Awaba's Masked Owls in Trouble

To: birding-aus <>
Subject: Awaba's Masked Owls in Trouble
From: Michael Todd <>
Date: Tue, 01 Nov 2005 22:03:06 +1100
Hello all,

A couple of months ago I began on my website (
<>) a series of photographs from the Awaba
Forest, an area of open forest that serves as a wildlife corridor
between the coastal forests around Lake Macquarie and the Awaba State
Forest and the foothill forests of the Watagan Mountains. In particular,
the majority of my Masked Owl photographs came from this area.

Unfortunately this area has now been proposed as an open-cut coal mine
by Centennial Coal. The mine would stretch from approximately the F3
freeway to the township of Awaba. The area that would be mined fits
right over the top (and underneath) of the Masked Owl nest tree that I
spent so many nights at this last winter. It will also take up at least
part of a Powerful Owl territory (I never looked for the tree) and will
require the re-routing of Lords Creek. It’s a sad state of affairs as
this area of forest has a greater abundance of large trees with hollows
than most adjacent areas of forest including the Awaba SF.

Nothing has yet been decided but with the recent NSW legislation that
exempts significant development projects from the usual analysis by
local govt and threatened species units of Department of Environment and
Conservation (former NSW NPWS), it could easily be approved. Opposition
is being organised- I'm not sure what role birdwatchers can play in this

I have to admit that I was hesitant about showing the nest tree to
fellow birdwatchers this year. In hindsight I was probably worrying
needlessly as a far bigger threat was imminent! If I can still get
access to the area next winter and they haven’t begun clearing the
forest I’d be happy to show it to as many birdos as would like to see it
next year.

Cheers (doesn't sound appropriate),

Mick Todd

Michael Todd
Images & Sounds of Nature
Latest Additions: Masked Owl (F3 roadkill), Spotted Quailthrush, equipment for 
Toronto, NSW, Australia
04101 23715

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