Showing posts from March, 2013

Australia Day storms brings seabirds onshore

Cyclone Oswald battered North Stradbroke Island over the Australia Day weekend knocking over trees, taking out the power and disrupting the ferries. However some keen birders who specialise in seawatching and love ocean-going pelagic birds were in their element (out in the wild winds on Point Lookout!). Cyclonic winds and storms blow seabirds – which mostly live well out to sea - onshore. On Australia Day, in just seven hours from 8am-3pm Colin Reid spotted a fantastic array of seabirds including Black-winged Petrel, White-necked Petrel, Streaked Shearwater, 1000s of Wedge-tailed Shearwater, Buller's Shearwater, Sooty Shearwater, Short-tailed Shearwater, Fluttering Shearwater, Hutton's Shearwater, Pomarine Skua, Arctic Skua and 27 Sooty Tern! Colin, who has seawatched at Straddie many times, said that it was ‘one of the best we’ve ever had off Pt Lookout’. Sadly not all the seabirds survived the high winds. The rarely sighted White-tailed Tropic Bird pictured below was found …

The 2013 Stradbroke Chamber Music Festival

Date claimer 26 to 28 July Artistic Director Rachel Smith returns from her music making in snowy climes to sunny Straddie to bring us an inspirational new program. Rarely performed chamber versions of the famous Sinfonia Concertante of Mozart in string sextet version and the septet version of Strauss’s sublime Metamorphosen.

The string players include Rachel Smith, Louise King, Sophie Rowell, Caroline Henbest and returning from the Scottish Chamber orchestra, Eric de Wit.

Another special experience to enliven the imagination will be Montmorensy (pianist and singer Paul Hankinson) performing in a Berlin- style piano cabaret at the surf lifesaving club.

Rachel and the musicians will return to Dunwich State School to energise the kids in their musical endeavours. Dunwich will also be the venue for a day of music starting with a lively animal- themed family concert on Sunday morning.

For those who have attended the festival in previous years this has become an unmissable annual event, fo…

NSI Field Guide Update

Work on FOSI’s field guide to North Stradbroke Island is progressing well with the project on track. While the production of the field guide is being mostly funded by a fantastic donation from the Jani Haenke Memorial Trust, this is a community project which relies on the generous volunteer contributions of a large number of FOSI members and other people who care about Straddie. Thank you also to the FOSI members who have donated funds to assist with the costs of producing the field guide.

Members and local bush walkers have been hard at work researching the walks and natural areas to be described in the field guide.

Lee Curtis who is helping with the writing of the book has been working on the flora reference section containing around 120 plant photos and descriptions. Lee has also written drafts of the reference sections for the mammals and marine animals which are currently in the expert checking phase. 

The bird reference section is well advanced with a good first draft completed…

‘Hollow Promises’

The following article by Sue Ellen Carew, FOSI President was published in the Stradbroke Island News - Summer 2012

Sand mining continues to destroy old growth forests and animal habitat on Stradbroke It may come as a surprise to many visitors holidaying on the island over summer to learn that North Stradbroke Island is still being mined. There are still three large active mines. The mining company, Sibelco, plans to close the Yarraman sand mine near Point Lookout in 2015. The giant Enterprise sand mine in the middle of the island – you can see it from the headland at Point Lookout – is currently allowed to keep working for another seven years until 2020, thanks to the former government’s renewal of expired mining leases. The silica mine at Vance near the Amity turnoff, in prime koala country, is currently allowed to keep working until 2025.

The giant Enterprise and Yarraman mines work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The company continues to lobby to be allowed to continue mining for …

Can Sibelco Hold Back The Gushing Waters?

Since October last year water has been gushing at an alarming rate from dunes and rushing through normally dry watercourses near the Yarraman mine. Yarraman is the nearest mine to Point Lookout and clearly visible from the headland lookouts.

New lakes have formed, where there were none, drowning areas of vegetation. The damage has occurred outside the mining lease in areas north of the well-known Keyholes. In January a number of FOSI members together with an scientific expert accompanied representatives of the traditional owners to inspect the off-lease water flows and environmental impacts.

The miner Sibelco appears to be locked in a battle to control the outflow from the island’s sensitive hydrological system and aquifer. Miners have a long record of this kind of damage to the island with drowned forest and drained lakes as their legacy.

But…. this was not meant to happen again. The “science” had advanced, more knowledge meant more predictability and greater ability to control th…

Sibelco on trial

On 1 March, 2013 a Brisbane Magistrate ordered that Stradbroke miner Sibelco Australia Limited pay the State’s Environment Department an unprecedented $254,687.00 in legal costs. What’s it all about?

Sibelco is being prosecuted for two criminal offences for unlawfully removing Stradbroke island sand from the island and selling it for landscaping and other purposes without Redland Council approval.

The legal costs were incurred by the government department in successfully opposing several failed attempts by Unimin/Sibelco to stop the trial. Sibelco claimed that the criminal charges were an ‘abuse of process’. The Magistrate rejected the claim.

On 1 March, the magistrate also dismissed the company’s application that it had no case to answer on the two criminal charges being heard by the court. The trial is to continue later this year.

What has become a legal saga commenced on 16 December, 2008, when investigators from the former Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) executed a search…

Dead seabirds needed for plastic pollution study

Plastic Peril

Every bit of plastic every human has ever used is still somewhere on the earth!

Plastics can only break down into smaller pieces as they are attacked by U.V. and buffeted by the sea. These ever-smaller particles can actually pick up and concentrate chemical pollutants such as mercury and pesticides.

Plastics in the ocean are mistaken for food by seabirds, fish and turtles causing suffocation, blockages and death.

Tiny particles, now bearing an extra dose of chemicals, are digested by sea creatures and enter the food chain with unknown consequences for humans. In the North Sea micro-plastics, a constituent of cosmetic “exfoliants”, have been discovered in the internal organs of fish caught for human consumption.

Please re-examine your use of plastics and look for alternatives. After all, only 50 years ago we had no choice but to use glass, cloth, hessian, paper, cardboard, wood , metal and cane baskets.

FOSI members are well-placed, as they amble along our beautiful beaches, to gather…

Return to paper newsletters

That’s right it’s back to the future for FOSI. We’ve decided to start printing our newsletters again and mailing them to members. That is because members told us the newsletters were getting lost in the email junk cramming their inboxes! So help us make the most of the return to paper by putting your copy of the newsletter where as many people as possible can read it and keep up to date with what is happening on our beautiful island! If your friends and family like what they see why not encourage them to become a member of FOSI?
The printed newsletters are black and white but that really doesn’t do justice to the lovely photos our dedicated members contribute. We recommend checking out the full colour PDF we will still email so you may see the photographs in all their glory!
If you aren’t currently receiving the newsletter by email and would like to, please send your email address to Edith McPhee at Thank you.