The following is an article that I have submitted for inclusion in the next
(September) edition of WA Bird Notes (our local Birds Australia newsletter).
Now I guess that I had better take my own advice and write a few letters .......
Threat To Cairns Foreshore
The Esplanade foreshore in Cairns is again under threat of development. The
Cairns birders are asking for assistance. They would like people to write
letters (one paragraph would be sufficient) to the Mayor, Cairns City
Council, 151 Abbott Street, Cairns North Queensland 4870 and to Premier
Rob Borbidge, Level 15, 100 George Street, Brisbane Queensland 4000. The
Cairns BOCA, PO Box 2910, Cairns North Queensland 4870 would appreciate a
The Cairns foreshore was originally created by clearing the mangroves (I
believe this was about 100 years ago), and it is kept clear by weeding out
any regrowth annually. This complicates the situation, but there are
extensive areas of mangroves that still remain in the area, and few suitable
sites for migratory waders.
Development would leave neither. A detailed development plan has yet to be
proposed, but the common suggestion is to create a wider area of parkland
including a swimming pool, plus a sandy beach.
The Esplanade is now a significant site for migratory waders in Queensland.
The waders are the subject of the JAMBA and CAMBA treaties for the
protection of migratory birds. The site is also being proposed as a Ramsar
site for the protection of waterbirds. It is internationally significant
for Whimbrels (>1% of estimated world population), and nationally
significant for Common Sandpiper and Pacific Golden Plover.
On a personal level, the Cairns foreshore is one of the best birding sites
that I have visited in Australia. It is easily accessible, and you can see
50 species in a short time. My highlights have been Beach Stone-Curlew (a
threatened species) and Broad-billed Sandpiper. It has also been the site
where rare vagrants to Australia have been sighted such as Laughing and
There is a small bird interpretive centre. It is probably wishful thinking,
but it would be nice to think that the foreshore could be the basis of a
major facility to educate people about the importance of birds, and their
So please send a letter to the addresses at the top of this article, asking
that the foreshore mudflat is not developed, and supporting the proposal
that it be declared a Ramsar site because of its importance to waterbirds.
Letters could also be sent to The Editor, Cairns Post, 22-24 Abbott Street,
Cairns North Queensland 4870; Hon. Brian Litleproud, Minister for the
Environment, 160 Ann Street, Brisbane Queensland 4000; Cairns Chamber of
Commerce, 38 Grafton Street, Cairns North Queensland 4870. Thanks for
Frank O'Connor Argyle Diamonds
8C Hardy Road PMB 11
Nedlands WA 6009 West Perth WA 6872
Phone +61 8 9386 5694 +61 8 9167 1445
Fax +61 8 9167 1438
Birding WA http://www.iinet.net.au/~foconnor/