Monday, June 25, 2012

Insect of the day

Maybe someone will tell me name of this insect that I photographed inside looking out. What I do know though is that I should think about cleaning the  window! I think that is still debris from last year's Cyclone Yasi.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Gone in seconds

This termite nest to the right of this tree has been here for at least ten years and has been a nest site for our clan of local kookaburras for as many years. The branch was damaged courtesy of cyclone Yasi but it wasn't posing any threat to nearby properties. Today, a local resident took it upon himself to destroy the nest in an attempt to 'beautify'  a seasonal creek easement on Council land. I have emailed the Council to see if this person had permission and whether the loppers who did the job were Council workers. While this person's ideal of removing singapore daisy and coconut trees that are growing there is commendable his idea of what  he is doing looks pretty limited as some of the 'new' plantings consist of pest exotics. Not to mention the heavy handed use of pesticides used to kill the grass and weeds along the water course. Sadly our days of juvenile kookas, orange footed scrub fowl and lace monitors wandering into our back yard now appear to be numbered.
Gone in seconds...

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Mission Beach Cassowary Spotting

Spent a few days in Mission Beach with some visitors from the cold south staying with us and of course we had to go cassowary spotting. Fortunately we had some success!
Making itself at home at one of the local businesses.

Ninety percent of  the local drivers appear to follow the speed limit. It's the other ten percent that must be a worry for these birds.
More information about the Mission Beach cassowaries and the local conservation group -
Community for Coastal and Cassowary Conservation

Make your own pop song -DarwinTunes medley at 3520 generations by uncoolbob

With the diminishing quality of popular music the perfect pop tune can be created by a computer program and the input of listeners without the need for an actual songwriter, according to a new British study.

Visit Darwin Tunes
UPDATE: From The Conversation Blog "DarwinTunes: when you get that feeling it’s, uh, sexual hearing?"

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Proposed Coral Sea Marine Park

More information and fact sheets are available here:

Big splash: welcome back to top-shelf marine conservation

By Geoffrey Wescott, Deakin University


Geoffrey Wescott has received funding from the ARC for a coastally related project in the past. He is a Vice President of the Australian Coastal Society.
This article is reposted from the Conversation

The Conversation provides independent analysis and commentary from academics and researchers.
Funded by CSIRO, Melbourne, Monash, RMIT, UTS, UWA, Deakin, Flinders, La Trobe, Murdoch, QUT, Swinburne, UniSA, UTAS and VU.

Today’s announcement of a national network of marine parks is really a memorable day for Australian nature conservation.
The political rhetoric and self-congratulation associated with major events is often overstated. But whilst there are qualifications about aspects of today’s declaration of a very substantial suite of marine protected areas (MPAs) it is truly a global milestone and does place Australia back at the global forefront of marine conservation and marine-protected-area declarations.
This is a very positive outcome for current and future generations and should be viewed as major step forward for marine conservation both in Australia and in the world.
The extent of marine-protected areas (MPAs) globally trails a great distance behind the extent of land national parks and conservation areas, both in total area and the percentage of sea/ land covered – despite oceans making up 70% of the surface area of the planet. These MPAs are declared for the same objectives as land parks, i.e. to protect the ecological processes, flora, fauna, and geological features of special places in perpetuity.
Within these MPAs there are a range of levels of protection which is reflected in their classification using the categorisation system of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Category 1 and 2 reserves are regarded as being highly protected and usually are referred to as “no-take” MPAS as they exclude the extraction of both living and non-living natural resources and organisms. These are the terrestrial equivalent of national parks and sanctuaries. The extent of these in today’s declaration is the major reflection of the value of these reserves to nature conservation. Multiple-use areas of the MPAs allow other uses to occur and gain lower IUCN category ratings.
The Government’s announcement today is a very important one and does return Australia to leadership in MPA declaration.
There will be criticisms of the MPAs – some will be driven by understandable self-interest (e.g., from recreational and commercial fishers) but the boundaries of the MPAs have been drawn after considerable public consultation, and it appears that any commercial fishery losses will be compensated to the same extent as those fishers displaced when Howard Government Minister David Kemp last placed Australia in a global leadership position in 2003 with a sixfold increase in the high protection “no-take” area in that global icon, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.
There will be also comment about the extent and boundaries of specific MPAs (and the absence of others). In particular, it does appear at first glance that the areas in the Great Australia Bight, for instance, have rather unusual boundaries and are not as extensive (comprehensive and representative are the technical terms) as their natural values would lead one to presume.
This would appear to reflect the primacy of the oil and gas industries, and their apparent strong influence over the Minister, Martin Ferguson (who curiously represents an inner urban seat in Melbourne with a 20%+ Greens vote and may be under some pressure there at the next election). The oil and gas industry always gets what it wants and this appears to be the case here again.
Nevertheless panning out again and looking at the whole of the system, it is large and diverse and probably exhibits as not only the largest MPA system of any nation in the world but also probably the most comprehensive in terms of its range across the tremendously diverse large marine ecosystems and marine bioregions of Australia’s enormous marine territory (twice the area of our land mass).
The next step will be ensure these are fully declared and then to prepare proper implementation and management plans to ensure these are protected areas in practice as well as in theory.
Then the focus will return to the state governments who control the coastal waters of Australia (with the exception of the Great Barrier Reef), i.e. the area out to (usually) three nautical miles off shore. In these coastal waters, where human use is much more intensive and land practises impact heavily on the health of the marine ecosystems (over 70% of marine pollution comes from land), the extent of MPAs and particularly highly protected MPAS (Category 1 and 2 of the IUCN) is only a small fraction of the equivalent land parks in the states. Here we need a lot more effort to ensure the Federal system of MPAs is replicated closer to shore.
In conclusion whilst there can and should be discussion of specific aspects of some of the new MPAs this is a day to celebrate – well done Australia.
Comments welcome HERE.
Geoffrey Wescott has received funding from the ARC for a coastaly related project in the past. He is a Vice President of the Australian Coastal Society.
The Conversation
This article was originally published at The Conversation. Read the original article.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Thank You Hater! - by Clever Pie and Isabel Fay

A comedian's mock musical tribute to the online "trolls" who targeted her has gone viral on a day when a woman in the same situation won legal backing to have her tormenters' identities disclosed.
Read the story from the Guardian HERE

Sunday, June 3, 2012