Denmark Bird Group 2023 AGM

The DBG AGM was held at the DEC Meeting Room on 30 August, postponed from 16 August due to Matilda mania with 28 people attending.

The formal part of the evening went smoothly with the Minutes of the previous AGM accepted along with the Treasurer’s report and the election of the officers and committee all approved. Graham Dixon, our outgoing Convenor, was unfortunately not able to make the meeting, but was recognised for his leadership of the group over the last two years with a “Redcap Award”, especially for his efforts in securing the “Djerrt Mia Bird Sanctuary”. Mark Hackleton was also recognised with a “Redcap Award” for his contributions to the committee since the formation of the group and for all his graphic design work for the “Bird Talks” and the signage at “Djerrt Mia”

Some familiar faces were elected to the officer and committee positions, Kirsty Anderson took over the Convenor role from Graham, Jill Williams will be her able deputy, Nick Whishaw resumed his role as Treasurer and Alan Bewsher is set to continue his sterling efforts as Secretary. The fluid Committee will comprise: Brad Kneebone, Teresa Ashton-Graham, Graham Dixon, Mark Hackleton, Tim Gamblin, Jeff Spencer, Jesz Fleming and John Anderson. Attendees were encouraged to nominate for all positions and if ANYONE is interested in becoming a committee member it was recommended that they come along to a meeting as an observer to get a feel for the role and how they might be able to contribute. The key to a successful group is to have as many people contributing and sharing the work load of the group.

With the formal part of the meeting complete, we had two excellent speakers talking about their respective works in bird conservation; Tim Gamblin talked about his role in monitoring wildlife and controlling feral animals at WICC’s newly acquired Eungedup Wetlands reserve and in the neighbouring Lowlands and Nullaki reserves , and Lisa Nicholson talked about her challenging role as BirdLife’s “Beach-nesting Birds” officer for the Southwest of Western Australia (Bunbury to Denmark) – a large “Office”, fortunately for us she is based in Denmark.

Tim brought along one of his motion sensor cameras which operate using infra-red sensors with “black light” and are triggered by sensing changes in temperature. He showed some examples of the images he has obtained including unwanted guests – a wide variety of cats and foxes, and some desirable ones – Quendas, Mardos, Bushrats, Brush-tailed Possums and the rare Western Ring-tailed Possum. WICC has recently begun baiting for foxes using 1080-laced eggs buried near dens, this has begun to show some success with fox numbers / camera trap observations declining.

Lisa faces a difficult challenge in her new role as champion for “Beach-nesting Birds”. The main concern is for Hooded Plovers, but also Red-capped Plovers, Pied Oystercatchers and terns come under the “Beach-nesting Birds” umbrella. The “natural” threats to the birds are in themselves daunting; storm inundation, extreme temperatures, predation (gulls, ravens, magpies, foxes and cats), but add the additional human threats from unintended treading on eggs, harassment by dogs and the growing issue of 4WD vehicles using our beaches as roads means that unless action is taken then some of these species will disappear from our beaches. There has been some success in the Eastern States with education programs, fencing, chick shelters and signage all helping. The increasing number of 4WDs on our beaches, their aggressive nature and the State Government seemingly condoning their rights to access beaches, even in National Parks is a major concern.

Finally the wine bottles were uncorked or more commonly now, untwisted, the nibbles were brought out and ornithological matters were discussed to bring the evening to a close.

Photographs courtesy of Jesz Fleming / Tim Gamblin

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