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Gone Fishing

I am going to take some time out from this blog to try and complete a couple of projects that I’ve started, but am having trouble finishing. So there may be no new posts here for a while.

In the meantime you can subscribe for my irregular email updates here:

And check the ‘Community Home’ page for updates from other readers with their nature photographs and more here:

And here’s a picture I took of a fisher, a darter cormorant, in Kakadu National Park a few years ago.

Interestingly according to one account of life in the Lower Murray in South Australia one hundred years ago there was a bounty on cormorants (that are closely related to darters), with 34,000 taken in one year ostensibly because they ate too many fish [1].

[1] Travels in Australasia, by Wandandian see page 301

26th July 1909 at Caurnamont, near Mannum

‘Birds were very scarce, though we saw one fine old spoonbill wading round the swamp and swinging his head from side to side in the peculiar fashion these birds have while feeding.

On the latter day, while out shooting, I picked up a freshly decapitated turtle of the kind called by the natives “emys,” and on meeting a fisherman enquired of him whether he had caught many, and why it was without a head.

He replied that the turtles were so destructive of fish spawn, that a scalp fee of one penny was paid on the head of each by the Government, and that he caught a good many from time to time.

On further enquiry, I found that in the past year the South Australian Government had paid over £600 in scalping fees to various people for 116,000 turtles and 34,000 cormorants, thus satisfactorily explaining why the cormorants are so shy, and look upon every man with suspicion; for when one contemplates what a hunting they must have in the course of the year to furnish such an enormous “bag,” it would be decidedly strange if they were at all otherwise. In spite of all this I saw hundreds of them on the Murray and lake waters, so that I am sure many must pour in from outside to take the place of those that are shot, and should this be the case it will be many years before their numbers are at all reduced, or the Government get anything like the full value for their money, or even justify its expenditure.’

[Back then Murray cod were plentiful despite the turtles and the cormorant though now there are no Murray cod in that stretch of river below Lock 1.]


3,962 Responses to “Gone Fishing”

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  1. Comment from: spangled drongo

    Gav, good links BUT once again they prove my point, not yours.

    A pear-shaped geoid with flat spots [the earth] means that remote sensing systems need to be checked and continually monitored and adjusted to give highly accurate data.

    When we are talking fractions of a millimeter per year SLR it really baffles belief that a RSS can detect this and of course this is NOT what happens in the real world. RSS detection is simply an exercise in statistics and assumption.

    In the real world of observations SLs rise and fall by much larger amounts and they can only truly be assesed over minima of a half century or greater.

    Correcting “datums” gets you closer to the mark but I have experienced errors, in GPSs fitted with the latest datum corrections, of 100 meters and more.

    Sadly the practice of recording and accepting virtual reality as factual, takes the alarmists even further from the real world.

  2. Comment from: spangled drongo

    This erosion in Norfolk looks fixable but nothing permanent ever seems to be done.

    By the look of the coastline there would be undersea stores of sand that could be pumped ashore to build buffering dunes.

    They must feel that it is not worth the cost in a sparsely populated area. A bit sad compared to what the Dutch have done just across the pond.

    Gav needs to check the land of the tulips if he is fair dinkum about real world SLR.

  3. Comment from: cohenite

    gav, hard at work, doing his bit against SLR:

  4. Comment from: Johnathan Wilkes

    Sadly the practice of recording and accepting virtual reality as factual, takes the alarmists >b>even further from the real world.

    Is that possible?

    whether I read and or comment on your links or not is neither here nor there, as it happens I looked at them and it’s fairly standard stuff I’m familiar with.

    My comment related to your obsession with modern electronic data gathering techniques, which you seem to regard as infallible.
    They are not! (for your info I built an electronic altimeter from a kit in the early nineties, they still had to be calibrated same as the others)

    As to “end of discussion”?

    Please, since when do you discuss anything? You present your little thought bubbles as irrefutable facts and no amount of contrary facts will dissuade you from your cast in stone ideas.

    Discussion? One can have a more meaningful discussion with a doorknob.

  5. Comment from: spangled drongo

    Cohers, are you saying, “take your hand off it and put your hand in it?”

  6. Comment from: spangled drongo

    “I built an electronic altimeter from a kit in the early nineties,”

    JW, what was the sensor for height above SL, do you remember? Is it a chip with an aneroid barometer in it? I wonder how big that chip is and whether you can buy them separately?

  7. Comment from: Johnathan Wilkes

    I actually still have it as it’s not certified for registered aircraft so never got built in.

    Looking at it right now, as I have my day off from the office.
    It’s an Altronics Altimeter from Silicon Chip design
    The whole thing is only 1.5*3*4.2 in in size.
    Model No.K2530 the sensor is SenSym 120 SCX 15ANC I assume it’s a simple piezo sensor.

    Works very well even now, I used to carry it with me when hiking to check elevations as it’s accurate to within 5 feet.
    Or should I say it having a digital readout it displays in 2 feet intervals, setting it lower and it flickers.

    These days the GPS is more convenient.

    Many people make the mistake that a digital instrument is more accurate, not the case at all, just easier to read!

  8. Comment from: Debbie

    So true:
    “Many people make the mistake that a digital instrument is more accurate, not the case at all, just easier to read!”

    They are often much easier to use.

    They can also be more easily messed up!

    Like all measuring instruments…they need to be callibrated.

    You still haven’t explained what an ‘information wrecker’ is.

  9. Comment from: Johnathan Wilkes

    Put in new battery, adjusted the bar. pressure to the current 1009 and shows an elevation of 30 feet which is spot on.

    Yes Debbie they are easier to use and the better ones are very accurate indeed, but you pay for them too, for using first quality components.
    I was thinking of the garden variety you can buy in hardware stores etc..

  10. Comment from: spangled drongo

    Thanks JW. I remember thinking how wonderful the latest digital knot meters were which showed speeds in hundredths of a knot, likewise digital calipers after a lifetime of using vernier calipers but these days my old analogues are more accurate and dependable. The touch on those old vernier screw gauges for measuring the diameter of a human hair is just wonderful.

    Multi-meters too.

    And the batteries don’t go flat.

  11. Comment from: Neville

    Ross McKitrick what a hero and thoroughly decent bloke. Yet he is hated by the leading lights of the CAGW brigade.

  12. Comment from: Debbie

    Fair enough JW,
    We actually use fairly shmicky stuff in ag, especially the GPS & instruments re chemical application.
    My point is that it is still subject to human error via callibration just like the older stuff was.

  13. Comment from: Johnathan Wilkes

    “Multimeters too.
    And the batteries don’t go flat.”

    How true!
    I’m lucky or unlucky to be educated at a time when analog was still dominant but digital was fast catching up.
    Many regard analog Multimeters as useless and obsolete, obsolete they may become but useless?

    Learn to use them properly, meaning, know the source impedance, select the highest possible range still giving useful readings and you can’t go wrong.
    I assume of course that one is using a decent instrument in the first place with a reasonably high internal resistance, not a moving iron monstrosity.

    Think on it, these were the instruments that helped create the modern equivalents we have now.
    I still have in my workshop, and use occasionally, an old analog Phillips Type 564 Dual beam storage oscilloscope, its only drawback is its bulk, but I have plenty of space so it doesn’t matter.

    As to digital radio and communications? Fine, I’m happy with them, they are great when working, but if my life depended on it, I’d still keep, as I do, a shortwave analog transceiver handy. I can talk to mates in the states or Europe using a few watts of power not depending on satellites or landlines.

    Imagine a satellite failure or sabotage, where would your digital communication be then?

    This is not to deride modern science and equipment, that would be hypocritical as I’m running an IT business, I’m using them and am happy to use them, but they are no substitute for brains and knowledge, just tools, that’s all they are.

  14. Comment from: spangled drongo

    The pitfalls of relying on too much technology to measure things. Now only 2 inches of SLR from Greenland by 2130.

    Worst case by 2100 will be 30 cm [a foot] but more likely no difference from today:

    Dya think the Doha’s will take note? Gav?

  15. Comment from: spangled drongo

    JW, my father used to use a slide rule and I always wonder what became of it. I still use his old theodolite for dam building and accurate surveying. GPS is better for a quick and dirty but the accuracy of that theodolite is impressive.

    Those trig points where early surveyors parameterized the whole country to make subdivisions at say, Longreach, reconcile with Brisbane to the nearest fraction of an inch always impress me.

    They worked so hard to get their relative levels right to prevent flooding too.

    This is why I find it hard to accept these modern virtual-reality-measurements.

  16. Comment from: Johnathan Wilkes

    Of course you are right Debbie.

    This is why the obsessive reliance on instruments located on satellite platforms with constantly changing orbits, even if slightly, irks me.
    They need for ever to compensate and adjust, in the end not knowing what’s what.
    AND we are talking about millimeters, for Gods sake! Hello! anyone home?

  17. Comment from: gavin

    Deb + JW; both on ignore list.

    SD; vernier screw gauges & human hair, really? Chatting to a guy on hols down the coast who claims they have a big flock of sheep all producing wool under 12 microns and their dozen or so bales go straight to just one manufacturer in Italy. His other claim after more questions was they graded and cleared a much larger flock using a hand held digital fleece meter. He followed with paddock cameras, home grown gate program operating from lounge room 24/7 to ensure clean sheep, no dirt in wool and so on. I guess it’s been a while since evaluating our first digital surveillance gear.

    Having read my links, I curious about your faith in Port Denison etc from here on. There was a note that gives 19 years min for tide>SL calibration. My guess is today’s experts depend on sat ref to line up historic data from one site to another and it’s a pains taking biz even with computers. But the benefit is a much longer time series and this shows the SL hockey stick.

    Btw SD; my attitude rigorous analysis and certification after verifying any instrument or system in it’s operating mode was, all follow up tasks went with others who needed the assurance. Also contrary to JW, electronics were never my cup of tea, nor was programming anything behind the control panels.

  18. Comment from: Jonathan Wilkes

    “JW on ignore list.”

    I wonder which Saint I should give thanks for, not being very religious?

    He followed with paddock cameras, home grown gate program operating from lounge room 24/7 to ensure clean sheep, no dirt in wool and so on.

    Can’t help myself Gav (also I have time on my hands today), despite being ignored, pray tell how did he mange to keep his sheep clean by watching them through a camera?
    When we had the farm dad would’ve given his eye tooth to achieve that.
    And we also managed to correctly measure the fiber thickness.

    Also contrary to JW, electronics were never my cup of tea, nor was programming anything behind the control panels.

    There you go again, when and where did I say you were into electronics, although I wouldn’t be surprised if you did claim it in the past?

    I said you are depending too much on electronic measurements as if they were infallible while disregarding and dismissing physical on the ground observations as useless.

    And may I play a petulant child Gav?
    If you recall I put you on my imaginary ignore list some time ago.
    I call it imaginary because on other forum platforms an ignored persons posts will not be visible to the ignoree!
    If there is such a word?

  19. Comment from: spangled drongo

    gav, you mean you consider yourself a scientific instrumentalist and you’ve never measured the diameter of your hair with a vernier screw gauge?

    Your education is sadly lacking.

    It’s much easier than measuring the diameter of wool fiber. You need at least 3 hands to do that because you have to stretch it but a good wool classer does it by eye.

    My faith in Fort Denison is because it is a long-term “local” tide gauge. As is Port Arthur. As are my own benchmarks and they all say that there is nothing happening that even you have to worry about.

    Alarmists have tried to discredit Port Arthur, claiming that it has experienced post-glacial rebound and SLs have risen accordingly but I have always wondered how naked aboriginals lived there 30,000 y ago if it was covered in ice.

    But please enlighten me as to where you can see the SL hockey stick in that Fort Denison link I gave you.

  20. Comment from: spangled drongo

    Fort Denison again:

  21. Comment from: Johnathan Wilkes

    I definitely have too much time on my hands today.
    Watching ABC news reporting, this year being the “hottest”, ice melting, droughts and pestilence.

    This report was prepared for the Doha (spl?) festivities.

    The mind boggles!
    If anything I though this year was quite cool, but what would I know?

    I only walk outside and experience real weather as it happens, as opposed to climate models!
    I’m sure someone here will give us a reason why I’m so wrong?

  22. Comment from: Neville

    I hope everyone here has 5 mins to watch this video from THEIR ABC about the dicovery of American whaler boats under a car park in Bunbury WA.
    I’d be interested in what everyone thinks of the position of this find in just 150 years?

    It seems that the land/sand has re claimed a fair bit of sea here in the past 150 odd years. In this area of coast at Bunbury anyway.

  23. Comment from: spangled drongo

    And that other old chestnut, ocean acidification.

    Here an under-sea volcano turns the ocean more acidic than battery acid but still we survive:

    They’ll be coming to get us both pretty soon I expect, JW.

    We’re going through a terrible heatwave up here in Qld at present. Today our temps ranged from 18c to 28c.


  24. Comment from: spangled drongo

    That’s an interesting observation Neville but that same thing is happening around our way where in the last 36 years with no cyclones the beaches have grown enormously.

    When those cyclones make their cyclical return and some erosion is experienced again, the screams of CAGW will be deafening.

    The buried, wrecked schooner “Coolangatta” was exposed about 45 years ago and I souvenired a bit of it but it has been buried again by the shifting sands.

    Interestingly that ship was named after a Coolangatta on the south coast of NSW and from which, our Coolangatta got its name.

  25. Comment from: cohenite

    Fort Denison is an excellent example of how AGW alarmists are dealing with sea level as part of the general hysteria; PMSL shows the lie to that and here is a nice graph:

    The best record in Australia is however at Port Arthur which goes back to 1841 and this paper shows no exceptional rise, even when isostatic factors based on modelling, are included:

  26. Comment from: Neville

    Cohers did you have a look at the video I linked?

  27. Comment from: Neville

    Jo Nova and Frank Lansner discussed man- made SLR in May 2012. Interesting post and comments.

  28. Comment from: gavin

    No comment needed

  29. Comment from: cohenite

    Hi Neville; the Bunbury one? We should send gav down there to reconnoitre; he would be the right vintage; and he could report back with a poem; The Ancient Mariner strikes sand at Bunbury, or some such thing.

  30. Comment from: cohenite

    Thanks gav; you are obviously stepping into luke’s shoes; putting up references which defeat the purpose; from your Fort Denison link, which I will book-mark:

    “The Fort Denison data clearly shows a period of reduced sea level rise over the period
    1986-2007 of 0.4 mm/year as opposed to 0.9 mm/year over the length of the dataset.
    This is assumed to be associated with long period cycles rather than a slowing of sea
    level rise. For the majority of gauges presented in this report, this would imply that the
    measured rate of sea level rise over approximately 20 years is less than what would be
    measured over longer periods.”

  31. Comment from: Ian Thomson

    Hi Gavin,
    All that electronic assistance in growing superfine wool is just that, – assistance.
    It will help him select his 12 micron flock and then monitor, every single day , the amount of feed rationed (to each sheep).
    Otherwise , this is a very labour intensive business.
    Go away for the weekend, the neighbour gives them too much and the 12 microns is a memory for the season. Gives them too little or something is blocked and the fibre has a tender break.

    Love see what he’s done though, sounds like good stuff.

    There was a story on ABC Country News recently about a Vic high country farmer, who has a high tech electric dog fence system monitored from the house.
    Every now and then, one of those non ectronic dogs figures out how to beat it and has to be hunted down and shot before it teaches any others

  32. Comment from: Tony Price

    Sea level at Fort Denison hasn’t risen since 1999 after the 1998 El Niño. However Sydney isn’t representative of MSL around Oz. No station is – they’re all different. See my “Sea Levels in Australia” page for Sydney
    … and 23 other stations linked from a map.

    It’s ironic that MSL at Hobart is dropping, and has been since the start of the record in 1967.
    The CSIRO somehow ignored that one, despite the fact that Google Street View shows that they can see the site of the gauge from their windows.

  33. Comment from: gavin

    Trust coh to find a decade that goes below trend, which btw is .9 not .5

    what you guys failed to realize through previous discussions. anybody’s trend based on historic tidal records from historic tide gauges is nothing more than a guess without authorization because survey info and bench marks are so scant. True SL does not exist yet and that fact opened the door to quacks.

    Where I have pointed to the emerging scientific datum points as part of ongoing research in Aus you sluggers fall over wuwt and associated blogs that have no value in the end. Given lumpy earth, patchy weather and turbulent oceans, my SL based on watching average tides round various coastlines and inlets with a focus on the horizontal tide marks where separation should be greatest wins every day. Evidence is written every day for short term considerations. Long term views require only a simple knowledge of headlands, rock formations and their erosion in the tidal zone. Let’s not forget G.

    “What do we mean by sea level?”

    “Sea level, or ‘mean sea level’ as it is sometimes known, is the average height of the ocean’s surface between high and low tide.
    Scientists refer to it as the equipotential surface of the world’s oceans, which means that its level is affected by the strength of gravity (or, more technically, ‘gravitational acceleration’) around the Earth.
    Variations in the gravitational acceleration are themselves caused by variations in the internal density of the Earth.
    Changes in tides and wave conditions over time are averaged out to determine a ‘still water level’ that can be used to identify whether the sea level has changed and also the height of the land above sea level. In the UK, height above sea level is measured from the ‘Ordnance Datum’, which is the mean sea level at the tide gauge bolt Newlyn Pier, Cornwall.”

  34. Comment from: Ian Thomson

    ” In the UK, height above sea level is measured from the ‘Ordnance Datum’, which is the mean sea level at the tide gauge bolt Newlyn Pier, Cornwall.” ”

    A wise, now deceased, mate was from this patch. He knew a lot about sea levels and was a keen student of Cornish history including offshore ruins.
    His old school song apparently contained the words- ” When King Arthur ruled o’er Lyonesse ”

    King Arthur shouldn’t have driven that farting horse and Merlin must’ve turned out taxable amounts of carbon just making potions. Top that off with some mysterious Lady, living on a lake with popup islands, thereby interfering with Gaia.
    The CSIRO would tell you that it cost them their whole country.
    Be a new verse for the old school song, very much in tune with the nonsense used to frighten today’s kids, about AGW and SLR

  35. Comment from: gavin

    Tony; it seems I have a bad habit of listening to guys we meet on the beach who I suspect know a lot more about electronics that I ever did. This time though my partner did most of the heavy work hearing him out while I shot the beach and outflow from a very high tide up the creek. A pissing contest unessary since I have totally retired. He was only killing time I feel in retrospect till that out going gutter rush ebbed and turned with back more school salmon over the bar. Interestingly, he did not give his name as we shook hands before he waded in.

    For your info, my only interest in wool stems from a brief engagement with Dawson’s of Scotland Australian cashmere project and it was their lecture that alerted me to the super fine quality control issues and spinning difficulties below 12 micron.

    This guy helping his brother in law had set up QA in the paddock where all sheep could be watched while grazing to determine their needs and state of pastures, with feed being re organised at the flick of a switch. We can’t recall how he moved those sheep. Hope that helps

  36. Comment from: cohenite

    “lumpy earth, patchy weather and turbulent oceans,”

    There you go; gav’ll knock up some poetry for ya for every occasion.

  37. Comment from: Neville

    Could this new study be just another rehash of the west Antarctic peninsula BS nonsense ala Steig etc. The west Antarctic ice sheet has NATURALLY increased and then decreased over the entire holocene interglacial. If the seas are supposed to be rising at a faster rate then where is the evidence?

    Currently SLR is 17cm by 2100. So why can’t UNI of Colorado measure this increase in melt?

  38. Comment from: Neville

    Yet another study shows that Greenland ice loss may be slower than first thought.

  39. Comment from: Larry Fields

    Here’s my latest article at Hubpages.

    Larry’s Strength Training Exercises for Hiking


    Summary: This article describes strength training exercises that can enhance performance on mountain hikes, and prevent sore muscles afterward.

  40. Comment from: spangled drongo

    Gav reckons that true SL doesn’t exist but he is not so sure about GAT.

    Walter Starck says:

    “The average temperature for the Earth, or any region or even any specific place is very difficult to determine with any accuracy. At any given time surface air temperatures around the world range over about 100°C.”

    What are the real chances of us getting global average temperatures anywhere near right?

    What d’you think are the chances of Antarctic Ice Cap melt like they are braying at Doha when this year they were at record temps of – 84c.

    The coldest recorded on earth:

  41. Comment from: Tony Price

    gav says he thinks
    “what you guys failed to realize through previous discussions. anybody’s trend based on historic tidal records from historic tide gauges is nothing more than a guess without authorization because survey info and bench marks are so scant. True SL does not exist yet and that fact opened the door to quacks.”
    Survey and bench marks are so scant? You point us to ABSLMP on the BOM site – a little digging would reveal that tide gauges are levelled periodically using typically 10-20 bench marks per station. ABSLMP stations use CGPS – Continuous GPS stations sited near the gauges, which stations have several of their own benchmarks tied into the gauge benchmark chain.

    “Precise levelling support for the Australian Baseline Sea Level Monitoring Project is provided by relevant state agencies and Geosciences Australia. The purpose of levelling sea level monitoring gauges is to establish whether they are moving vertically with respect to the land. An array of coastal benchmarks must be surveyed periodically to allow stable benchmarks to be identified and used as a reference for the tide gauge. Further information about geodetic support for the Australian Baseline Sea Level
    Monitoring Project is available from Geosciences Australia.”

    “Given lumpy earth, patchy weather and turbulent oceans, my SL based on watching average tides round various coastlines and inlets with a focus on the horizontal tide marks where separation should be greatest wins every day”.
    You mean irregular and infrequent eyeballing at a few sites wins out over continuous measurements to the nearest mm at carefully levelled and maintained gauges? You take my breath away gav, you really do. Do you measure temperature with a wetted finger?

  42. Comment from: Neville

    A good letter by concerned scientists to the UN sec general Ban Ki Moon.

    Unbelievable that he would endorse Gore’s barking mad BS,. what hope have we got?

  43. Comment from: gavin

    Tony, when do you suppose all these checks and balances for the Australian Baseline Sea Level
    Monitoring Project actually fell into place?

    I can measure temperature on an old CSIRO instrument hanging out the back. Last time I looked just before getting lunch. it was 33.5 C after taking into account it’s well known zero problem. BoM for Canberra Airport gives us 33.6 C at 12.30 Howzat?

  44. Comment from: spangled drongo

    Hopefully gav, these checks and balances are done as a work in progress but the point is, your thermo out the back is never gonna tell you anything except weather whereas, if you pay attention to those tide gauges, you will know better than any other indicator, the state of global warming.

    As I have berated you with for a long time, my benchmarks that go back as far as 70 years, all agree with the tide gauges and they prove that global warming is a pussycat.

  45. Comment from: Neville

    NOAA has produced a paper with a total SLR estimate from 2005 to 2012 of 1.6mm a year.

  46. Comment from: spangled drongo

    Imagine the world ruled by gav and the GCMs. Alarmist Martin strikes again:

  47. Comment from: spangled drongo

    Neville, when they’re dancing with GRACE they’re never quite game to whiz her off.

    Always love talk, never down with the pants.

    Always SLR, never SLF.

    Well, only for the Indian Ocean.

  48. Comment from: gavin

    Three takes on polar sheet ice loss. 11mm over two decades + thermal expansion at about five times the ice loss and you guys haven’t got a leg to stand on, decel indeed.

    Why quacks wish to undermine climate science everywhere needs to be fleshed out and who still wants to be the bunny messenger at this stage needs proper tracking. Quote that if you will.

  49. Comment from: spangled drongo

    More dances with GRACE eh gav?

    You need to change the record.

    It’s still only producing half the SLR that we were supposed to be getting last century.

    With that -84c it must’ve frozen again.

    Phew! That was close.

  50. Comment from: cohenite

    gav makes a definitive statement based on Fairfax, the Guardian and CNN.


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