Black Throated Finch now extinct in NSW

EmmaLindsay-15endangered black-throated finches lineup-2014-oil on linen-Photo_Elouise-HiRes

15 Endangered Black-throated Finches lineup, 2014, Emma Lindsay, photo Elouise. Currently on tour with Bimblebox: art – science – nature.

The Black-throated Finch is now a SPECIES PRESUMED EXTINCT in NSW.  See NSW scientific report here.

The Black-throated Finch once had a range from north-east NSW to north of Queensland’s Cape York Peninsula, west to Central Qld and northwest to the Gulf of Carpentaria.
…The southern subspecies of the Black-throated Finch, hereafter Black-throated Finch (southern), has declined significantly in the last 150 years and is now rarely reported south of Clermont and Ayr, central Queensland (TSSC 2005; BTFRT 2007). In New South Wales (NSW), the Black-throated Finch (southern) was formerly widespread and ‘tolerably abundant’ in the Northern Tableland and Northwest Slopes Regions, from the Queensland border south to the upper Hunter Valley and west to the Liverpool Plains (Gould 1865; Cooper and McAllan 1995; Ley and Cook 2001; Forshaw et al. 2012)…

…The Black-throated Finch (southern) has not been recorded in any conservation reserves in NSW (NPWS 1999).  (From NSW Scientific Report)

The last remaining populations of the Black-throated Finch are in the Galilee Basin and in an area near Townsville.
©Emma Lindsay 2013_15 endangered black throated finches (Memento mori for Bimblebox) digital photograph copyright of the artist

15 Endangered Black-throated Finches momento mori for Bimblebox, 2013 , Emma Lindsay, photograph copyright of Emma Lindsay.  Currently on tour with Bimblebox: art – science – nature.

In this article: Stakes raised for black-throated finch’s largest remaining habitat on Adani mine site, by Joshua Robertson  (The Guardian, 25 February, 2016).
 Dr April Reside, a member of the black-throated finch’s threatened species recovery team which provided advice to environment minister Greg Hunt, said its extinction in NSW showed why its habitat in north Queensland’s Galilee basin was pivotal to its survival.

“Basically the evidence is pretty strong that they’ve lost over 80% of their entire range,” she told Guardian Australia.

“That’s why the Galilee basin area is of such interest, because it’s basically the best habitat left for the black-throated finch, and it is the largest chunk of habitat left.”

read full article here.

The Coal Throated Finch, 2014, Rew Hanks, photo courtesy of the artist

The Coal Throated Finch, 2014, Rew Hanks, photo courtesy of the artist

Final approval to Carmichael Coal Mine, Galilee Basin, Queensland has been granted.

On February 2, 2016, the Queensland State Government gave the final approval to the Carmichael Mine.   This coal mine will be situated in the northern part of the Galilee Basin and will destroy the majority of the best remaining habitat for the Black-throated Finch. For article:  Adani’s Carmichael mine gains final Queensland Government environmental approval, ABC news.

Offsets by the mining company are required.  More from Joshua Robertson’s article:

Adani won Hunt’s approval in part with a proposal to cushion the impact on the finch by setting aside land to make up for the habitat destroyed by the mine’s development.

Reside said this attempt at mitigation rested on “an absolute logical fallacy”.

“If the birds aren’t already there, they’re not going to move there,” she said.

“If it’s good habitat, they’ll be there. They’re a highly mobile species.

“It’s not that there might be viable habitat somewhere and they just haven’t found it yet, because clearly it’s contracted from so far, if it was viable habitat they would still be there.”

Black-throated Finches have been spotted at the Bimblebox Nature Refuge.  In fact birdo Maureen Cooper and I glimpsed a small flock of these birds when we began our journey home from the inaugural Bimblebox Artist Camp in 2012.

And there are more coal mines slated for the Galilee Basin, including the China First mine which would swallow up the Bimblebox Nature Refuge.

In this article:  Could this little bird halt one of the world’s biggest mining projects? Eric Vanderduys and Dr April Reside explain:

The main stronghold for Black-throated Finches is the Galilee Basin, which contains extensive coal reserves.

The Basin is a hotspot of proposed and existing coal mines, including the massive Carmichael (Adani) mine, which would involve an investment of over $16 billion.  This is in addition to a number of other mines (Alpha, Kevin’s Corner, China First, China Stone, and South Galilee) … in the region.

Collectively, these mines will span nearly 1,700 square kilometers, most of which are open-cut mines where the land is essentially nuked for coal extraction. 

Now that doesn’t sound good fof the Black-throated Finch, does it!

I will give the final comment on the Black-throated Finch to poet Brett Dionysius and musician Jim Moginie with their auido that was created for Bimblebox 153 Birds.

Black-throated Finch by poet Brett Dionysius, Black-throated Finch birdcall by musician Jim Moginie on guitar.  Audio compiled and mixed by Boyd.

Jill Sampson

Bimblebox: art – science – nature is currently touring, next venue is The University Gallery, Newcastle.

Bimblebox 153 Birds will next be shown at Gympie Regional Gallery in August, 2016.

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