Mallacoota - the good, the bad and the ugly

To: <>, Alastair Smith <>
Subject: Mallacoota - the good, the bad and the ugly
From: Denise Goodfellow <>
Date: Thu, 31 Jan 2008 11:19:27 +0930
Put notices up at the local vets and dog clubs inviting dog-owners along to
a birdwatching morning tea at the place you wish to preserve.  Once they see
birders are actually humans like themselves, at least some might change
their attitudes.  And invite rangers and/or interested police officers.


on 31/1/08 10:57 AM,  at  wrote:

> I think even though everyone would agree it would be nice if like-minded
> birders such as ourselves
> could get invloved with informing dog owners etc about the requirements fof
> providing a breeding
> areas free of disturbance, I can see situations where dog-owners will become
> angry and possibly
> violent (an increasing trend in our modern society), and then issues of
> liability etc come into play.
> The only solution i can see is to have more actual parks officers on the
> ground enforcing legislation.
> Regards, Simon Muirhead
> Quoting Alastair Smith <>:
>> Of course with Parks services across the country under resourced, it
>> is
>> behoven on committed conservation minded groups and individuals to
>> become
>> the major driving force in shorebird protection. The problem lies in
>> enforcing the 'rules' that state and local governments have
>> obviously
>> supported and ratified. In this case shorebird 'warriors' can try
>> and
>> persuade dog owners to be responsible and obey the signs but unless
>> there is
>> a person in uniform with the ability to apply a pecuniary penalty,
>> most dog
>> owners will continue to walk their dogs off leash because the dog
>> gets more
>> exercise. I am sure that other birders would happily join me in being
>> sworn
>> in as 'special constables' with the ability to issue fines to
>> recalcitrant
>> dog owners. 
>> The example provided by Steve Clark on the Snowy Plover in the US
>> has
>> obviously been supported by the general beach going public and
>> education
>> plays a vital role. One of the people I spoke to turned and pointed
>> to a
>> Silvergull and said that in her opinion shorebirds were doing well
>> and in
>> some cases where the menace.
>> Cheers
>> Alastair 
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: 
>>  On Behalf Of David Adams
>> Sent: Thursday, 31 January 2008 10:20 AM
>> To: Birding-Aus
>> Subject: Re: [Birding-Aus] Mallacoota - the good, the bad and the
>> ugly
>> On Jan 30, 2008 7:11 PM, Alastair Smith <>
>> wrote:
>>> Now the bad and ugly. It was gratifying to see the Little Terns,
>> enclosed
>>> within a roped  off area which all beach walkers appeared to
>> respect. It
>> was
>>> most ungratifying to see the number of unleashed dogs on all
>> Mallacoota
>>> beaches, despite signs prohibiting dogs on beaches between November
>> and
>>> April. I mentioned the breeding shore birds to a couple of dogs
>> owners on
>> my
>>> first expedition to the beach, only to be greeted with the
>> equivalent of
>> 'so
>>> what?' in one case and hostility in the second. I don't know who
>> patrols
>>> these sites but the Parks Victoria office only reopened today after
>> the
>> long
>>> weekend (?) and I did not see a council ranger or anyone else
>> patrolling
>> the
>>> breeding sites. If we are keen on allowing these birds to breed
>> unmolested
>>> by dogs and people, I am surprised with the lack of enforcement.
>> It
>> appears
>>> to me that as dog owners cannot read signs, the only thing they
>> would
>>> understand would be a total ban, backed up by sizeable fines.
>> Malacoota is a lovely area and very worth birding. I live in the
>> shire
>> immediately to the north (Bega Valley) in NSW where we have a few
>> Little Tern breeding colonies. Specifically, I live very near to the
>> Wallaga Lake entrance where Pied Oystercatchers, Little Terns and
>> Hooded Plovers breed or attempt to breed every year. Well, the Pied
>> Oystercatchers seem to make an effrort with some success every year,
>> the Little Terns try many years without much success, and the Hooded
>> Plovers less often...alghough there was a nest this year. (I haven't
>> checked its status in a few weeks.)
>> Up here, there aren't many parks staff to monitor or enforce
>> dog/people/AWD violations. The shorebird recovery program staff do a
>> great job but are stretched very thin over a large area. They post
>> signs which are largely ignored. The best chance seems to be from
>> getting local volunteers to monitor the area and try to explain to
>> people what's happening. Obviously that's going to give mixed
>> results
>> but it's a start. As to the local Council, forget about it. A year
>> ago
>> at Christmas, our local Council tried to slip through a proposal to
>> seal a dirt  access road to the headland overlooking the breeding
>> site
>> for no obvious benefit (Making submissions due over the Christmas
>> holidays is a strategy down here to avoid the public completing
>> submissions.) I checked with parks and the shorebird recover program
>> coordinator the day before submissions were due. No one had been
>> consulted or informed. The proposal said that the area had "no
>> significant fauna" and the flora/fauna were "so degraded" as to be
>> of
>> no concern. There are permanent signs with photographs and
>> illustrations explaining about the rare breeding shorebirds that
>> Council somehow forgot to mention. They also "forgot" that apart
>> from
>> everything else, a dead Ground Parrot was recovered from heathland
>> just to the north of the lake's entrance. The specimen was lodged in
>> the Forest department's collection in Bateman's Bay and is probably
>> still there. The track sealing proposal didn't go forward,
>> presumably
>> because it was wildly expensive and this shire hasn't got the money
>> for necessary projects for a variety of reasons, let alone
>> unnecessary
>> projects. So, I don't know about the situation in Malacoota but I
>> wouldn't always expect help from local government....
>> ---------------------------------------------
>>  David Adams
>>  Wallaga Lake 2546 NSW
>> ---------------------------------------------
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