We hope everyone is well and looking forward to getting out and about in nature this week. This edition of EcoUpdate includes something for everyone – from news about our local beaches, biodiversity, boomerangs and the Aussie Backyard Birdcount – see below on how to participate in this popular annual event.
Congratulations to the Superb fairy-wren which was voted the most popular bird in the Guardian’s Australian Bird of the Year 2021!
Many EcoNetwork members have contributed their experience, expertise and local knowledge to make this EcoUpdate possible, so we hope you enjoy reading their articles. There’s also some great webinars in our EcoExtras section.
Now I’ve been told I have to sign my name here – or else I’ll get into trouble for including this picture!
Thanks for your support
Securing Tomaree’s Biodiversity
There is no doubt that increasing fragmentation of wildlife habitat is a major threat to our biodiversity.
Recently, thirteen environmental community groups, based on the Tomaree Peninsula, came together and submitted a proposal to the NSW State Environment Minister Matthew Kean MP.
This proposal aims to protect the habitat corridor.
Boomerang Park Group represented in indigenous artwork
Peter Kafer played a significant role in helping establish the Boomerang Park Preservation Group in 2015. He is D’harawahl – SALTWATER MAN.
‘My ethos is : “Dyi nga ni nura Miinya bembul ” (I see my country Mother Earth)’.
Peter painted this artwork to represent Boomerang Park and its Preservation Group. Find out what it signifies and about Peter’s contribution to indigenous art in Port Stephens and beyond.
The future of our beaches: erosion and artificial reefs
The iconic beaches of Port Stephens have taken a hammering this year, from Birubi to Dutchies and beyond. This is a long-term problem that will ultimately impact the local economy.
Marine scientist Iain Watt describes how we need to look after the natural assets that are Incredible by Nature and that underpin the local tourism industry.
Stop poisoning our wildlife
Earlier this year, many of us signed a petition organised by Birdlife Australia to stop a deadly poison being introduced to control the mouse plague. Second-generation poisons cause death in non-target animals such as native wildlife, farm animals and pets.
Find out how you can help save birds and other animals from this slow and painful death.
Watch and listen for this remarkable bird
Tomaree Peninsula birdwatcher, Neil Fraser, is looking for help from the local community who may have spotted, or heard, the elusive Bush Stone-curlew (Burhinus grallarius). You may know this bird by its other name – the Bush Thick-knee.
Today there are possibly only a handful of birds located in and around Port Stephens.
Caravanners on the move – managing wastewater
Now that COVID-19 travel restrictions are easing, caravanning and camping will no doubt be resuming across all regional areas.
Appropriate wastewater management is an important part of caravanning to ensure that public and environmental health is not compromised. In this article, Peter Rogers outlines the nature of caravan wastewater and options for best management practice disposal.
EcoNetwork Members in Action – Lockdown 2.0: Day 51
A gorgeous Spring day started with kite detangling and a quick shed clean-out as the boys have rediscovered their train set, but are yet to understand the laws of gravity as they are very frustrated why their tracks can’t dangle mid-air or attach vertically!
Since Lockdown 2.0 began on 5th August, Chantal decided to start a daily ‘journal’ on Facebook, with a quick re-cap of how this experience has been for her family.
Latham’s Snipe shores up wetlands diplomacy with Japan
One of the most amazing birds you might be lucky to come across in Port Stephens is Latham’s Snipe (Gallinago hardwickii), a migratory shorebird species. Flying from northern Japan to Australia, one bird was recorded flying non-stop over 3 days covering 7,000km!
Its international lifestyle has drawn attention to the importance of wetland ecology leading to the establishment of the Sister Wetlands Agreement between Port Stephens, Newcastle and Kushiro, Hokkaido. Nigel Dique is the Chair of the Port Stephens Sister Cities Committee and arranged the last Sister Wetlands re-signing in 2015. Nigel tells us about this incredible bird and the importance of the Agreement.
Soldier’s Point Secret Walk
Go where the locals know.
Take your family out for a walk and combine local history with exercise and stunning views.
There is an historic precinct on the public land at the front of Bannisters hotel in Soldiers’ Point. This area is the beginning of the Mariner’s Walk that leads down to Wanda Beach and Wanda Headland.
Kathy Brown, a Soldier’s Point local, gives us a brief insight of early settlers the Cromarty family and she encourages us to explore the walk and its environs.
Feral animal control – who’s responsible?
Members of the Mambo Wanda Wetlands Reserves and Landcare Committee have called for more funding to eradicate feral animals that prey on indigenous fauna in Council bushland reserves.
In its response, Port Stephens Council stated that its resources were impacted by the current COVID-19 restrictions and this included pest animal control.
You may remember in the August EcoUpdate we brought you the news that a pair of White-bellied sea eagles(Haliaeetus leucogaster) had returned to their nesting spot overlooking the waters of Salamander Bay. We have an exciting update for you from local birdwatcher Neil Fraser:
‘I went out to Mambo with Peter Weinstock, a bird photographer friend, on 2 October. After about a 45 minutes wait we observed an adult bring a fish to the nest site and subsequently caught glimpses of the chick standing on the edge of the nest.
The bird appears to have most of its juvenile plumage well-developed and I’d estimate it is about 10 weeks old. It is probably about two weeks off fledging.’
Many thanks to Neil Fraser and Peter Weinstock for sharing their observations and Peter’s photograph in our October 2021 EcoUpdate.
Wildlife Rescue Handbook
Spring is the time that more native animals are on the move – it’s breeding season, last year’s youngsters are dispersing and baby birds fall out of nests. How many of us have found an animal in distress and been unsure of what to do?
This is where the Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife and its Wildlife Heroes project can help. They have produced the Wildlife Rescue Handbook: the first 24 hours.
You can print it out and keep it in your car – or download it to your phone.
Remember do not feed the animal and keep handling to a minimum. The Handbook says ‘your main wildlife rescue goal is to get the animal to a licensed volunteer who can provide the best care.’
If you live in Port Stephens, your nearest wildlife rescuers are Wildlife in Need of Care (WINC). Phone 1300 946295.
Volunteer Opportunity with EcoNetwork Port Stephens
EcoNetwork’s Sustainable Futures Festival will be held at Tomaree High School on 15 May 2022 and a volunteer Digital Coordinator is needed to assist with marketing.
This volunteer role may be suitable for anyone digitally savvy with an interest in the environment and/or a background in marketing & communications. We would like the person to:
- Set up social media accounts on facebook, twitter, instagram, tiktok etc.
- Contribute creative ideas around digital artwork.
- Work with the festival committee to develop promotional content.
- Post regularly on social media platforms.
- Monitor social media activity and advise the committee of marketing opportunities.
- Collate reports on social media traffic around the event such as number of likes, tweets, shares and other hashtag generated metrics.
- Attend planning meetings as required.
Timeframe: October 2021 – June 2022. Approx 1 hour per week on average with up to 3 hours per week in April – May 2022.
Contact email@example.com if you are interested.
- Soldiers Point Littoral Rainforest Information Session: 13 October 5:30pm – 6:30pm. Port Stephens Council presents the Soldiers Point Littoral Rainforest Action Plan. Online via Zoom – Register here.
- Everything Aussie Backyard Bird Count with Sean “The Birdman” Dooley. 14 October 6:00-7:00pm. This webinar will cover what Bird Week is all about, how to complete a count and how every count counts! Also – FAQs and question time. Register here.
- Aussie Backyard Bird Count: 18-24 October. To join in this annual event, spend 20 minutes in any outdoor space you like, as many times as you like this week, and record the birds you see. Not only will you be helping science but you could win one of many great prizes! Register here.
- Sustainable House Day: 17 October. This year due to popular demand, it is coming to you via a series of expert-led webinars starting 21 September. Read More.
- Understanding the Role of Bees and Plants: 20 October 10:00 – 11.00am. This webinar explores the role of plants and bees in maintaining a strong and healthy environment with native bee specialist Francisco Garcia Bulle Bueno. Register here.
- Moth Night: 23 October 2021. As part of the Great Southern Bioblitz we are exploring this underrated biodiverse group. Hundreds of species can be attracted and spotted in your backyard. Observe what you can and upload your pictures onto iNaturalist. Join in here.
- Reducing waste this Christmas webinar: 19 November 6pm – 7.30pm. Did you know almost 40% of the average household bin is food waste? We’ll discuss shopping, storage and preparation as well as tips to keep edible food out of the bin – from composting to worm farming and options for the time-poor. Register here.
Some feel-good news!
- Flannel flowers burst into ‘spectacular’ bloom near Port Macquarie after bushfires, floods.
- An 11-year-old’s idea to sell ‘Billy button’ flowers from her family’s NSW farm goes viral.
- Tiny little balls of pure joy: why the Superb fairy-wren won Australian Bird of the Year 2021
EcoNetwork Port Stephens
Our Purpose: To support our members and to educate and advocate on environmental issues that impact Port Stephens communities.
Our Vision: Ecologically sustainable communities existing in harmony with the natural environment.