Conclusion Catbird at Goolengook

Subject: Conclusion Catbird at Goolengook
From: "Paul Jones" <>
Date: Wed, 20 Sep 2000 13:00:47 +1100
Well after going through about 45 emails,  I admit there is very good reason
for doubt on the sighting, but as nobody on the list was around to say yes or
no to it being a catbird and nobody has provided info on similarities between
GC and Satin Bowerbirds calls, I still believe that they are Catbirds at 
 But due to the doubt, I will include this email when Rory sends the questioning
forms for the atlas and will not submit it to the flora and fauna database for
Victoria?s NRE until I have been back to the area (Hopefully in the next month)
for confirmation.

With all the information I now have on Green Catbirds and Satin Bowerbirds,
I should be able to make a stronger conclusion on the next visit.

Arguments For and Against.

The Catbird makes a very unique call.  I doubt that I heard any other bird.
 However as the calls where occurring on a continual basis, it does also mean
that there is a chance if the SB does imitate Catbirds, that it may have been
an SB.

Visually, there is doubt on the sighting, using the Morecombe guide (new one),
the Green Catbird and Satin Bowerbird (Female) are on the same page, and there
isn?t much difference.  However I have been using the  Flegg and Madge guide
that has the female SB as a brown bird.  The bird I saw was a fairly bright

The Catbird has never been recorded in the area.  The closest  record is about
200 kilometres North.  However the amazing wealth of biodiversity and other
animals in the area that shouldn?t be there, means that it is not unlikely that
this is a new population.  With movement and weather patterns it is not 
that a couple of birds have strayed into the area and bred from there.

The above are the main areas where queries where raised or information was sent
to me.  I hope it answers people?s queries.

There has also been a lot of requests for more info on the issues centring
around Goolengook.  An attempt at very brief information is provided below.

Goolengook is a the name of a catchment bordering the Goolengook River.  South
of Mt. Ellery and Errinundra National Park.  It is an old growth forest, with
sizeable areas of warm temperate and cool temperate rainforest.  All of these
are supposed to be protected.  An important feature of the area, is a great
percentage of the catchment is maturing rainforest.  This is an understorey
of rainforest species, with a Eucalypt overstorey.  While current legislation
does not provide protection for this forest type, it is very important with
the rainforest that has been cleared previously, that some areas will develop
into rainforest in the future.

There is a great proliferation of endangered and threatened species in the area.
 On my last I visit I sighted a Sooty Owl, Powerful Owl and a strange looking
animal with white splotches on it, that fits the description of a Spot-tailed

Previously 3 of a planned 8 log coupes have been completed in the heart of the
catchment.  There was also a blockade in place that was broken through, before
logging started.  Further controversy erupted apart from the blockade.

The Goolengook River is heritage listed and thus is supposed to have an 80 metre
buffer zone around it, in which no forestry operations occur.  After a mistake
in planning, logging continued to within 20 metres of the river.  To cover this
mistake the previous government change the legislation, this has since been

Some victories have occurred.  There is now a flora and fauna reserve and some
special protection zones for endangered species.  I will not go into the values
of Special Protection Zones, that where developed as part of the RFA process,
because I have conflicting information.  Somebody might want to point me in
a direction where I can find whether or not there is legislative basis for SPZ?s
or down the track, when the RFA?s are realised as being unsustainable in their
current format and more areas are logged to meet requirements,  SPZ?s will be

The value of timber from the area is debatable.  When first couple plans where
made the timber was classed as ?D? value (solely for woodchips).  After the
area became controversial this was changed to Special Use timbers. (High 
This is probably closer to the fact.  Logging in the area is very heavily 
as it is about 60 kilometres to the nearest mills and transport costs need to
be covered to ensure profitability from the area.  Due to it being Old Growth
Forest, the trees are further apart, but larger then a younger forest. Even
if the timbers are of the highest qualities, government funds will be used and
have been used to ensure a profit from logging in the area.

For anybody wanting to visit the area.  The turn off is at the Bemm River Bridge
between Orbost and Cann River.  Turn up the Club Terrace Rd.  Left onto 
Rd.  The Blockade and River are 27 kilometres from the Princess Hwy.  Please
ensure that you introduce yourself to people at the blockade, so they can feel
that you are not a threat to them or the area.

The area needs full National Park protection as an extension to Errinundra.
 Apart from the values mentioned above and others that I could write a couple
of pages on it is important to consider that across Australia there are very
few areas developing into rainforest, contain many endangered species, it is
also a poorly protected old growth forest and only some of the rainforest areas
are protected.  To log around the protected areas will be very detrimental to
the values of the area.  Consideration also needs to be given to the forestry
unit in the area, who allowed logging basically to the rivers edge and each
year, put in coupes on the edge of the National Park and then the coupe goes
into the National Park instead of away from it.

Actually I might stop writing now, as this email is getting a bit long.  However
if anybody wants further details on the campaign, I can give you copies of form
letters and individual proposals for a national park from interest groups, 
details for groups involved and the relevant people to send letters too.  
me via direct email if interested.  The campaign is about 4 years old (longest
blockade in Australia at the moment, completely peaceful except when loggers
have attacked the camps, but this hasn?t happened for a long time and will soon
be in court on riot charges) and ongoing.  Please join in as it quite possible
that protection will soon be given as political values in protecting the area
are being realised.  Can also email some JPEG?s of some of the most beautiful
sights in Australia.

Thanks for reading on.

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