Wading and Shore Birds of Moreton Bay

Recently at our Toondah Probus Club our guest speaker was Peter Rothlisberg whose topic was ‘Wading and Shore Birds of Moreton Bay’. Peter is the current secretary of the Queensland Waders Study Group (www.waders.org.au). He has now retired from CSIRO which he joined in 1975, but still works at the University of Queensland campus. The Queensland Wader Study Group (QWSG) was established in 1992 as a special interest group within Birds Queensland, to monitor wader populations in Queensland and to work towards their conservation. The term waders is used in the UK, and shorebirds is used in the US. In Australia we use both terms to denote such species as Plovers, Lapwings, Curlews, and Sandpipers. The survival of all of which are in trouble in Moreton Bay because of the following issues:

Habitat loss
• Coastal development (e.g. Raby Bay, Toondah Harbour)
• Port development (e.g Wavebreak Island cruise ship terminal on the Gold Coast)
• Mangrove incursion
• Feral plants and animals
Human disturbance – recreation
• Dogs off leash
• Beach traffic (4WDs)
• Bait harvesting (birds vs humans)
• Kite surfing (birds mistake kites for predators such as hawks)

In short, it all comes down to competition between humans and the birds – and its we humans who are winning unless we become more mindful of the other animals with which we share our world.

Moreton Bay Ramsar Wetland

Since 1993 Moreton Bay has been named as an important Ramsar Wetland for wading birds and their habitat is designated by the blue sections of our bay. But we cannot consider our bay in isolation because it forms an integral part of the East Asian – Australasian Flyway. Waders that live in Moreton Bay fly as far afield as Russia and Alaska to breed before returning home to Moreton Bay – distances of up to 17,000km to and from their breeding grounds!

The East Asian – Australasian Flyway

The Lepers of Viluisk – 2

Kate Marsden memorial statue at Viluisk

Further to my blog of 24.07.2017, I was keen to learn more about Englishwoman Kate Marsden and her journey to Viluisk in Siberia to establish a hospital for lepers.

Naturally, I looked up Wikipedia first, and here is the introduction to what it had to say:

Kate Marsden (13 May 1859 – 26 May 1931) was a British missionary, explorer, writer and nursing heroine. Supported by Queen Victoria and Empress Maria Fedorovna she investigated the care of leprosy. She set out on a journey from Moscow to Siberia to find a cure, creating a leper treatment centre in Siberia. She returned to England and inspired Bexhill Museum, but she was obliged to retire as a trustee. Marsden was dogged after her journey by homophobia, her finances were questioned as were her motives for her journey. Her accusers almost succeeded in making her sexuality the basis for an “Oscar Wilde”-type trial. She was however elected a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. She has a large diamond named after her and is still remembered in Siberia, where a large memorial statue was erected at Sosnovka village in 2014.

However, google led me to another Kate Marsden, whose WordPress page revealed that KM The Younger has just completed a re-enactment of the original Kate Marsden’s journey and is now writing a book about the subject. You can find out a whole lot more about the two KMs by clicking on her webpage here: