Saturday, 29 June 2013

Hello from Coquette Point,

The Johnstone River is sparkling in winter weather, mild nights of 14 and warm days of 24; at this time of the year who would live anywhere else?
Chino the pelican is finding plenty to eat with the river full of bait fish. Over the last week the super-moon has brought king tides and in the Johnstone highs of up to 3.32m and lows of .17, the river has flushed clean and clear.

Chino flies in every morning from his roosting site in the mangroves and spends the day fishing around the estuary.

Low tide of .17 last Sunday exposed the shallow sand flat at Coquette Point. These sand flats are important feeding grounds for migratory and sedentary shorebirds.

On the sand-flats pied oyster-catches and bar-tailed godwits were fishing with dotterels and plovers.

Close to the mangroves white-faced heron and spur-winged plovers were feeding in the mangrove-mud.

River estuaries are important breeding habitats for migratory birds but even more importantly they are the nursery for many of the fish that spend their adult life on the world heritage Great Barrier Reef.


I have photographed 14 different jumping spiders at Coquette Point and had thought maybe that
 is  all the species here, so you can imagine my excitement when I found another species this week. The fringed jumping spider Portia fimbriata is a special creature she can learn from previous experiences ( something a lot of people I know can't do) and she can solve mazes from observation, she is also cute.


Sulphur crested cockatoos are eating the seed of the Poiciana tree this week and still resisting the mandarins. With the cold weather the mandarins have turned bright orange and sweet and juicy.
Dragon fly numbers are very high but these insects which normally feed on mosquitoes are having to find other insects as the mosquitoes have disappeared with the cold weather.
Helmeted Friarbirds are at their most pugnacious behaviour. A flock of a dozen birds are dominating the canopy they are enjoying a hatching of leaf-curl caterpillars which they deftly extract from the rolled hibiscus leaves and for dessert they feast on the nectar of callistemon salignus. Their noisy calling and chatter can be heard throughout the day.

                                                                       As soon as I heard the unmistakable grating gzzhhh calling chatter from the rainforest I knew the Spectacled Monarch was there. A rush for the camera and two lucky shots and I captured one reasonable photo, then he was gone.

This amazing little bird's favourite habitat is Licuala ramasyii fan-palm rainforest. He chases his food on the broad, round pleated leaves of the fan palm and can be seen sometimes tumbling and skating over the palm fronds in search of prey. It is thought that this method of hunting disturbs insects like flies and moths that rest on and under the fronds.
                                                                         The varied egg-fly butterfly is back to his old tricks in defending his territory from other males and it is exhausting watching him constantly on the move chasing any other butterfly away from his territory. Recently in Samoa the wolbachia parasite killed only the male egg-fly butterflies however they have now developed resistance to the parasite. What lessons can we take from the Samoan experience?
Female Cruiser butterflies have been active but I have not seen any of the males for several weeks.

Sam Mitchell left Coquette Point this morning after a months R&R. Sam learnt to hull coconuts and paddle with crocodiles. He fed on black sapotes, canastel, mangosteen and bananas and I think he will be back one day

Safe journey Sam.

Liz G. and my tree planting at Mission Beach last week was brought up at the CCRC council meeting on Thursday. Apparently Liz and I are to be 'admonished'.
While one can but be amused by the silliness of some Councillors and Council staff they seem not to understand what the exercise was all about. Clearly it was about highlighting BEACH EROSION. At the CCRC meeting on June 13 Council was advise by the Mayor that the State Government will no longer fund  any further action on coastal erosion. In stating this the Newman State Government has adopted a policy of 'retreat'  in the event of shore erosion. What the Newman Government has done is copied other State Governments and Councils along the Coastline and adopted their policy of 'retreat'. Beach-side residents would be wise to check with their insurers as they most likely will find they are not covered for the loss or damage to their homes in the event of beach-side erosion.
Beach-side residents might also start planting trees now before its too late.
I live on the Johnstone River estuary and for the last forty years have worked on my river boundary to re-established the mangrove forest as well as a zone of trees behind the mangroves. There is now no erosion on my river boundary where once there was sever erosion.
Enjoy the clever 'silliness' from Russell C..
"I think it is important to keep in mind that this Mission Beach insanity is not an individual act of horticultural terror by Yvonne but I am seeing a pattern of these subversive tree plantings from her: I am sorry to say that it appears we have a serial planter in our group. I know some will say it's just a few coastal species here and there but that sort of crazy tolerance leads to much worse. At the moment it might just be the odd she-oak and an occasional calophyllum at a beach party or something but mark my words, before you know it Yvonne will be getting out of bed and won't function until she's planted a dozen Kauri pines. I've seen it all before and it's a slippery slope. Yvonne is sliding down. I think as her friends we should consider an intervention. We must stop this insanity before it's too late. I am happy to attend and can bring a chainsaw and glyphosate if she gets aggro or difficult."
Cheers for this week,
and don't forget plant a tree.

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