Birds Banding Together!

Carpentarian Grasswren (Amytornis dorotheae). Photo: Henry Stoetzel.

Southern Gulf Project Officers Lyndy Skea and Kayler Greenfield have been lucky enough to work closely with PhD Candidates Henry Stoetzel and Patrick Webster from The University of Queensland as part of our Carpentarian Grasswren Conservation project.

We’ve been getting down and dirty, colour banding some tiny Carpies, which is an important step in the conservation of these birds, as a method of tracking individuals, learning about their habitat requirements and obtaining other valuable data.

Project Officer Lyndy, who is a new member of the Southern Gulf team described the experience as “surreal”! “The first little Carpie we caught was a male, Henry had to lure him down the hill into the trap using recorded audio of their calls, which took around 15 minutes. Henry was like Tigger, jumping up and pouncing as soon as the bird came into the net area, it was an incredible experience” she said.

Further steps in the program will include radio-tracking as many Grasswrens as possible to ensure the most amount of data can be gathered.

This project is supported by Southern Gulf NRM through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program and the Southern Gulf NRM Environment Fund.

PhD Candidates Henry Stoetzel and Patrick Webster, with their assistant for the day Kurt Skea, banding a Carpentarian Grasswren and recording vital information about the bird. Photo: Lyndy Skea.
Henry Stoetzel with two, recently banded, Carpies. Photo: Henry Stoetzel

Constructive Collaboration for Cloncurry Shire

Mesquite in Cloncurrys Coppermine Creek

Recently Cloncurry Shire Council CEO, Philip Keirle, met with Southern Gulf NRM invasive plants and animals project officer, Charles Curry, to discuss a partnership arrangement with the view to weed eradication.  An agreement was reached between the two parties that will see a significant impact on the mesquite infestation currently found within the shire.

Inspections have been conducted by representatives of both Cloncurry Shire Council and Southern Gulf NRM to identify and determine an order of priority for treating the mesquite, which is recognised as a Restricted Invasive Plant under the Qld Biosecurity Act 2014.

The introduced species from North and South America, also known as Algaroba and Quilpie Algaroba, grows between 5-15 metres tall with zig-zag branches and a smooth dark red to green bark.

The partnership has seen finances supplied by Southern Gulf NRM, through the Federal and State Government’s Disaster Recovery Funding, matched dollar-for-dollar by the Cloncurry Shire Council to a sum of $100,000. 

The plan, well underway, is aimed at spraying mature and regrowth mesquite in Council-managed land and on private landholdings, a big step towards eradicating the species from the Cloncurry town area.  Project Manager Charles Curry is hopeful that “by treating the mesquite, there may also be some success with simultaneously reducing the numbers of rubber vine and chinee apple, other highly invasive species, that often encompass the same areas”.

A dedicated contract team of two have braved the summer heat and completed their initial sweep of Cloncurry. It is reported that a large number of mesquite was sprayed, much of which will start yellowing and dying as the herbicide takes effect. Landholders consulted for participation in the project have voiced their approval thus far and are eager to see the results. The second stage of the project is set to be completed throughout December. A second team will also be spraying through December with a focus on Parkinsonia and bellyache bush, which have been found in large numbers around Lake Corella, a well-known tourist spot between Cloncurry and Mount Isa.