26 May 2009

Less Fig Trees at Manly Beach

Large old endemic fig trees are dying mysteriously along Marine Parade. In the first image, the circled tree has been dropping its leaves for a long time now. The one around the corner at the sandstone sculpture (image 2, below) has just recently decided to shed most of its leaves and immature figs (image 3).
It appears that the cliff face is becoming increasingly tree-free. Instead weeds are spilling down and Indian Mynas are replacing the native dragons. Changes!
More on Fig trees in Manly
Trees on Council Land
Images: Google Maps

25 May 2009

Plastic Pellets and Erosion at Manly Beach

Wild weather events have brought forth two unusual phenomena at Manly Beach: erosion and plastic pellet pollution.

Erosion: At the south end , especially near the Life Saving Club the sand has dropped by 110 cm. Large chunks of cement, rusty iron pipes and sandstone are exposed. The stairs' foundations and the old infrastructural stumps have been exposed.

Plastic Pellets: Nurdle (pre-production plastic pellet or plastic resin pellet) are approximately 5mm in diameter, white or discoloured. All of it 'gets lost' in the industrial production and transportation of plastic products. Once in the ocean they become 'mermaid tears'. Many animals at the ocean become sick or die from them. In the end they enter the entire food chain. Additionally they leach plasticizers. They are also a transport medium of toxic chemicals (PCBs, DDE) in the marine environment. In the Great Pacific Garbage Patch giant amounts are in a vortex till the next gyre hurls them in any direction.

The plastic pellets have in the memory of Manly blog never been seen on the beach. There is also a lot of general plastic debris as well all along the beach.

Is there a marine science body responsible to monitor such occurences, or is it all up to the expertise of life savers?
International Pellet Watch, Global Monitoring of Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) using Beached Plastic Resin Pellets.
Plastic Debris, Manly Beach
Coasts eroding, tag, abc

24 May 2009

Herbicide Use in Manly

Herbicides kill unwanted plants

Biocides "have been designed to disrupt biological systems, causing death to target organisms, such as insects or plants"

They have been used in warfare to make the leaves fall off the trees in the rainforest(Agent Orange). The damage was great on all life and some victims fought a class action lawsuit about the poisoning.

These chemicals are not just used in warfare for eradicating life, they can also be put to use as chemical weapons to remove unwanted plants for example.
Once a place industrialises, that is it relies on fossil fuel machinery and chemicals for 'vegetation control' then the costly “rapid knockdown ability” of these toxins saves the labourer from bending down and picking up a weed.

Lately there have been many signs of the use of such substances in public areas that are highly frequented by people, pets and wildlife.

At the end of Bower St at the Shelly Headland Loookout where some Bitou weed (Chrysanthemoides monilifera*ssp) needed to be 'managed' a whole swath of native plants are dead or dying: Mangrove Boobialla (Myoporum ssp.), NZ spinach (Tetragonia tetragonioides) and Saltbush (Enchylaena). All of the endemic flora provided habitat for native marsupials and birds. It appears to be a very inefficient 'by-kill'. The location is on the cliff's edge so runoff is an issue. Why the remaining woody shrubs and trees are butchered is another question.

Around immersive Manly Town many poles have that iconic Australian 'one grass' sprouting at the bottom. The same signs of herbicide death. Even at the beach, the vegetation at the sandstone wall also shows the same signs. A sign of surface runoff?

Who knows what the turf along the pines contains which children and dogs are rolling in. Both toddlers and dogs are low to the ground and stand to be in closer contact.

Council's website
was last updated in 2007 on the matter and reads:

"The aim of this plan is to meet the community’s general right to know about pesticide applications made to outdoor public places that are owned or controlled by Manly Council. The plan allows members of the community to take action to avoid contact with pesticides if they wish. Manly Council aims to ensure that pesticides are applied to public places in a safe, responsible and humane manner, minimising harm to the community and the environment."

In a more current document council mentions that "70 litres or less of herbicide is to be used annually".

  • How is the public informed?
  • How is information made available?
  • How can residents/visitors/pets reduce exposure to land or beach where hazardous chemicals have been applied or have run to?
  • Why aren' t there any signs?

A community of users might have certainty at the moment, but history has taught that the Precautionary Principle is always a good guide. The impacts on peoples' health, the well-being of pets or the environmental impacts will, as usual come years later.

1 & 2, Poles with dead grass in Manly town, close to Manly Beach
3 Dead vegetation at the beach stairs. Run off?
4 Various Mangrove Boobialla at
Shelly Headland Loookout dying.

Endocrine Disruptors
Some Reasons to not use Herbicides

North Head , Lady Fairfax walk and lookouts also seem to be befallen by the great 'browning'. Weeds especially along the fences are doing well. Endemic plants are hit. Eutrophication down the cliff from the lookout.

" Weed killer kills human cell... Used in yards, farms and parks throughout the world, Roundup has long been a top-selling weed killer. But now researchers have found that one of Roundup’s inert ingredients can kill human cells, particularly embryonic, placental and umbilical cord cells." Environmental Health News, 220609

Nora Benachour and Gilles-Eric Sralini, Glyphosate Formulations Induce Apoptosis and Necrosis in Human Umbilical, Embryonic, and Placental Cells, Chem. Res. Toxicol., 2009, 22 (1), pp 97–105 DOI: 10.1021/tx800218n Publication Date (Web): December 23, 2008

20 May 2009

Roadkill at Ivanhoe Park, Manly

Parks or public green spaces are under constant pressure as they are seen as Terra nullius to be 'developed'. Ivanhoe Park is squeezed by two large roads (Sydney/Raglan), giant sports arenas, a large pub and other commercial facilities. The squeeze continues on this little island of flora and fauna.

We have stopped counting the road kill on both roads of native birds and marsupials. Today another Ringtail possum was smeared by racing drivers across Sydney Road. There seems to be a kill every day now... going unnoticed.
Image: Google Maps

Fishing (hooks) and Albatrosses - Manly Beach

Another dead Shy Albatross found at the beach. This time it was an obvious victim of 'fishing-by-kill'. The fishing hook was lodged in its eye and the nylon string entangled especially the young bird's legs.
Create more Marine Reserves, eradicate the ineffective and wasteful fishing industry and ban ' recreational' wasting of biodiversity.

More 'recretional fishing' victims at Manly Beach here

07 May 2009

Manly Beach Video with 'Announcements'

Manly Beach video made with a mobile, mashing up some of the audio-scape of the life guards' announcements and the sounds of the Pacific ocean. More ocean animations full screen...
Via DotAtelier

03 May 2009

Fragrant Flowers and Frogs Chanting

Perfumed air by flowering wetland heath (woollsia pungens), eucalyptus botryoides and most banksias. The audio-scape: Thousands of frogs vibrating the airwaves. A crisp crystal moon.

01 May 2009

Manly Beach Drift 'wood' - May

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:

Glassing - unintentional/intentional
A stunning lot of freshly cracked G L A S S on the beach. It can be mapped as a post-event phenomena.
On the cemented turf violence with glass, 'glassing' seems to be a popular, mostly alcohol-fuelled activity. There were a lot of bare-footed people on the beach. Which 'stakeholder' is responsible for this potentially dangerous 'externality'?

Airborne Bird Feces and Public Health

At prime visitor time the main cement stairs along the Corso beachfront were sprayed with a high pressure hose. The stairs tend to get caked in bird feces and 'fast food'. The odd butt and wrapping thrown in too. The worker wore no protective mask/ respirator while blowing the nutrient-rich accumulations of bird droppings, feathers and debris in the beach direction. Nearby visitors seated on the stairs received a good dose of of the moist, pulverised, and airborne mix. If OHS is an alien term, then at least the health hazards associated with bird feces and food wastes should be taken into consideration not just in times of pandemics.

An unusual jelly, a squarish transluscent bell and short, pink tentacles.(Purple Stinger, Pelagica noctiluca?) Never seen before. It seemed the only medusa on the beach.

An almost hot day with dense white clouds. The horizon uncluttered. 010509

Herbicide in runoff
Various plants around Manly suburbs seem to have been sprayed with herbicide. That classical plant around the pole that petrol-fuelled 'gardening' could not eradicate.

At the beach, along the wall where a few endemic grasses and other plants strain to stabilise the sand, the same 'yellowing'. The bio-cide seems to have flowed as surface runoff and finally came out of a drain, just above the beach vegetation. People often sit on these patches, but 'no worry' - it's just a bit of pesticide at the beach. 020509Crested Tern Habitat: Eutrophication Pipes
Awesome having Crested Terns bomb-dive next to one's head in the surf. Almost hot water. A Pelican flying circles, looking for a habitat. Many types of shells. Some post-event glass freshly chipped. Some fishing string.
At the Manly Life Saving Club, developments race on. Extreme pollution around that premise: a cacophony of debris blowers and diesel-fuelled deliveries of 'fast food' - all blowing into the building. A place to avoid. 040509

More than 24 Crested Terns with offspring. White Cockatoos grazing on conifer seeds. Styropore flakes seem to have come down the hill, washed out of the pipe and got flushed back in. A lot of them. The "Green" machines are disturbing the peace and quite. Fecal matter on the stairs being moistned and dispersed as aerosol by a high pressure hose again. 050509

Unusual mushroom-shaped sponges. Many leg-less seagulls. Why? Large Bluebottles.
All streetlights along North Steyne are on in the daylight. Too much money? Not enough CO2? Pollution from smokers, diesel vehicles and rancid restaurant oils mingling at the beach.
Elsewhere they are flying a blue flag at the beaches to assure users/visitors that the water is clean and the shore-line free of anthropogenic debris. 110509

Dense schools of different sized fish in the surf. Gannets diving for them (video) Seagulls chasing Crested Terns and Gannets for their rich catch. At places the ocean looked like it was 'boiling' with life. A few Willy Wagtails (Rhipidura leucophrys) checking out the dunes and a few Butcherbirds calling (audio) from the pines. 130509

A very large variety of shells today. Many Crested Terns still fishing. The surf had very large fish nosing around our legs. The usual plastic junk, fishing/diving garbage and chunky glass.

All streetlights blasting energy during the day from Queenscliff to North Steyne Surf Club. This has been going on for ages now, they must have money to burn! Their offspring might ask them one day why this planet has become so uninhabitable. (PDF) 150509

Diesel and noise pollution at the Queenscliff end: The smell of 'kelp' or the substance that flows out of Manly Lagoon has been exchanged for industrialising the beach and lagoon mouth with noisy and stinking machinery. 180509

The last oysters scratched off by very hungry and needy people at the Queenscliff rocks end. Street lights still blasting in the day as if there is no tomorrow. Dead fish and a lot of garden refuse washed down to the beach from the subs. 'Throw-away' lighters and very large, sharp pieces of glass. Boat-parking on the Cabbage Tree Bay Aquatic Reserve. Who needs biodiversity when in need of parking that petrol-guzzling 'recreational' aquatic vehicle? 190509

A second Shy Albatross found with a fishing hook in its eye and the fishing string tighly wrapped around its legs. Many dead fish and many sepia. The usual 'event' glass and one-mouthful wrappings.
People that look at things at the beach seem to be either small children or foreigners. For the rest it is a (free) gym or a path to the surf. 200509

Wild weather conditions pound the coast. The row of pines in full seed seem to emit a castanets' sound before the lorikeet frenzy starts. Two Pelicans glide over the beach without a movement.
The sand was covered in small pieces of volcanic rock that have blown in. Large Cuttlefish sepia bones.

Along the sandstone wall some native vegetation is re-establishing itself, holding the sand in place: Knotted Club Rush (Isolepis nodosa), Pigface (Carpbrotus glaucescens), NZ Spinach (Tetragonia tetragonioides) and Scaevola sp.
At the southern end the surf is lapping at the stairs, signs of erosion become visible.
The heavy rain washed suburbia clean again. Down the hill it all goes, all the unwanted externalities.
The plastic Junkspace contained fishing and surfing paraphernalia. Fast food 'throw-away' cutlery and dishes, a lot of balloons with fancy long strings, dummies, spray cans, furniture and crates.
An adult man flying plastic kite in the air, endangering others. Usually the plastic debris gets tangled in the tall pines and stays there for the birds.
A lot of fruit rolled around the shore: apples, figs, grapefruit, oranges, tropical mysteries. The gulls prefer apple.
The usual daytime light pollution and energy waste from Pine Street to the north all along North Steyne.
Around Pacific St. the dunes are reclaiming lawn territory from the underground.
An army plane flying low over the Pacific horizon. 210509

Wild weather still pounding the shoreline.
Audio: Pounding surf, White Cockatoos screeching.

Fauna: An abundance of Nudibranch (Glaucilla marginata). Crested Terns are still blending in with the Seagulls.
Jellyfish: Many Velella, the unusual Bluebottles mingling.

Vegetation matter: Most vegetation matter seems anthropogenic, cut branches, weeded grass tufts, weeds etc. Possibly washed down 'externalities' from sub-urbia.
Plastic: Many bags, 'party balloons' and extra long strings and fancy ribbons ready to entangle wildlife.

Glass: Only one extra large, sharp piece today.
Dogs: Black plastic bags, full (of feces) and empty blowing around the shoreline. Illegal dog packs ON the beach.

On the parade: the same pine vegetation as if the council's idling 'green' machine has never been there. 220509

Wild ocean, even the gulls are uncomfortabe at the beach. The volleyball infrastructure on the beach eroded and scrambled like toothpicks. That bit of 'real estate' on the beach won't be 'monetizing' for a while. The stairs are challenged by the pounding waves, the large sharp rocks from under the sand/ beach are exposed by the erosion. 230509

The erosion and plastic pellets have their own post. There was an unusual amount of anthropogenic debris on the beach. Mostly plastic, a lot of it minced. Giant rope knots, plastic cables etc, ideal to entangle. Most crested terns have disappeared. The smell was not the best and it was not kelp! 250509

Erosion, especially at the south end of the beach. Large rocks, cement lumps, iron bars and mysterious fibrous mats surfacing. The last upright volley poles are going.

Plastic junk and plastic ropes and fishing lines, knotted in thick entanglement balls. The "litter free" North Steyne beach was like the rest of the beach full of plastic garabage and plastic resin pellets.Kelp is arriving to replenish the (northern end of) beach and grasp the sand. Sea tulips and live marine creatures are also amongst it, so the human community will scream 'stinky weed' again and deprive the beach of what it needs. Strange insensitivity towards the other most overwhelming smells...
Jellyfish, large red/burgundy with a huge bell.

Motorised: Wheelies on the ocean, idling green machines on the parade and tractors at the beach stemming the tide of human junkspace. 260509

Kelp: At the north end of the beach: 150+ cm high kelp covering the pool's edge, the beach and surf. Sea Tulips are also mingling. Swarms of Swallows chasing thick swarms of 'kelpflies' in their habitat.

Sponges: A great variety, many still in their colour.
Jellyfish: a couple of the huge bell in red/burgundy.

Junkspace: Minced plastic junk all along the beach.
In front of the childrens' hospital the pines now even become a tip for long and thick fishing strings, high up in the trees, ready to entangle Lorikeets or any other bird. Junkspace making has many dimensions.
Horizon: Thick brown haze pollution. Romatic fireplaces, pollution from a car-dependent nation? 270509
Kelp: + 150 cm high especially at the northern end, sloshing in the surf and reaching into the lagoon and pool. All along the beach as well. As it is mixed with Sea tulips and Cunjevoi it will smell of decomposing animals. That is aside from the Manly lagoon smell, the many eutrophication pipes leading into it and the ocean, funneling the 'externalities' of Sub-urbia into the Pacific.

in great variety, Shark eggcases and Sea Urchins.
Swallow cleaning up the kelp and marine life 'flies'.

Plastic Junkspace: The old finely minced plastic with the plastic resin pellets from days ago, distributed along the dunes. A fresh lot in the thick kelp of mainly plastic bottles and fast food, eat & chuck debris. And all that on a 'litterfree beach'.

Dogs and more dogs illegally at the Queenscliff end of the beach.

Queenscliff cliff edge: Most woody vegetation (trees) rolling down the cliff 'sponatenously'. Even the endemic wetland reed (Phragmites australis) looks as if it is sick and tired of stabilising the cliff edge. Another habitat going for Herons and Ringtail possums. Only a bare and eroding cliff face/headland would be recognisable as iconically 'Australian'. 280509
See also Driftwood of:
April, March, February, January, 2009