17 yrs and over. The competition is open until 31st August so you have plenty of time to hone your creative skills and start thinking about the topic. Click here to find out more details including how to enter.

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