Re: Curlews, godwits and canals

To: "Trevor Ford" <>
Subject: Re: Curlews, godwits and canals
From: Tony Russell <>
Date: Tue, 25 Nov 1997 18:35:20 +1030
Trevor, I read your enquiry about the waders in SEQ with great interest and
am as interested in what explanations people may be able to give as you are.

On your second question regarding the real concern that Aust. governments
may have for Ramsar and other agreements I personally feel they have very
little commitment to conservation in general.For the most part they go along
with the conservation of areas only so long as no farmer group, loggers,
miners, or other developers come along and claim that the land could be used
to create jobs and help the economy. The developers rarely have any actual
concern for the economy or employment levels, that's just their public
statement. What they are really about of course is making a profit and hang
the environment, and hang the employees too if they can find a way of doing
without them. 
Governments are driven by whatever may get them re-elected or what might
lose them votes and they fall for the employment and export earnings tricks
every time. Hence logging continues apace wherever timber companies see
anything other than a stringybark, the resort at Cardwell is proceeding
because the developer and the Qld govt. see no value in mangroves or
manatees or any form of ecological balance, and our ill informed, ignorant,
and gutless politicians chase votes all the time. There just aren't enough
vocal environmentalists to count when it comes to votes.We have the job of
trying to change that.

When you look at it, most national parks are in places which are otherwise
uneconomic to develop.  Govt.departments allegedly put in place to provide
some sort of protection for the environment are usually so strapped for cash
that they are unable to do the very things they were put in place to do, and
that reduces them to the status of political sops, mere window dressing.
That's not to say they do nothing, but they can't do as much as we all know
they should be doing. And our infamous prime minister typifies all of this
with the present stand on fossil fuel emissions.
It all makes me feel very sick!, but, keep smiling and keep trying.
There is still nowhere else I would rather live.
Wild Tony from SA.

PS. Dear readers, if I have said anything which passes comment on your
occupation or threatens your self concept, think about it.

At 10:57 AM 25/11/97 -0000, you wrote:
>Since moving to SEQ in July I've been fortunate enough to be living close to
>an excellent high tide wader roost.  Thirty species of wader so far!  One
>question has been puzzling me and probably has an obvious answer.
>The roost is extremely important for Eastern Curlew, I've counted a maximum
>of 800, and these birds always arrive at the site first, scattered around
>the drier areas and mangroves.  As the tide rises smaller waders, such as
>both sandplovers, Red-necked Stints, Curlew Sandpipers, etc., arrive.
>Finally, and only on really high tides, Bar-tailed Godwits appear, some two
>thousand of them and always bringing with them a hundred or so Great Knots.
>It's a wonderful experience to watch them fly past in groups of fifty to two
>hundred, chattering to each other as they go.
>So why are the curlews first and the godwits last (if at all).  It's easy to
>speculate but surely any hypothesis to do with leg or bill length would
>apply to both!?  As the tide lowers, the curlews start leaving the roost in
>dribs and drabs, soon followed by the godwits who tend to leave in a
>consolidated whoooosh!
>By the way, the curlews roost where the marina will be and the godwits roost
>where the marina village will be.
>Which brings me to the next, obvious question.  RAMSAR, international
>agreements, environmental obligations - do these have any meaning to the
>Australian government / DOE?  How can they let this development go ahead
>(due to start next year)?  I've heard that the world population of Eastern
>Curlew, an endangered species, is in the region of 17,000 which means that
>this roost attracts about 5%.  Have there been any proposed canal estate
>developments in the past that have been cancelled due to environmental
>issues or are we on an inexorable journey towards concrete?
>Perhaps the reasoning is that if we continue to pollute the water enough,
>there won't be so many birds (if any) and therefore the roost sites won't be
Tony Russell
Ph: 08 82078470W
    08 83375959H
Fax:08 82078422
e mail: 

<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>

The University of NSW School of Computer and Engineering takes no responsibility for the contents of this archive. It is purely a compilation of material sent by many people to the birding-aus mailing list. It has not been checked for accuracy nor its content verified in any way. If you wish to get material removed from the archive or have other queries about the archive e-mail Andrew Taylor at this address: andrewt@cse.unsw.EDU.AU