Wednesday, December 23, 2009

C4 identifies major new road kill threat to Mission Beach Cassowaries

Within the latter part of a recent post Another Mission Beach Cassowary killed by a car at Mission Beach 20.12.2009, the recent construction of a bikeway at Mission beach was examined.
This issue has also been examined within The Inconvenient Cassowary ...C4 Press Release another recent blog story.

The new bikeway is interfering with the crossing of this road by Mission Beach’s endangered Southern Cassowaries. This is a situation which no one seems to want to take responsibility for or correct at this stage (including our Cassowary Coast Regional Council).

Community for Coastal and Cassowary Conservation (C4) are extremely concerned regarding recent incidents at this location and are working hard to try to minimize the road strike threat to this federally endangered bird at this popular crossing site.

Today I received the following document and wish to share it with you.

Cheers Russ

Monday, December 21, 2009

John Beasley: sculptor, woodworker, award winning naturalist and outstanding botanical author!

Throughout our lives we encounter people who we admire and respect though we may never have met them and today I would like to introduce you to one such person.

It was with great pleasure that I read the following article on 26 November 2009 by Cairns Post environment journalist Julie Lightfoot.
Click on image for larger view.

The Inconvenient Cassowary ...C4 Press Release

A quick introduction to this story as I have already said plenty today!

I would like to thank C4 for getting this information out so rapidly to the community and let them know their work to protect this keystone species is greatly appreciated.

So without further ado I shall pass you over to Liz Gallie and C4.

Cheers Russ

Another Mission Beach Cassowary killed by a car at Mission Beach 20.12.2009

Yesterday morning while I was examining the multitude of cassowary tracks that cross the Ella Bay Road, the noble bird was being killed by a vehicle strike at nearby Mission Beach.
I received the following message from cassowary conservation groupC4.

Sad day today as another adult cassowary is killed on Mission Beach roads. With the Christmas holidays fast approaching and no better road management strategy than a small 'recent crossing' sign in an 80 kph area we can only hold our breath in hope that there are no more fatalities. Media release will follow as more details come in.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Tableland Earthmoving and Raw Materials claims regarding Bruce Weir shot to pieces by SWAG using aerial photograph from 1949!

Well it looks like it’s time for another story about the Walsh River! On 11 December 2009 the following letter by Save the Walsh Action Group (SWAG) member, Alan Mackenzie, was published in the Tableland Advertiser.
Click on image for larger view

Alan’s letter was a response to an article in the Tableland Advertiser on 9 December 2009 in which TERM Director, Mr Sam Musumeci, said that the Queensland Department of Environment and Resource Management (DERM) were influenced by “mis-information” provided by sand mining opponents (read SWAG).

Monday, December 14, 2009

Rare Snubfin Dolphins sighted at Ella Bay

After recently talking to Blanche Danastas from Marine Wildlife Australia I made a mental note to keep an eye out for more coastal dolphins at Ella Bay on my next walk. Little did I know that I would see and photograph a listed rare species of dolphin whose presence at Ella Bay had previously only been verbal evidence provided by commercial fishermen.

On Saturday 12.12.2009 I went for a beach walk at Ella Bay and was greeted with a magnificent sunrise and birdsong.
I enjoyed a morning full of excitement. I saw White Breasted sea eagles, Cassowary scat and tracks, Brahminy kites, Ospreys, Beach thick knees and a host of other interesting plants and animals.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Mangoes and Cassowaries on the Ella Bay Road Part 2 - More food for thought!

The whole issue of cassowaries accessing food resources along the Ella Bay Road has been on my mind a fair bit lately after witnessing their attraction to the Mango trees that line the edges of the Ella Bay Road.
I am extremely concerned that property developer Ella Bay Pty Ltd plans to fence/widen this road potentially isolating or removing valuable cassowary food trees. That this is being proposed within and adjacent to a World Heritage National Park amplifies these concerns.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

DERM says NO to TERM’s proposed Bruce Weir sand mine on the Walsh River

Save the Walsh Action Group (SWAG) won a battle on 27 November 2009 when the Queensland Department of Environment and Resource Management refused to give Tableland Earthmoving and Raw Materials (TERM) their approval to conduct sand mining upstream from the Bruce Weir.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Cowley Beach access decision likely - reports Innisfail Advocate

Environmental damage from unregulated traffic including cars, four wheel drives, quad bikes and motor bikes continues along the dunes and foreshore of Innisfail’s Cowley Beach.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Mangoes and Cassowaries on the Ella Bay Road - food for thought!

Alongside the Ella Bay Road you will see many Mango trees Mangifera indica.
Of course they are not native to Australia and were probably planted along the road by local people years ago as a low maintenance seasonal source of fresh fruit.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Jayden Dowdle helps marine turtle in distress

On 18 November 2009 whilst looking at “Letters to the Editor” (LTE) in the Cairns Post I stumbled upon this gem by Jayden Dowdle, age 13 of Kanimbla.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Credit where credit is due!

Last wet season Ella Bay Pty Ltd had problems with runoff and silt flowing into the creeks and ocean as the following photos illustrate. It appears their silt traps were not up to the the flow off the hillsides can be awesome.
After all, this area does have one of the highest rainfalls in Australia.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Coral Sea Heritage Park - Great news for recreational fisherman!

Before I start let me say I am no ‘fish hugger’! I am a conservationist for sure but I have been passionate about recreational fishing since I was a lad! I remember saving like mad for my first ABU fishing reel when they were still hand made in Sweden and Shimano was some mob that made parts for poncy 10 speed racing bikes! Oops I owned a 10 speed racer but it was justified as I had to get to my fishing spots somehow!

The two activities, fishing and conservation are far from mutually exclusive and I know many amateur fishers who I would rate as having great attitudes towards environmental issues.

I recently noticed an ad in the Innisfail Advocate regarding the proposed Coral Sea Heritage Park. I thought it was great as in a short concise manner it gave recreational fishers some facts.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Rare Golden sleepy cod threatened by TERM sand mining in Walsh River at Dimbulah

When I started this blog I had a very clear picture in my head of the areas it would cover, Ella Bay and Bramston Beach, easy peasy! I forgot to factor in one thing….MERIT!

Today’s story is a prime example, as the area I am writing about is just less than 100 kilometres west of my home but I have a historical link with this area and it faces a threat that could wipe out an extremely rare colour form of a native Australian fish that is very important to me.
Photo by Max Wingfield.

I first want to tell you a bit about this area with maps, words, photos and links and after this I will tell you about the fish!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Cairns Post reports ‘Fears over beach 4WD’ at Cowley Beach

Once again Cairns Post journalist Julie Lightfoot has beaten other regional papers to the punch and reported on the dangerous and environmentally destructive situation at Cowley Beach in her story ‘Fears over beach 4WD’ published today in the Weekend Post. My respect to the Cairns Post for reporting local news for local readers.
Click on image to enlarge.

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Ray of the Day at Ella Bay

Ella Bay’s Whiptail ray Himantura uarnak…at least that’s what I thought it was!
As I returned from a walk along Ella Bay I noticed a large dead stingray being washed around in the shallows.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Cairns Post reports….Mission Beach hit-run kills adult cassowary

Cairns Post journalist Julie Lightfoot certainly didn’t waste any time reporting the recent death of a mature Cassowary at Mission beach but then I would not expect anything less from the Cairns Post’s number one environment journalist!
It’s the same tragic killing I blogged about earlier.

However Julie is a much better wordsmith than me!

Cassowary Coast Regional Council’s mismanagement encourages dune damage at Cowley Beach

I decided to visit Cowley beach a week ago and see for myself just how bad the vehicle damage to Cowley’s coastal dunes really was.

I posted a story about Cowley Beach a few months ago "Council inaction encourages environmental abuse at Cowley Beach". Surely what I’m being told is exaggerated I thought.

In no time at all I saw firsthand that I was wrong, very wrong!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Mission beach loses another endangered Cassowary to a hit run driver

Today I received a media release from Liz Gallie and the management team at Community for Coastal and Cassowary Conservation (C4). It was all bad news as our region has lost another endangered southern cassowary today to a hit run driver.
Photo by Liz Gallie

People sometimes ask why I am so strongly opposed to the proposed Ella Bay urban development/resort complex and all I can say is look at the photos, read the story, and there is your answer.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Bob Irwin speaks up for Endangered Cassowaries at Mission Beach

Earlier in the week, On 7 November 2009, Cairns Post environment journalist Julie Lightfoot wrote an article about Bob Irwin’s visit to Mission Beach: "Steve Irwin’s dad joins cassowary fight".

Just in case you are one of the 5 people on this planet who don’t know, Bob Irwin is the father of the late Steve Irwin “The Crocodile Hunter”.
Photo by Julie Lightfoot from Cairns Post.

Bob is committed to wildlife and conservation and has put his weight behind many campaigns to protect threatened wildlife and habitats. I applaud him for doing his bit to help our endangered southern cassowary at Mission Beach.

Today I read another article in the Cairns Post about Bob Irwin that I would like to share with you.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Saw-shelled turtles living next to Ella Bay Road

After a walk at Ella Bay I stopped near a creek on the Ella Bay Road to fish watch and relax before leaving for home.
Whilst looking into a creek on the western side of the Ella Bay Road I spotted something unusual and decided to have a closer look.

Monday, November 9, 2009

CAFNEC screening of 'The End of the Line' -.Brilliant!

Well the big night finally arrived! On Friday 6 November Cairns And Far North Environment Centre (CAFNEC) and End Credits Film Club presented "The End of the Line" a film by Rupert Murray.
Prior to the start of the show I got to check out the great display CAFNEC had assembled in the foyer. Fortunately I arrived early and could get some photos before a few hundred people were blocking my shots!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Torres Imperial-pigeons along the Ella Bay Road

A fortnight ago, after a long walk at Ella Bay I chanced upon a flock of Torres Imperial-pigeons Ducula spilorrhoa. They were feeding amongst the tree tops near the car park on the Ella Bay Road.

As I approached they were wheeling in and out amongst the trees so you have to excuse the quality of my photographs! I snapped off a few quick insurance shots before I even recognised what sort of birds they were.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Cassowary Fruits along the Ella Bay Road

Ok I know I have been promising a story on the Cassowary Plum Cerbera floribunda but this is the story before that story!
Before I start I want to give a warning. Many rainforest fruits despite looking very handsome are in fact very toxic. Please don’t eat any rainforest fruit unless you absolutely positively know what you are doing. Here endeth the warning!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Earthworks at Ella Bay

I had some concerned people contact me and ask about construction work at Ella Bay so I thought I had best blog about it and clarify the situation!

As many of you know I had a few photos of earthworks at Ella Bay within my story ‘Pig Hunters coming from Satori’s property into Ella Bay National Park?’. There was lots of activity and machinery at work as per the photos below

Monday, October 26, 2009

6 Nov (Fri) "The end of the line: Imagine a world without fish"

Well once again this is not the Cassowary Plum story I promised however it is something of interest especially to local people from the Cairns area!
Click on image for a larger view.

On Friday November 6 2009 CAFNEC and End Credits Film Club will present Cairns only screening of the movie "The end of the line" a film by Rupert Murray, narrated by Ted Danson.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Pig Hunters coming from Satori’s property into Ella Bay National Park?

Well before I start this story I want to let you know Satori’s property is sealed off to unauthorised vehicle traffic. The access road is blocked to vehicle access by a rather solid gate with the mama of all padlocks on it!
Oh and hidden cameras too!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Cassowaries at Mission Beach: Recovery or Extinction

Today I got the green light to share a great new brochure with you that has been produced by inspirational Mission Beach artist Liz Gallie and her talented co volunteers at C4 (Community for Coastal and Cassowary Conservation).

I have been excited by this project for quite a while now as the concept is brilliant and the graphics on the brochure are awesome (download here, PDF).

Cerbera manghas at Ella Bay

The Cassowary plum's deadly cousin!

Ok I know I promised a story about Ella Bay’s beautiful Cassowary plum Cerbera floribunda in my last post but instead I want to introduce you to Cerbera manghas a closely related and very poisonous species. It has a few common names including beach mango, rubber tree, native frangipani, fish poison tree and dog bane. I will use the common name native frangipani in this story and when you see the flowers you will know why!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Ella Bay’s Magnificent Mackinlaya Fruit

Before I start I’ve got a bit of a warning to you all. Many Australian rainforest fruits are very toxic and as yummy as they appear, please don’t give them a taste test as they can make you really ill. Here endeth the warning!

A few months ago I noticed a beautiful rainforest shrub growing within metres of the beach at Ella Bay. Upon returning to my home I did a bit of Google searching, emailed some friendly experts and deduced it was the rainforest shrub Mackinlaya confusa or the very similar Mackinlaya macrosciadea but as the fruit on it matured I became more convinced it was confusa….are you confused yet?? Let’s just play it safe and call it a Mackinlaya!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Satori's 'innovative' cassowary gate exposed as ineffective Canadian deer gate!

A couple of weeks ago I got a heads up that there was a cassowary gate story in the Innisfail Advocate so I grabbed a copy and had a bit of a look. Sure enough there it was ‘Big birds trial road safety gate’.

I have been waiting with bated breath to find out details of Satori’s ‘innovative’ new Cassowary gate. Sadly I was disappointed to find it was just a deer gate with what looks like ping pong balls on the end of the tines/prongs! Suffice to say it didn’t rock my world!!
Here's the story by Lea Guy from the Innisfail Advocate

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

False Cape receives another development freeze from Environment Minister Peter Garrett AM MP

Before I start just a warning that all photographs in this story are the property of Mr Steven Nowakowski and are copyright. He has been kind enough to share these images with me and you too so in return here’s a little plug for his website…check out .Thanks Steven and here’s the story!

I don’t like some of Minister Garrett’s decisions however this is one that anyone with a bit of brains can see deserves a big green tick.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Ella Bay Beach Walk: 13 August 2009

Where does the time go to?

I have been busy on a few conservation projects lately that I unfortunately can’t blog about so the poor Ellabayforever blog has been a bit neglected but I am back with more news!

The 13th of August was a great day not just because the sun was shining and I had a day off work but even better my better half Sara had a day off too so we went for a walk at Ella Bay.

I wanted to record some cultural sites to share with traditional owners who have kindly shared some of their knowledge of Ella Bay with me. I was also keen to get some fresh air into my system after shaking the dreaded flu!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Cassowaries on ABC 26 July (Sun) 7.30pm

I have been that busy photographing and writing about Ella Bay’s Indo-pacific humpback dolphins that I forgot to give you all a decent “heads up” about a cassowary documentary which is making its debut on the ABC 1.

It’s a documentary by Bianca Keeley called CASSOWARIES which I thought was a great title!

From what I can find out it is about cassowaries at Mission Beach post cyclone Larry.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Ella Bay's Humpback dolphins enchant local media

I have been interviewed in some fairly interesting places at times. In the middle of nowhere next to an armoured personnel carrier, next to a burnt out building on a sidewalk but inside Supercheap Auto, Innisfail whilst seated on a 10 litre oil can was a whole new experience. I’m sure some people wondered who that crazy guy was, waving one hand round in the air whilst talking into his mobile phone at a million miles an hour about these fascinating creatures!

Then again I have an excuse as I was talking to intelligent and highly regarded Cairns Post journalist Ms Julie Lightfoot. Recently I have been very impressed at her stories about Cowley Beach and Liz Gallie’s amazing Quoll find at Mission Beach. Her stories have often made the purchase of this local newspaper feel like good value!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Ella Bay Indo-pacific dolphins in the news!

Well it seems I'm back talking about Indo-pacific dolphins again which isn't so bad!

On Wednesday I received a phone call from Townsville Bulletin journalist Daniel Bateman who was almost as excited about Ella Bay's Indo-pacific humpback dolphins as I am! So I did my best to fill in the gaps for Daniel and I certainly can't complain about the story he wrote.

There's a certain something about these playful cetaceans that touches us all and I believe if our own species had chosen the ocean instead of good old terra firma we would probably have evolved to be just like them. Every year scientists spend billions of dollars attempting to communicate with intelligent life in outer space yet these amazing intelligent creatures are living right on our own doorstep.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Ella Bay...More Indo-pacific dolphin sightings!

Ok I am now onto my third and fourth dolphin sighting at Ella Bay.

The third sighting was on the fourth of July and was pretty uninspiring to be honest!!
I was at the Heath Point picnic ground when a single Indo-pacific humpback dolphin decided to zoom past on its way to Ella Bay to the north.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Two sightings of Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins at Ella Bay

It’s been a busy time lately and I have been a bit lax about blogging about Ella Bay itself but today I will make amends!

On Monday 29 June and Tuesday 30 June 2009 I had the most awesome dolphin sightings at Ella Bay that anyone could wish for!
It all began on the Monday when I stepped out of my car at the council car park and an Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin leapt out of the water directly in front of my vehicle. I hot footed it to the shore with camera in hand so fast I had to race back after a couple of minutes of photos to lock my car and turn the engine off!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Council inaction encourages environmental abuse at Cowley Beach

When I started this blog I wanted to focus on Ella Bay and Bramston Beach but I have since realised that conservation issues in the coastal wet tropics of Australia are all interrelated and so will sometimes do stories on nearby beaches such as Mission Beach and Cowley beach.

I will remain focused on Ella Bay however the sad situation at Cowley Beach is a warning that can not be ignored.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Joov the Fringe Dweller on "I and the Bird"

The Cassowary and Ella Bay is on this week's "I and the Bird" carnival!

This week's edition is hosted by Amber Coakley on the Birder's Lounge. Amber has created a fantastic world-wide adventure for this 102th edition of the Carnival!

Amber says "To give you an idea of where-in-the-world our contributors and their birdy-encounters are coming from, I’ve shown a map representing each post. Each map attempts to show you the general location of the birds discussed, and includes an overview map so that you can see which continent you are virtually visiting. Just click on each map and you will be transported to each exciting place around the globe."

Amber has generously included Liz Gallie's moving entry Joov the Fringe Dweller on this blog and says "My heart goes out to these amazing birds and their struggle to survive as the urban sprawl takes it toll."

Thank you Amber!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


Recently I received a letter from Liz Gallie a member of cassowary conservation group C4. It highlighted the dangers posed to endangered southern cassowaries by fences around urban developments.

This is of particular interest to me as developer Satori is suggesting within their Ella Bay proposal that roadside fencing be established to funnel cassowaries toward road crossing points. I strongly oppose this as it may funnel birds from neighbouring territories into the same area with the potential for territorial fighting. Fencing could isolate cassowaries from important seasonal foods such as white apples Syzygium forte which grow to the East of the Ella Bay access road. Fencing can also physically separate adults and juveniles leading to stress, injury or death.

As the following letter and images clearly illustrate fencing is no friend to our cassowaries and is not the solution to keeping them safe. Thankyou Liz, Karen and C4 and with no further words from me here’s the story ...

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Joov the Fringe Dweller by Liz Gallie

Today I received this great story from my friend Liz Gallie. Her property at Bingil Bay is frequented by our endangered southern cassowaries. Liz regularly shares her observations with me I am sure you will agree that Liz’s cassowary photos are without equal.

Often when reading so many statistics relating to these amazing birds I worry they might become numbers on a page to me. When I get bogged down with the facts and figures (believe me a lot of the statistics aren’t very pretty) I sit down and have a coffee and think about Joov and other cassowaries Liz has shared with me in her emails and photos. I wonder how their day is going and what challenges they are facing but mostly I hope they are alive and well as with a total population of about 1200 birds every individual is vital if this species is to avoid extinction. Again thank you Liz and I invite you all to read about Joov the fringe dweller.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Indo-pacific dolphins sighted at Bramston Beach

Last Sunday I was keen on a beach walk. Perhaps I needed to thaw the cold that had crept into my bones during a recent visit to Victoria or maybe it was the perfect blue skies but the urge to visit salt water could not be ignored!

The tide was out and the ocean was very calm considering it was almost midday. As usual I scanned the ocean hoping to see a sea eagle or dolphin.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Ella Bay’s Spectacular Spectacled Flying Fox

Ella Bay is home to the spectacled flying fox Pteropus conspicillatus.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Sea Turtles - a poem by Matilda Bishop

Sea Turtles

Swimming slowly, in the sea
This is where sea turtles can be
Swimming straightly up and down
Swimming, blending, to the ground
Bunch of jellies, swim together
Lightly, lightly like a feather
There goes one, there goes two
Then scares another like saying 'boo'
This is where we find turtles in the sea
This is where they be
They would like to stay
on earth like you
So help these animals
stay here, too!!

Matilda Bishop aged 10, loves Ella Bay as well turtles!

Ellie Bock, President of the Cairns and Far North Environment Centre forwarded this poem for sharing on the Ella Bay blog.

The gorgeous watercolour of the splendid sea turtle is by Kimberley Payard, a Far North Queensland artist whose love affair with the sea goes as far back as she can remember. For nearly two decades, she has lived and worked on the Great Barrier Reef as an adventure diver and professional underwater photographer. Her website is dedicated to restoring the balance of nature on our planet.

Thank you ladies for sharing these wonderful expressions of our beloved marine life!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

King Ferns at Ella Bay

There are giants at Ella Bay!

They don’t eat small children or destroy whole villages and they’re no good at climbing beanstalks either.

These giants are botanical giants and of course I’m talking about the King Fern Angiopteris evecta. Satori’s environmental consultants have not mentioned this amazing plant once as it’s not a listed species in Queensland.
Jeff the entomologist and Angiopteris evecta

Friday, May 15, 2009

Ella Bay's Goshawk wins Award on "I and the Bird"

The special 100th edition of "I and the Bird" hosted by the superlative Nature Blog Network handed out many awards to a wide range of outstanding blog entries.
It was a great pleasure for the Ella Bay blog to win the "Best example of Raptor Reality" award for the post about Ella Bay's Goshawk!

Mike Bergin of 10000 birds put together this amazing post and he shared that "Once I began to process the torrential flood of posts from tonight’s stellar contributors, I nearly passed out. No seriously, it’s a good thing my wife is Red Cross certified."

Thank you Mike for featuring Ella Bay and its wonderful Goshawk in this very special edition of the carnival.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Grey Goshawk: Ella Bay’s Deadly Forest Assassin

The Grey Goshawk Accipiter novaehollandiae lives at Ella Bay.
(Photo by

This noble forest predator is listed as rare by the Nature Conservation Act although it may be found in every Australian state. It is not a huge bird, measuring from 40 to 55 cm long and weighing up to 680 grams (larger birds are females).

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Ella Bay Mangroves

On the eastern side of the Ella Bay access road at the mouth of a creek you can find a beautiful small mangrove wetland.It is so close to the road that gravel from the road washes down to the water’s edge.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

A road to Cassowary extinction

There’s an access road between Ella Bay and Flying Fish Point that’s approximately 4 kilometres long. It’s not a wide road and much of it is single lane. It’s not a smooth road as most of it is unsealed. Most importantly it’s not a fast road as it has a speed limit of 40 km/hr as every metre of it is used by the endangered southern cassowary.
It’s a road I want to tell you about as it has the potential to kill off Ella Bay’s cassowaries to the point of local extinction.

Words cannot describe the beauty of this road in its present state so please forgive me if I am a bit heavy handed with my photographs.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Good Vibes for Ella Bay

With a line up of Townsville’s most inspiring bands, there was no better way to share Marine Wildlife Australia’s first ever fundraiser for a cause more than worthy.

The venue was extraordinary as expected, Martas Café and Art Gallery was the perfect setting - their hospitality and support is greatly appreciated by all involved.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Ella Bay's Cassowaries on "I and the Bird"

The Cassowary and Ella Bay is on this week's "I and the Bird" carnival!

This week's edition is hosted by Nick Sly on his Biological Ramblings. Nick says "One of the things I love is the diversity itself, so I set about in this, the 98th edition of I and the Bird, to quantify just how many avian species and families we can pack into one biweekly blog carnival. And man, you guys did not make mine an easy job! Bird bloggers submitted an impressive total of 190 species of birds spanning 65 families and 142 genera."

Nick has generously included the Forest Gardeners on this blog as "the only ratite bird for the carnival, and the most fearsome one at that".

Thank you Nick!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

17 Apr (Fri): "Live for Ella Bay Rainforest"

Martas Art Gallery presents "LIVE FOR ELLA BAY RAINFOREST".

Marine Wildlife Australia, Martas Art Gallery and The Bandawalla Moons have teamed up help save Ella Bay rainforest.

Ella Bay receives overwhelming support at MWA Bluesfest event

Representatives from Marine Wildlife Australia have just returned from the Byron Bluesfest where they had to endure sleep deprivation, dancing and some of the best music on the planet over a period of several days!

Yesterday I received an email from Cassandra, a MWA volunteer that started like this ...

Friday, April 17, 2009

Ella Bay in the news: Marine conservationists call for government to stop resort development at Ella Bay

Marine conservationists call for government to stop resort development at Ella Bay
ABC News 16 Apr 09

Conservationists fighting to protect marine turtles in Ella Bay continue to object to a multi-billion dollar urban development that would potentially disrupt wildlife in a World Heritage National Park.

Two months ago the discovery of nearly fifty marine turtles' nesting sites in and around Ella Bay raised concerns among environmental organisations.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Southern Cassowary - Death by 1,000 cuts

Hello again readers. This story begins with a warning and I need you to read this.

The following story contains graphic pictures of dead and injured southern cassowaries. The images are not pretty but then again neither is the future for the cassowaries if our Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett AM MP neglects his legal and moral duty to protect these endangered birds at Ella Bay. This article looks at the reality of the situation facing these endangered birds, a reality many developers and perhaps the government would prefer you to remain ignorant of.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Marine Wildlife Australia and marine mammals of Ella Bay

Gifted marine biologist, Blanche Danastas from Marine Wildlife Australia has frequently expressed her grave concern for the marine life at Ella Bay. Not just the turtles but also dugong and dolphin species. She has recently been awarded sponsorship by Vodafone to support her work to protect Australia’s threatened marine mammals especially our only native dolphin the snubfin dolphin whose territory includes Ella bay.
Snubfin dolphin (Photo by Dr Guido Parra)

Monday, April 6, 2009

Cassowary family torn apart by dog attack, by Liz Gallie

Foreword by Russ

Recently I have been fortunate enough to illustrate my blog with photos provided by Mission Beach artist and cassowary campaigner Liz Gallie. Liz and other members of C4 (Community for Coastal and Cassowary Conservation) work tirelessly not only to protect our regions remaining endangered cassowaries but also to halt the destruction of this birds rapidly disappearing habitat. This very moment urban developments and resorts continue encroaching onto diminishing cassowary habitat. Liz has generously allowed me to share one of her recent articles with you and I’m sure some of you will recognize the birds from my recent posts.

Through emails and amazing photographs I have become familiar with the cassowary family Liz has described within her article. I am upset to hear the news and sadly the events Liz describes are not uncommon in this part of Australia. Our own home is only just seeing the return of a cassowary after a years work to destroy a pack of at least 8 wild dogs.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Forest Gardeners

I’ve been thinking that the developers at Ella Bay should perhaps think about advertising for a special type of gardener if their proposed 450 hectare urban development/resort actually gets approval from the Federal Government.

Their advertisement could go a bit like this:
Wanted: skilled rainforest seed collectors/planters/gardeners (at least 7 positions available)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Ella Bay, Turtles and me

A few people have asked what got me interested in Ella Bay so I thought the blog is a great place to tell it!

I was at the Bramston Beach boat ramp last December putting the kayak on the car when my kayaking friend Tim Connolly paddled into the creek. After telling him about a cluster of marine turtle nests near Joyce Creek Tim suggested we visit Ella Bay as he had seen what he believed to be marine turtle sign on the beach there. I had never seen this place that everyone raves about so how could I refuse the invitation!

TALE field trip to Ella Bay

On Monday 16 March 2009 I had a very pleasant surprise visit from members of TALE (Tropical Aquatic Life Enthusiasts).

They had travelled from Cairns and were keen on a field trip to Ella Bay. TALE is a unique group as their members are not just interested in fish. Individual members specialise in aquatic vegetation, snails, turtles, invertebrates, reptiles and their President Mr Bob Kroll is even a butterfly expert.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Dead Queensland Groper at Nind creek

I just received a email this morning from Ellie, the president of CAFNEC. This fish was about 10 km from the dead Ella Bay fish. It’s a different fish to mine (see this post) as this one had no spine.Ellie says:
We photographed this groper head in the Nind's creek - Johnstone River estuary on 17 December 2008. A fishing friend of ours also advises that when gropers are hooked and bought to the surface for release their air bladders tend to rupture and thus they cannot re-submerge even if successfully released, plus floating on the top of the water makes them prime targets for sharks and crocs. We suspect that's what happened to this one.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Frogs on the walls

These are some of the white lipped green tree frogs that live at our place. At night insects are attracted to the windows and our little green friends reap the harvest!
Because of the steepness of the wall they are also safe from snakes which is a double get to pick from the menu without becoming someone else's menu!

We give up on keeping these windows clean...would rather frogs than clean windows any day!

Large dead Queensland Groper

On Saturday 21 March 2009 Tim Connolly, Sara Dobson and myself went for a Kayak/walk at Ella Bay (North of the creek mouth) and we found the remains of a large Queensland Groper Epinephelus lanceolatus.
Here's photographs of this fish.
Its lower jaw had been damaged perhaps by someone removing a fish hook. It was concealed in the sand with only its head/spine visible.

Nearby at the creek/lagoon there was sign of recent fishing activity however this is not relevant as the carcass is well over a week old. As you are aware this species is a no take protected marine species so its death could be of interest to you and that is the reason for this email.

I am also aware that Queensland Gropers have been dying in this region due to a bacterial infection so perhaps this may be the cause of death though this would not explain the damage to the fish’s lower jaw.

Here's a relevant article from the Cairns Post regarding this matter.
The death of any protected marine species is significant especially within such an environmentally sensitive area. I hope this information is of some use. If you require further details or higher resolution photographs please feel free to contact me.
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