Night diving in South Australia, video


This 17 March 2019 video says about itself:

Jonathan travels down under to South Australia in search of a famous dive site: the Edithburgh Jetty. Night dives under this jetty on the Yorke Peninsula are renown for amazing encounters with a variety of spectacular and odd creatures, including the pajama squid. Jonathan is on a hunt to find a Pajama squid and encounters quite a few animals along the way, including more than one species of octopus, mating bobtail squid, sea horses and much more!

JONATHAN BIRD’S BLUE WORLD is an Emmy Award-winning underwater science/adventure series featuring underwater cinematographer/naturalist Jonathan Bird.

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Australian cuttlefish video


This 20 January 2019 video says about itself:

Jonathan and the whole family head to Australia to dive with the world’s largest cuttlefish spawning aggregation near Wyalla, South Australia. These are some huge cuttlefish!

JONATHAN BIRD’S BLUE WORLD is an Emmy Award-winning underwater science/adventure series featuring underwater cinematographer/naturalist Jonathan Bird.

Leafy seadragons of South Australia


This video says about itself:

4 November 2018

In an epic expedition down under, the Bird family goes on a search for the most exquisite seahorse in the world–the Leafy Seadragon! Just south of Adelaide in South Australia is a place where the “Leafies” can be found! But the water is cold and the wind is blowing!

JONATHAN BIRD’S BLUE WORLD is an Emmy Award-winning underwater science/adventure series featuring underwater cinematographer/naturalist Jonathan Bird.

Trump-Russia escalation stops Australia bombing Syria


This video from the Australian Senate says about itself:

Question Time – Australia’s involvement in Iraq and Syria

12 August 2015

Scott [of the Australian Greens] questions the [right-wing] Abbott Government over negotiations with the US to increase Australia’s military role in Iraq and Syria.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV:

Australia suspends air operations in Syria

Today, 08:48

Australia is stopping temporarily bombing Syria. According to the Australian Department of Defense, it is a precautionary measure, as the tensions between Russia and the United States over the air strikes have risen.

The reason for the tension is an incident in which US pilots shot a Syrian fighter plane down on Sunday. Russia, ally of Syria, is furious about that. Yesterday, Moscow announced that it is now considering all aircraft and drones of the international [Donald Trump’s Pentagon-led] coalition operating west of the Euphrates river as targets.

Also Australia has been a part of the international coalition that has been active over Syria for several years, but the country has now suspended that. The department does not yet say how for long the suspension will last.

The Australian participation in operations on Iraq will continue, says the ministry.

Raising the specter of the Syrian conflict escalating into a military confrontation between the world’s two major nuclear powers, the Russian Defense Ministry Monday issued a warning that it would treat any US or allied aircraft operating in western Syria, where Moscow’s own forces, as well as those of the Syrian government, are based, as a hostile target: here.

Good Australian dolphin news


This video from South Australia says about itself:

18 September 2012

The Adelaide Dolphin Sanctuary is one of the gems of metropolitan Adelaide. Located in the Port River and Barker Inlet, the sanctuary is just 20 minutes from the city centre and features a 10,000-year-old mangrove forest. A resident pod of about 30 bottlenose dolphins call the river home, while another 300 visit the area regularly.

To learn more about the Adelaide Dolphin Sanctuary, visit here.

Video filmed and produced by Hartwig Heller.

From Science News:

City dolphins get a boost from better protection and cleaner waters

by Sarah Zielinski

11:08am, November 3, 2016

There are many places in the world where you can see bottlenose dolphins, but the dolphins swimming in the Port River estuary near Adelaide, Australia, are special. They gambol about in waters surrounded by factories, power stations and other signs of human habitation.

For much of the 20th century, there were no dolphin sightings in the inner estuary. Prior to European settlement in 1858, bottlenose dolphins were commonly seen by the local Kaurna aboriginal tribal group. But as the city of Adelaide was built, the dolphins disappeared. What changed that enabled their return? A combination of improved environmental conditions, a little bit of protection and some public education, researchers report October 24 in Marine Mammal Science.

“The future of these dolphins would appear to be as secure as any population of any species can be in this era of climate change,” says the study’s lead author, Mike Bossley of Whale and Dolphin Conservation Australasia in Port Adelaide, who has studied the area’s dolphins for 25 years.

As the city of Adelaide grew, the Port River grew to be an unfriendly spot for marine wildlife. People cleared away the marshes and mangroves, replacing them with sulfuric acid and soda ash producers, sugar refineries and power stations. Sewage and storm water flowed into the river. Boats and ships traversed the estuary, which had become the main shipping port for the state of South Australia. And no one reported a dolphin sighting between 1940 and 1980.

Scientists began field studies in 1989 and started finding bottlenose dolphins — and documenting threats to them. In addition to pollution, any dolphins brave enough to traverse the Port River had to deal with boat strikes, infections, entanglement with nets and other marine trash and even deliberate attacks. In response, the Adelaide Dolphin Sanctuary was established by law in 2005, setting aside a small patch of river for the resident dolphin population (about 30 live in the river; another 300 visit the area regularly) and establishing resources for public education about the dolphins. And over the last few decades, water quality has improved as some of the least environmentally friendly activities — such as sulfuric acid production, salt evaporation and coal-fired power production — have ended.

In 1990, Bossley and his colleagues started surveying the Port River dolphins. The researchers would take their boat out on a 40-kilometer journey through the estuary, following the same path each time and photographing any dolphins they saw. They used distinguishing marks, such as shape or notches, on a dolphin’s dorsal fin to identify the animal and ensure each was only counted once.

From January 1990 to December 2013, the researchers made a total of 735 complete journeys, averaging one survey every 11.7 days. Based on those surveys, and the near absence of dolphins in the 1980s, the team estimates that bottlenose dolphin sightings are increasing by about 6 percent a year.

“The trends in sightings provide compelling evidence of a large change in some aspect of relative abundance and occupancy and usage of the Port River estuary,” the researchers write. The increase could be the result of an increase in the resident population, in the number of visiting dolphins or a combination of both.

Improved water quality may be better for the dolphins or their prey. Plus, the establishment of the sanctuary gave the dolphins some protection against human activities. In addition, Bossley notes, “by designating the area as a sanctuary, the public is both more aware and more protective of the dolphins.” The dolphins still have to deal with human impacts — the river is not pollution free, an attack occurred as recently as 2014 and there’s a growing new potential threat in the form of tourism — but the dolphins appear to be able to cope.

The Adelaide dolphins offer a lesson in conservation, Bossley and his colleagues note. Corralling off large areas for wildlife from human activities isn’t always necessary. “People have to learn to live with wildlife,” Bossley says. And that “requires taking into account both the wildlife itself and its habitats.”

Amorphophallus flowers in Adelaide, Australia


Titan arum

From the Australian Broadcasting Corporation today:

Smelly corpse flower draws late-night visitors to Adelaide Botanic Gardens

A stench has drawn late-night visitors to Adelaide‘s Botanic Gardens as one of the world’s biggest flowers, the titan arum or corpse flower, has bloomed in its Bicentennial Conservatory.

The smell is likened by some people to rotting fish — and in the rainforests of Sumatra, where the plant is native, the scent encourages pollination.

It is the second corpse flower to bloom in Adelaide in just over a month and horticulturalist Matt Coulter of the Botanic Gardens said the conservatory remained open until midnight to let people get a whiff.

“It actually smells strongest into the evening,” he explained.

“The plant actually pulses the smell out, so it’s not just one smell that just hangs around [but] every 20 or 30 seconds the plant will push out some aroma and then that will dissipate and then another 20 or 30 seconds [later] it will actually push it out again.”

The flower blooms and emits its unusual aroma for a couple of days before it starts to wither.

Mr Coulter said a decade of propagation and nurturing by Botanic Gardens staff had achieved the two blooms within just weeks.

“We’ve been growing it, potting it up and hoping that one day it would come into flower and luckily enough we’ve been able to have two within a month which is quite incredible for our state,” he said.

“It’s quite rare to get one flower — to get two within a month is fantastic.”

The conservatory opened again at 7:00am today to give visitors a chance to see and smell the flower.

“It’s a very strong sort of ammonia, rotting fish sort of smell,” Mr Coulter said, and gardens visitors agreed.

One said: “It smells like a corpse or what I imagine a corpse would smell like.”

“I suppose it does smell a bit like rotting flesh but it’s quite an acrid smell,” another said.

Good South Australian shorebird news


This video says about itself:

The Adelaide International Bird Sanctuary- BirdLife Australia

24 March 2015

Just north of Adelaide, on the east coast of Gulf St Vincent, lies one of South Australia’s most important areas for migratory and resident shorebirds. Dubbed the “Samphire Coast” for its vast network of natural samphire saltmarshes, the area supports nationally and internationally significant numbers of migratory and resident shorebirds and has been recently gazetted by the state as the Adelaide International Bird Sanctuary.

52 shorebird species, including 37 migratory species, have been recorded in the Samphire Coast where they benefit from a unique mix of natural and artificial habitats including: Extensive tidal mudflats, saltmarshes, tidal creeks and estuaries, stormwater detention wetlands, effluent water treatment ponds and commercial saltfields.

To learn about BirdLife Australia’s continuing conservation work in the area and more, visit here.

From BirdLife:

Shorebirds gain new sanctuary in South Australia

By Sean Dooley, Wed, 02/12/2015 – 21:14

Paul Sullivan, CEO of BirdLife Australia, welcomed the announcement from SA Environment Minister, Mr Ian Hunter, that the Adelaide International Bird Sanctuary will be proclaimed a National Park.

Mr Hunter told the crowd gathered at the Adelaide Flyway Festival in October that the government would also pursue a nomination for the Adelaide International Bird Sanctuary to be acknowledged as a site of significance in the East Asian–Australasian Flyway.

The world’s shorebirds are in crisis. According to BirdLife Australia, their populations have collapsed in recent years, and nowhere has this has been highlighted more than in Australia.

Most migratory shorebirds we see in Australia make an astounding migration from Siberia and Alaska each year, an arduous journey along the ‘East Asian–Australasian Flyway’ through China, Korea and South East Asia to spend the summer in Australia.

All along the Flyway, they are losing the habitats they rely on to survive. Their plight was recognised at the Flyway Festival held on the shores of Gulf St Vincent at Adelaide’s St Kilda foreshore.

“Our shorebirds are in big trouble,” said Paul Sullivan, CEO of BirdLife Australia. “We must be driven by a positive future for shorebirds. We need champions to fight the silent shorebirds crisis.”

Mr Sullivan acknowledged that shorebird conservation was an international issue, and that countries along the flyway need to step up to conserve these birds whose travels span the globe, although it is also crucially important to deal with local issues in Australia too.

The newly established Adelaide International Bird Sanctuary was an important first step, he said.

“The Adelaide International Bird Sanctuary is a role model for other states. We need more protected shorebird sites in every state and the Northern Territory.”

“If Australia, as a nation, steps up and plays a leadership role in shorebird conservation at home, we will gain the moral authority to ask China and Korea to do the right thing.”

Mr Sullivan highlighted that conservation organisations, such as BirdLife Australia, community groups, experts and governments must work together in a coherent partnership if they are to achieve any positive change, he said.

“If we can articulate together how we will make a difference, we can inspire people to help make it happen.”

Australia is a stunning birding destination, but with more than 700 bird species, many of which are endemic to the region, it can also be an overwhelming one. Whether birders are residents familiar with their local birds, just getting started birding or visitors with no experience with Australian species, Birds of Australia: A Photographic Guide is a comprehensive and visually stunning resource: here.