30 March 2009

Manly Life Saving Club and Sandcastles

Test drilling at the Manly Life Saving Club this morning. Diesel fumes spewing particles into the prime end of the swimming area is converting the beach and parade, yet again into another noisy and polluted building site. Enlarging the club to fit more fossil fool gear into it, fitting more merchandise, business venues or party space into it seems inappropriate. Out goes the nice terrazzo, in ye old laminate, as seen in the other reno jobs.

Heard of rising sea levels and "planned retreat" from Sydney's northern beaches ?
Who will benefit from a long and noisy building site?
What will be the impact on bathers, walkers and residents?

25 March 2009

Switch off the lights! Manly Light pollution

Posted by Picasa
Click the image for a larger version of the glare bombs
Switch off the lights, join other places that refrain from light pollution. Keep some of the life-supporting climate for others to come. Do not trap wildlife with artificial lights. Flooding the environment, the beach and the night sky is an expensive hazard for human beings too. Stop the waste and fossil fuel burning. Some NSW councils turn off their "non-essential lights, computers and air conditioning at noon on Friday."

> Reducing Light pollution
Light Pollution, Wikipedia
Neighbour friendly lighting

SydneyOutdoor Lighting Improvement Society

Update: Gimmick Day is over, cheap child amusement and attention focussing on 'tourist landmarks' in the MSM. After the dimming, 'business as usual' continues, now with a relieved conscience. Systemic failure stands in for lack of structural change. 300309

20 March 2009

Landmark Figs of North Head and Sealed Soil

North Head - a visit
Along North Head Scenic Drive, as the title suggests, there is no walking or cycling path to visit the National Park of the unique northern headland of Sydney. Joggers, walking visitors and cyclists dodge the speeding cars to get to THE view. This year one bandicoot has been recorded as killed.

Increased urban structures: light pollution and eutrophication
On the right of the roundabout a new carpark has been built, converting the bushland into an impermeable surface. The run off from the hill would run straight to Collins Beach. From tall poles mega-watts bellow down on the surface and adjoining bushland. For the endemic fauna the artificial lighting has severe consequences. The CO2 emission is another matter.

Butchering natural heritage:
Further, opposite the Artillery more 'scorched earth' carparks. On the right side of the Artillery are four giant ancient fig trees framing a cafe as the main landmark. All four have been severely cut back with no apparent reason. Hard to believe council would approve such unaesthetic butchery of the natural heritage of Manly. The limbs missing did not seem to be in the way of any human mobility.
At the Fairfax Walkway
Again the cemented walkway is impeding all natural drainage and erosion gullies dig deep. Encouraging large tourist coaches and not providing sanitary facilities, leaves the landscape littered in paper tissues flying in the wind and more. Apparently blind or illiterate dogwalkers bring their pets into the National park despite it all.

Images: 1 Google Earth, North Head Scenic Drive, roundabout an carpark before being sealed and light flooded. Collins Beach 'down the hill' .
2. Two of the figs to the right side of the cafe/Artillery

18 March 2009

Bird-Unfriendly Structures in Manly Aquatic Reserve

Cormorants used to perch on this lamp pole in the day and owls used to sit there at night. Now it has bird-unfriendly spikes all along it. Adjoining the Fairy Bower Pool and Manly's Cabbage Tree Bay aquatic reserve the urban wildlife has been sitting there for years in the absence of large trees. These native shorebirds are being repelled from their habitat.
Possible arguments for the bird repellent structures could be the animal feaces.
On the same grounds one would have to act on:

The tonnes of untreated dog faeces running into the bay and beach.
The multiple decaying and smelling pipes draining Bower street onto Marine Parade and finally into the ocean.
The public health hazard of invasive species (Common Mynas) encrusting (Sydney Road/ Central Ave.) Manly CBD in their faeces. The tables and plates of eateries are densely visited by this species, leaving their traces.
The feeding of seagulls could be actively discouraged.

Urban wildlife could be encouraged by:
refraining from habitat destruction
controlling introduced pets
reducing glass surfaces in human dwellings
reducing nightglare
planting more trees
not exposing them to mobile tower radiation

Update: By November 09, Bird spikes get discovered by humans in Manly

17 March 2009

Sculpture disappearing, Wildlife snatched...

If it is in a public space it is lifted - wildlife or sculptures (pdf) . The 'Crawl' swimmer donated by Loui Fraser at the Manly Surf Pavillion at South Steyne is now head-less.

12 March 2009

Oil Spills, Ships and Readiness - The Moreton Island Case

The spill of toxins, explosives etc in Queensland is serious. More from the Moreton Bay Blog, Bayjournal

Australian Senator Discusses Oil Spill
Video via cheatah55

01 March 2009

Manly Beach Drift "wood" - March

A monthly summary of what has washed onto the shore or beach through the winds, tides, waves or human action. Marine debris, flora and fauna, dead or alive:

Thick layers of Bluebottles/ Portuguese Man-of-War (Physalia physalis) along the beach and many in the surf with very long tentacles. There was a very large unusual medusa, an approximately 18 cm transluscent bell with short mauve tentacles, arranged in pairs. An impressive creature. (Image)

People fishing, wagging dead fish heads in the water seem to want to attract sharks to the beach which is full of people. Crested Terns still mingling with Gulls. Some real driftwood, large logs of native trees.

An increasing diversity of jelly fish, bluebottles, round 'buttons' and transluscent blobs. Many dead fish, a headless Weedy Seadragon. Nice shells and kelp species along the Manly end. Extreme rugby between the flags. Smoking carers with newly borns on the beach. Towards Nrth Steyne., kelp and thick in bluebottles. Olfactory mystery and building noises. Huge logs of driftwood.

Endless plastic 'party' balloons, full of gas and deflated with fancy looong ribbons, entangling anything in sight, released to share with wildlife and future generations. Family or PR 'fun'. 020309

Serious (commercial?) spearfishing took place at the Queenscliff end of the beach. At the time when life-savers knocked off, the professionally armed diver killed a lot of marine life and dragged it to the beach. Many children were in the water and also gathered around his loot. The very large weapon in a public space seemed most inappropriate. The proximity of an armed hunter in the ocean and on a crowded beach appeared against all beach safety. Apparently it is legal. After the beaching, the heavy and rich 'harvest' was brought to the caves of Queenscliff, where more 'goodies' were bunkered. If it was within the 'bag limit' and what species the heavy bags contained will never be known. 050309
Marine Parks NOW!
Three Crested Terns diving. Ravens cleaning up a dead Seagull. Some dead fish, a couple of transluscent blobs (jelly-fish).
Junkspace: Countless plastic 'throw-away' bottles, chucked after a 'convienent' drink. Along the entire length of the beach. Fishing Junk: Long strong plastic ropes/gear and styropore sinkers. 060309

A wild ocean last night blew thick layers of blue bottles onto the beach - the jelly fish variety and the plastic variety. A few tiny Nudibranches were still alive at the beach. They had a black and bright blue colour. Crested Terns were diving. A coconut with many bi-valves with orange edges. A not unpleasant fish smell.
Fishing people trying their best to entangle beach users and marine life. A lot of nylon string and plastic toys were left behind.

Rain washed all of suburbia clean. All the toxic fertilised lawn transplants, the foamy car-wash, the untreated dog and cat poo, etc (known as "stormwater", pdf) ends up in one of these holding pools. (eutrophication image) Seagulls bathe in it and then it seaps into Manly Beach and the wider blue Pacific. From marine biodiversity to dead zone.

The sand is a colourful composite of shell bits. Soon shells will not be able to build their hard shells and the 'sand' will disappear. An acid ocean, full of carbon dioxide does not allow for hard shells being build. But there is no sign of slowing Manly's use of fossil fuels. A degraded world will be left behind for the many off-spring they are hurling around the place with fossil fuel. 090309

Generous amounts of garden clippings, prickly pear and other weeds. Balloons, balloons and more... Blue Bottles and the blue 'button' jellyfish. Many cuttlefish bone/sepia. At the Queenscliff end, the smelly problem of 'kelp' stuck in engineering wonders, was 'solved' with the aid of a lot of diesel and heavy machinery.

Usually there are many plastic bags on the beach, but this dumped bait packaging seemed unusual. The contents had been pilchards from W.A. Forgotten seems to be the mass mortality of pilchards (Sardinops sagax) during 1995 due to "a novel Herpesvirus". "The deaths occurred along 5000 km of the Australian coastline and 500 km of the New Zealand coastline." It is believed that " the virus was introduced to a naive population. It appears to have a point source and correlates though it is not proven, to an area where a large population of blue fin tuna are kept in pens. They have to be fed on pilchards, which are imported from overseas and dumped into the ocean there." "Bait" has the potential to spread disease, especially with an absence of a 'code of practice'. Australia's 2.89 million "recreational" fishers consume 4000 tonnes of purchased marine fish as bait p.a.

Dumping fishing gear and "bait" at the beach or ocean endangers marine life and has the potential for huge economic damage. 100309

A washed up Yellow-bellied Sea Snake (Pelamis platurus, images ) +30cm long, headless. A beautiful black skin and a very bright yellow underside. Many dead Pufferfish and large Porcupinefish. Crested Terns with hungry offspring. A great variety of kelp and jelly fish. A large coconut full of living bi-vales, 4-edged dark seeds, also alive.

An unusual number of (recession plagued?) anglers with very large buckets. More plastic bait bags blowing in the wind. Freshly cut large fish heads stinking on the beach. Chucked fruit and veg from some boat?. Unusual in today's junkspace, apart from the usual boring 'party balloons' with long strings, was a full condom.

Extreme sport: surf kites seemed to want to raze the heads of walkers and swimmers with their gear at high speed. For joggers a real challenge to dodge the fishinghooks, racing surf kites or slip on a full condom. 110309

Dead birds: 1 young Crested Tern, + 3 Mutton birds. A dead rat - not the native water rat. A few dead fish.

A lot of garbage: A new wave of 'convenient' one-mouth-full portions, "mini" this & that, individually wrapped. Stuff it in, swallow and chuck. So easy.
A real epidemic of plastic balloons with entangle strings, every day. Just spottet a "mum-party" yesterday, each pram had some six balloons tied to it. And then 'party!' they are released - off they go - to entangle the marine offspring.
Fishing junk, floaters with nylon string still attached and plastic bait bags. Strange campaigns to only lobby against plastic bags and have a 'blind spot' for all the other ubiquitous plastic junk. Bottles and bottles... 120309

A thick layer of Soldier beetles (Cantharus Lugubris, images) washed up along the beach. More gardens and parks will have less biological control agents now. Nice shells. Plastic fishing junk, a syringe and a lot of freshly cracked sharp glass.. Another spearfish gun at Queenscliff amongst sun - bathers. 160309

A lot of Crested Terns (pdf) mingling with Seagulls, leaving their offspring with them whilst they go diving. With stunning aerial displays they shoot into the shallow pools and bring fish to their young. Often Seagulls chase them to extract the catch. One adult feeder had a fishing string dangling out of its bill which it was desperately trying to extract to continue feeding. More plastic fishing junk on the beach. It's time to make fishing illegal in dense coastal areas. More large pieces of glass on the beach. 180309

In the morning the row of Norfolk Island Pines is abuzz (audio) with Sulphur Crested Cockatoos. The large white cockatoos overpower even the surf. It is rare to hear the large Black Cockatoos. More Wattlebirds have been busy in the pine rows during the day. Cleaning the garbage bins of spiders. In the late evening the pines come alive with the buzz of thousands of colourful screetching Lorikeets. A large bird of prey flying with heavy wing towards the north.
Council's petrol-fuelled gardening and cleaning cuts through all of nature's sounds and ruins the ambience on the beach and walkway.

On the beach, a Raven investigated a golfball. An 'egg' to crack on the footpath or an intelligent removal of hard missiles from the beach? Maybe a weapon to drop on the dog owners holding three to four dogs each in their reins. The hard golfball ended up high in a pine tree.

Large amorphous 'blobs' of transluscent jelly fish. 250309

Illegal dog paws prints at the North Steyne end of the beach in the very early mornings. The size of a pony. An angler was scaling a large fish alive. The flapping and agony of the tortured creature was severe. A couple of Pelicans flying north/west regularly, seeking a habitat. A large array of nice shells. 260309

Hundreds of dead-ish Porcupinefish from one end to the beach to the other, mostly +/- 10 cm. Many fresh Bluebottles/ Portuguese Man-of-War (Physalia physalis) floating in and stinging people. More transluscent jelly blobs. A dead microbat was washed up. Usually they fly along the foreshore.

Advertising in every direction on the beach. Solid state spam in public space.

The blue sky, dimmed by "Aerosols, tiny particles or liquid droplets belched into the air by the burning of fossil fuels" visibly at the horizon, additionally gets marked by jet trails. "Jet engine exhaust contains carbon dioxide, oxides of sulfur and nitrogen, unburned fuel, soot and metal particles, as well as water vapor." The pulverised ancient matter, showers back on us through what often appears like a blue sky over the Pacific.280309