The Royal Geographical Society of Queensland Ltd

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From the President - August 2020

4 Aug 2020 1:26 PM | Anonymous

Dear Fellow Members, I hope you are continuing to stay safe as we move into further lifting of COVID-19 restrictions in Queensland. At the time of writing, we wait with concern to see how this and also the recent influx of interstate visitors and the unfortunate resurgence of cases in Victoria and NSW affect our state. I hope that any of your family and friends are safe in Victoria and NSW. If all continues to go well in Qld, we will aim to resume more RGSQ activities from August.

Qld landscapes photo competition

In phone conversations with members over the past few months many have reported that sorting out years of family and travel photos has kept them busy during the “stay at home” period. We thought it would be interesting to see some of the places in Qld that you have visited on your trips, so RGSQ is pleased to announce a Qld landscapes photo competition with enticing prizes – see details in this Bulletin. I hope you will participate and look forward to seeing some of your excellent photography.  

Border restrictions? This amazing little bird doesn’t adhere to them and doesn’t carry a GPS!

In June 2020, local critically endangered Eastern Curlew “AAJ” successfully made her maiden flight to China, flying non-stop some 8,000 kilometres from the mudflats of Queensland's Moreton Bay to Shanghai.

For the past two and a half years researchers have been tracking the movements of three-year-old AAJ as she foraged for crabs and other crustaceans on the mudflats of Moreton Bay. When the mature Eastern Curlews migrated north in mid-March, AAJ remained behind. The waders usually arrive at breeding grounds in Eastern Russia by May, making AAJ's late departure unusual. It may be a new discovery about young Eastern Curlews, that they leave later than older birds. AAJ was one of three Eastern Curlews that were fitted with tiny trackers so their movements could be monitored on the way from Brisbane to China. In late April, under the cover of darkness AAJ began her epic non-stop journey. She headed up the Queensland coast, over the New Guinea Central Highlands and across the western Pacific Ocean.

Ten days after taking off, AAJ landed on mudflats adjacent to Yinyangzhen, north-east of Shanghai. She will spend the northern summer feeding on crustaceans along the Yellow Sea Coastline.

The Eastern Curlew population has declined by more than 80 per cent in the past 30 years mostly due to the destruction of mudflats along the East Asian Australasian Flyway, which is a migration superhighway for birds. Around 1,400 critically endangered Eastern Curlews roost around Moreton Bay, the last large flock in Australia. There is pressure to develop parts of the Moreton Bay wetlands close to where AAJ was first found. The area is listed under the Ramsar Convention, an international treaty to protect important wetland habitats. In 2013 Toondah Harbour was declared a Priority Development Area by then premier Campbell Newman. The controversial $1.3 billion development proposal would see part of the wetlands reclaimed to make way for 3,600 residential dwellings, a new port facility, ferry terminals and a 200-berth marina. Around 43 hectares of the development will encroach on the Ramsar wetlands. There's also the broader impact of up to 10,000 more people, noise pollution, increased watercraft disturbing birds, feeding grounds and roost sites. After two proposals were knocked back by the Federal Government, a revised plan was given the green light in 2018 to proceed to the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) phase. In July 2020, a petition, gaining more than 5000 signatures, was presented to the Queensland Government by community group Redlands2030 calling for an independent inquiry into the Toondah Harbour development. Meanwhile, AAJ is foraging on the Shanghai mudflats, fattening up ahead of her return journey to Moreton Bay in a few months’ time.

Dr. Iraphne Childs

References

ABC News. Eastern Curlew's 10-day flight to China stuns bird enthusiasts calling for greater habitat protections by Dea Clark https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-06-06/eastern-curlew-flight-toondah-harbour-cleveland-qld/12322856

Redlands 2030.Will Toondah kill off the Cleveland CBD?  https://redlands2030.net/cleveland-cbd-economic-report/April 10 2018



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