Showing posts from July, 2013

Vance criminal prosecution saga continues

The long running prosecution of Sibelco for unlawful extraction continues on 24 July, this time in the Brisbane Supreme Court in George Street.
The Supreme Court already held, more than 3 years ago, that Sibelco's mining rights only allow it to take minerals and that the non-mineral sand is to be used in rehabilitation of mined land, unless it has the required permits to remove it. But Sibelco's criminal liability is yet to be decided.

On 24 July Sibelco is making yet another challenge against the prosecution, based on a technicality.

The company wants the Supreme Court to overrule the Magistrate's decision in March this year that it has a case to answer on the charge under the Environmental Protection Act, that it unlawfully extracted large quantities of non-mineral sand over several years without a permit.

Meanwhile, efforts to have the charges upgraded to stealing and fraud continue. If this occurred, the multi-million dollar profits it made could be recovered upon c…

Motorized traffic severely impacts beach birds

A recent scientific study undertaken on Fraser Island found that motorized traffic is the prime agent of disturbance to birds on ocean beaches. 
Below is the abstract from the paper ‘’Human recreation alters behaviour profiles of non-breeding birds on open-coast sandy shores’’ By Schlacher, TA; Nielsen, T; Weston, MA. Published in ESTUARINE COASTAL AND SHELF SCIENCE (Volume: 118 Pages: 31-42 FEB 10 2013.) 
Sandy beaches are primarily valued for their amenity and property values rather than for their ecological functions and properties. Some human usage of beaches potentially conflicts with the conservation and management of wildlife, such as beach-dwelling birds, on sandy shorelines. Because responses by birds to environmental change, including disturbance by humans, often involve behaviours that carry fitness costs, we quantify behaviour profiles of birds in relation to human occurrence along 200 km of sandy shoreline in Eastern Australia, including the large conservation area of Fras…

Winter seabirds arriving at Straddie

On a wet and windy Sunday in June, Colin Reid and three fellow seabird aficionados had a great bird watching session at Point Lookout. Seabirds, which breed over summer on sub-Antarctic Islands in Bass strait and off southern Australia, are starting to arrive at Straddie to forage over winter.

A great variety of birds were spotted, including:
3 Black-browed Albatross 2 Northern Giant Petrels 14 Great-winged Petrels 2 White-headed Petrels (very rare for Stradbroke) 1 Kermadec Petrel (another rarity for NSI) 2 Prion sp (most likely Fairy) 1 Brown Booby 80 Common Noddies ~100 Australian Gannets (60% juveniles) 10 Fluttering/Hutton's type Shearwaters and – in the water – 10 Humpbacks!

Letter to Editor Straddie Island News Winter 2013 issue

Friends of Stradbroke Island disagrees with Bill Giles’ assertions in his letter in Easter SIN. It is a matter of hard fact, science and just common-sense that sand mining is causing serious, permanent environmental damage to the island. Tourism is and will remain the mainstay of the Stradbroke economy.

It doesn't make any sense to continue sand mining when it is damaging future business prospects and employment. For people with talent and vision, there are many opportunities in nature-based recreation, tourism, education and health and this will create employment for other people who wish to live and work on the island.

This long term approach triumphed in the 70's and 80's when sand mining was stopped everywhere else on the populated East Coast of Australia. These communities have generally flourished. Sand mining on North Stradbroke Island is out of step and has been for decades.

Preserving the natural beauty of the island is the only sensible approach.

Obviously tour…

Fox Free Stradbroke Island?

A concerted effort to stop the ongoing spread of foxes on North Stradbroke Island must be a priority, if native species are to be protected.  One of the most loved elements of North Stradbroke Island, aside from the spectacular beaches, is the pristine environment and the native animals that inhabit it. 
Unbeknownst to many, these animals are at threat, as the number of predatory red foxes continues to grow on the Island.

Michael Dickinson, a former National Parks ranger, and now a wildlife spotter and catcher, has been undertaking fox and feral animal control for the Redland City Council on its island land for the past four years. In that time Michael has trapped 118 foxes. “It’s thought that foxes started appearing on NSI in the mid-1930s and their numbers have steadily grown. Just from my work here, I estimate there’d be over 1000 foxes now living on the Island.” said Dickinson.

Many Island residents regularly spot foxes, and they are picked up on wildlife monitoring cameras and re…

Dugongs in Moreton Bay

A shy creature, distantly related to the elephant, which communicates by chirps, whistles and barks –­ the dugong may be one of Moreton Bay’s least seen and most fascinating inhabitants. Approximately 1000 dugongs live in the warm waters of the sheltered and shallow bay. Globally, however, there are serious threats to this gentle animal’s survival. The World Conservation Union lists the dugong as vulnerable to extinction.

The name dugong derives from a Malay word meaning Lady of the Sea, yet elsewhere they are less-flatteringly referred to as Sea Cows, due to their diet of seagrass.

They are the only marine herbivorous sea mammals in the world and have been observed to suckle their young for up to five years, even though calves start eating seagrass at three months old.

Solitary animals, they travel alone or in pairs for most of their 70-year lifespan, although they have been seen in herds of 10 to 300.

Their distant relationship to the elephant goes some way to explaining the dugong…

Stradbroke Chamber Music Festival 2013, 26-28 July