Friday, October 29, 2021

Stephen Sia, The Lord Howe Island Signal


Floating blue life

In September, strong winds often drive tens of thousands of blue sea creatures ashore, and the beaches are littered with their dead bodies. The surface of the open ocean supports large populations of these organisms that live their lives afloat, sometimes forming huge rafts kilometres long, carried by the currents and blown along by the wind.

From the 1930s novel, “Psalmist of the Dawn” – local activity: rat hunting

Chris Murray. From the mid-1920s until 1941, when the palm seed exports collapsed during World War II, ratting was no recreational pastime, but an obligation for all Islanders who received income from palm seed sales via the Island Board’s shareholding system (and that included all Island men, women and children) ... Mary Marlowe takes up the story of a typical rat hunt in some detail ... The dogs, all three of them, were quivering at the rumps and lifting their forepaws from the ground in anticipation of jumping for the rat the instant it should appear out of the banyan log ...

Leopard seal on Middle Beach

LHI Board. Residents and visitors are advised that a leopard seal has been observed on the southern end of Middle Beach since Sunday and is likely to stay in the area for several days to rest and recover ... The seal has cookie cutter shark bite wounds, which are showing signs of healing, and the seal will be monitored over the coming days.

The currawongs of Lord Howe Island

Richard Segal. The Lord Howe currawong is one of the most recognisable and commonly encountered native bird species on Lord Howe Island. They are often curious about people and always keen for a sultana or two. Until recently, little was known about the currawong, including where they prefer to nest and how many of them are breeding. For example, do all birds nest each year or only some of them? Do they nest across the island, or do they favour certain areas?

Lord Howe Island stays in Port Macquarie electorate

Leslie Williams MP. Congratulations and thank you to all those who made submissions to the Electoral Commission Redistribution Panel in relation to the proposal to move LHI from the electorate of Port Macquarie to the electorate of Sydney!

From the 1930s novel, “Psalmist of the Dawn” – garfish netting at Old Settlement Beach

Chris Murray. Mary Marlowe’s novel, Psalmist of the Dawn (published in 1934 but probably written in 1931) is set on Lord Howe and populated with real places, activities and people – that latter only slightly disguised behind pseudonyms ... Garfishing was an important part of the Islanders’ semi-subsistence lifestyle before World War II. Large quantities of gars were caught not only for local consumption but also for sale to passing vessels.

Rodent response – Update 17

To date 87 rodents have been removed. All rodent detections and removals have been within the northern settlement area. A small number of rats that continue to be detected are being actively monitored and baited ... Eleven prospective biosecurity officers undertook training on 2 & 3 July with renowned dog trainers Steve Austin and Miriam Richie.

Endemic Lord Howe Abalone listed as Critically Endangered by IUCN

Due to its incredibly small population size, population density, and distribution, the Lord Howe Abalone faces an extremely high risk of extinction from threats including marine pollution - such as an oil spill event - and climate change. As a result, the IUCN assessed this species to be Critically Endangered. Of the 37 worldwide abalone species, it was one of only two given this status.