birding-aus Despair & Ecstasy

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Subject: birding-aus Despair & Ecstasy
From: "Peter Waanders" <>
Date: Tue, 2 Nov 1999 14:53:12 +1030
Hi all,
Last week I went to Mt Gambier, in south-eastern SA. As we were driving along the country roads from Waikerie where I reside (yes near Gluepot) I was once again reminded of the appalling state of our environment.
In the Riverland, we drove past salt-scalded wetlands lined with Red Gum skeletons, died from either salinity or drowning.
In the Mallee close to the Vic border we drove through Ngarkat National Park which was almost completely burnt last year. Everything was black apart from flowering grass trees. I wondered where the Red-lored Whistlers, Southern Scrub Robins, and Malleefowl had gone.
In the South East we drove past the township of Mundulla where big old gum trees and other native vegetation are dying because of the Mundulla Yellows disease. Kilometre after kilometre of roadside vegetation was dead or dying.
By then I had become very depressed and wondered what these areas will look like in a few years time, not to mention what our kids will see. No wonder how hard we work trying to reverse, or even slow down degrading processes, it seems like it is one step forward - two steps back.
In the days that followed these thoughts gradually moved to the lesser active parts of my brain. The more active part had become very exited as I was able to "tick" 4 new lifers: Bush Stone Curlew , Olive Whistler, White-throated Gerygone and Rufous Bristlebird.
Will those birds still be there in the next millenium? We took the ostrich - head in the sand approach and drove back along a different, less depressing road. The Coorong looked wonderful (apart from the large stretches of burnt roadside mallee, and bridal creeper) and flocks of migratory waders made me realise that we are just a small player in the global, evolutional framework and that there could very well be rainforest growing here in 2- or 3000 years.
Peter Waanders
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