Date: Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Project: Eastern Australian Waterbird Survey

There is a saying about,  ”the best laid plans…………..” which today proved correct.  

A slow moving weather front prevented us from flying our normal coastal route through bands four, five and six to have us in Maroochydore by days end. Not wanting to get a day behind on this 11 day task, the decision was taken to fly inland via Moree and, pending suitable weather and get as close to Maroochydore as possible from the more weather friendly inland.

And the strategy worked. By days end we were in a wet Maroochydore where stormy rain abated sufficiently for us to land. Bands four, five and six will have to be surveyed later.

Above -Single paddock trees such as these are called “the living dead” because they have no hope of surviving in the long term.

Below -River regulation upstream of Moree (photos Terry Korn)

Above -Stanthorpe orchards

Below -Wetlands feeling threatened? (photos Terry Korn)

The flight from Moree to the coast was via Pallamallawa, Texas, Stanthorpe, Legume and Southport. As we hit the coast just north of Southport the first thing we saw was a humpback whale heading south for the summer. One of the joys of flying the coast at this time of the year is seeing the many whales on their annual migration. We thought the sighting may have been a good omen for the survey team which consisted of a new pilot and a new counter accompanying the experienced leader.

Border Rivers marked the NSW/QLD border, orchards surrounded Stanthorpe and beautiful basalt soil nourishing superb rainforest held us spellbound in the Legume area which is just on the NSW side of the border on top of the Great Dividing Range. These natural beauties were soon counterbalanced by the canal developments on the coast which surround struggling mangrove ecosystems.

Tomorrow we head north to overnight in Airlie Beach after counting in bands seven, eight, nine and ten. Weather permitting that is!

Beautiful coastal wetlands are juxta-positioned with mineral sand mining on coastal sand islands (photos Terry Korn)