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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: el gordo

    They think they have found the missing link between earthly climate and our star.

    ‘A paper published today in the Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics by Dr. Willie Soon finds the “Most convincing evidence for a sun-climate connection during the Holocene.” Professor Soon finds “The Equator-to-Pole Temperature Gradient [EPTG] is linked to Total Solar Irradiance [TSI],” noting, “This newly discovered relationship between TSI and the EPTG represents the ‘missing link’ that was implicit in the empirical relationship that Soon (2009) recently demonstrated to exist between multi-decadal TSI and Arctic and North Atlantic climatic change.”

    Channelling the Hockey Stitch (sic)

  2. Comment from: gavin

    Guys; Let’s keep in perspective.

    Can you have a good look at Rob Paingting’s recent post “Past 150,000 Years of Sea Level History Suggests High Rates of Future Sea Level Rise” re RSL & GMSL charts as presented,

    SD; since I can’t get Google Earth running yet, my key point is at Doctor’s Rocks NW Tas and the terrain either side for a few km should show minor coastline variations above and below present SL. An industrial estate close to Somerset on the Cam river is now covering a lesser step and dune line. To the West small creeks meander across old seabed that reaches well inland

  3. Comment from: spangled drongo

    I meant Google E as a joke gav.

    You can’t measure record SLs in a drive-by or from photographs. You gotta be paying attention your whole life.

    I have been involved with the Doltoids in discussing it for the last couple of days so I apologise for the lack of comment.

  4. Comment from: debbie

    Muddied Waters Documentary

    The documentary aired on 7Two last Sunday and is now available to view online. You can access it here.

  5. Comment from: spangled drongo

    Thanks Debbie, my speed is way down at the moment. I’ll have to wait for some improvement.

  6. Comment from: Johnathan Wilkes

    Many thanks Debbie will watch it tonight, had a quick look at some of the shorts, and am amazed by the common sense and clarity of thought of the people speaking.

    Why can’t we have those in parliament?
    Of course we know why.

    SD I really wish gav would relax his rules and look at some of the blogs he avoids.

    He could see what his heroes are up to.
    That post on WUWT about the The University of Tennessee professors’ finding is astounding.

    The audacity of them predicting 2 years weather 40 years hence, based on two years in the fifties is gob-stopping stuff.

    Why not the next two years then?

    Have a look gav, it won’t straighten your hair or make you break out in spots.

  7. Comment from: el gordo

    Good effort at Deltoid, spangles.

    I would join you but I’m still banned.

  8. Comment from: spangled drongo

    Thanks EG. I should ban myself. We think gav is silly for shooting the messenger, over there they are gun crazy.

    Tim needs gun laws.

  9. Comment from: cohenite

    Well done SD; humourless ratbags aren’t they?

    Best of the season to you and the rest of the troupers here.

  10. Comment from: spangled drongo

    Thanks cohers, and thanks for all your great great work during the year.

  11. Comment from: Ian Thomson

    Hi Gavin,
    I grew up on a farm bounded on one side by the Pacific Ocean.
    It was hilly country which ended ,mostly abruptly, with high terraces about a mile from the sea.
    These terraces had layers of shells through them. The intervening flats, between the terraces and the sandy beach, were lightly vegetated, shell scattered, sandy soil.
    I was taught at an early age that the whole place was moving West, at the rate of a foot per century.
    This was geology which anyone could see.

    My point is that looking at individual spots on coastlines is not a reliable way to judge the sea level alone.
    Just as many Pacific atolls are having the lens pumped from under them, to support today’s lifestyle and tourists and parts of the world pop up and down through vulcanism and such.

    However , there would be much more unpleasant ways to spend ones time than watching the tide come and go.
    If there is anywhere left where it is permitted , one might just score a fresh mussel or two into the bargain

  12. Comment from: Debbie

    Yes Ian,
    I too spent much of my childhood living on the coast.
    Byron Bay (Australia’s most eastern point) and South Coogee (Sydney).
    Then, as now, king tides and storm surges were spectacular events and they did always cause damage to human coastal infrastructure. In fact, the house I lived in at BB no longer exists as it fell into the ocean during massive king tides and storms in the ’70s.
    Gavin doesn’t appear to understand that it is perfectly normal that coastlines erode. ‘Twas ever thus. Any of us who have spent time living on the coast have seen plenty of evidence that these so called ‘unprecendented and alarming events’ have happened before.
    Taxing ACO2 emissions will not stop these things from happening.
    Instead of trying to either
    a) Frighten everyone or . . . IMHO even sillier
    b) Pretend we can control such things as weather and SL,
    We would all be far smarter to learn the real lessons that our highly variable and largely ephemeral climate has taught us and work towards mitigating the damage that its natural extremes can cause to our infrastructure.
    It is only humans that desire permanent, static habitat. The natural environment is not interested in balance or human invented stat trends. Those models can only successfully take ‘snapshots in time’. They are not crystal balls and should only be used as part of our decision making processes, not the dictators of decisions.
    It is essentially a failed experiment and the attendant political agenda with attached ‘precautionary principle’ has effectively road blocked any successful progress and/or sensible mitigation of obvious mistakes.

  13. Comment from: spangled drongo

    That’s interesting Ian. When I worked around Longreach I did a bit of building with the local sandstone. They were called sandstone floaters, developed from sedimentary sand when it was a great inland sea. They still had the wave ripples on their surfaces like you see on tidal flats and they had many shells embedded in them but they made great stone building slabs. I would find them in reasonable quantity just lying on the surface of the black soil in the mitchell grass. Some of the old homesteads are built out of them. Didn’t find any with dinosaur foot prints in ‘em, worse luck.

    Soon and Morner with something to say that gav would be relieved to hear:

    The alarmist’s serenity prayer that I left for the Doltards:

    God grant me the BIAS to ignore the facts I hate, the BLINDNESS to embrace the ones I love and the BAD MANNERS to abuse those who wish to show me the difference.

  14. Comment from: spangled drongo

    “It is only humans that desire permanent, static habitat. The natural environment is not interested in balance or human invented stat trends.”

    Spot on, Debs. Adaptation is what we are meant to do.

  15. Comment from: Debbie

    Thanks Spangled,
    BTW, good work at Deltoid.
    I can’t be bothered commenting there.
    The name calling and what Walter Starck calls ‘academic pissing contests’ is in absolute overdrive there.
    Those people are only interesting in sreeching alarmism from the outer limits of the modelling.
    They are not interested in discussing common sense adaptation policy, only interested in trying to prove they are undeniably right, even when real time data and the most recent evidence neither supports or disproves their ‘theories’.
    They have no more idea than anyone else.

  16. Comment from: spangled drongo

    Debbie, I feel the urge to occasionally visit and say something when they have a thread that denies the real world that I have just been witnessing.

    I know it’s a foolish indulgence.

    Like you, I end up thinking, why did I do that?

  17. Comment from: Neville

    Good post at jo Nova’s on SLR at Perth and Fremantle.

    In spite of pollies like the numbskull Albanese the main problem is land subsidence not SLR.
    It’s a very interesting post with a good conclusion and some links at the end.

  18. Comment from: el gordo

    Sceptical Science still thinks our star has nothing to do with climate change.

  19. Comment from: el gordo

    Spangles you’re doing well at Deltoid, wish I could join you but I’m banned.

  20. Comment from: el gordo

    Looks like I’m repeating myself…must be getting old or have something to do with the heat.

  21. Comment from: gavin

    Several of my carefully thought through posts have not posted and the last one was a struggle with poor vision. If any one else says the system is faulty, them I may hang on. Otherwise, I have other things to do including further bushfire prep.

  22. Comment from: spangled drongo

    Thanks eg but I’ve given up on expecting anything there.

    NOAA report says SLR at half the rate of the IPCC.

    But you have to wonder if any of these remote systems can be trusted:

  23. Comment from: Neville

    Gav some of my recent posts have disappeared as well. Here’s a good column by Matt ridley in the WSJ, just about says it all.

    He virtually states that the game is up and they know it. He hopes they will start to tell the truth to the people. But there’s a lot of money at stake, so I’ll believe it when I see it.

  24. Comment from: cohenite

    Guys, the missing posts may have something to do with Jennifer being spammed recently; the problem appears to have been rectified so hang in there.

  25. Comment from: gavin

    Thanks Nev; we are not alone hey

    SD; half IPCC or not, we got SLR

    Ian; briefly this time, I don’t relate to atolls. In all sl posts I reference tide marks to seabed on the continental shelf, No 1, Bass Strait, 2 D’Entrecasteaux Channel, 3 Bays, Inlets and Estuaries sheltered by headlands or islands on the Pacific side. The gentle slopes give horizontal measure.

    Tide zones are oyster habitat. Clusters around piles give MSL between top and bottom, other stains relate to max/min of the tide extremes.

    Rapid erosion areas have wave cut rock shelfs that are as long as the tide extremes can rotate the wave action. Some shelfs have lots of pillars that host the tide zone creatures. Their presence is another telltale. No tide gauge needed.

  26. Comment from: Ian Thomson

    Walking between the woolshed and shearers huts near Whitecliffs NSW and one of the shearers picked up a piece of stone with a distinct pawprint in it . The stone was about 2 matchboxes in size.
    He popped in his pocket and I have not seen him since.
    Love to have checked out what it was though

  27. Comment from: spangled drongo

    “No tide gauge needed.”

    So gav, what is your breakdown of what’s really happening? Some specifics for a change.

    The amount of SLR over what period?

    And just be aware that the effect of wind on even static water like a lake or lagoon etc can cause it to move several kilometers.

    Constant wind and sea action is not SLR.

  28. Comment from: spangled drongo

    Ian, you sound like a bushman. Tracks are more interesting to read than newspapers.

  29. Comment from: Neville

    It seems like we should hold our horses on SLR. Couldn’t resist.

  30. Comment from: Neville

    Top post from Dr Tim Ball on the absurd label of “climate change denier.”

  31. Comment from: Debbie

    Did you finally get Neville’s point?
    That’s what ‘decelerating trend’ means.
    No one said that we DON’T have any SLR.
    NO ONE here has claimed that SL is static.

  32. Comment from: Pikey

    I just checked to see if you Guys were still pontificating and rationalising over many issues and see the stayers are still at it.
    Keep it up and Happy Christmas to all.
    You and many others are making a difference in the fight to have truth revealed.
    Here is my Christmas poem on a familiar topic.


    From the dream time to the hype time, from the mountains to the sea,
    I’ve carried all the run-off, when heavens tears flow free.
    My veins eroded mountains, arteries built the fertile plains.
    I know the pain of drought, the cure of flooding rains.
    I’ve watched the black man hunt and fish and burn my banks with fire.
    The pain of floods that changed my course, then dying in droughts ire.
    Drought left my body bloodless, topsoil in dust storms scattered.
    This is the state in which I lived; life ephemeral, hope shattered.
    Men of vision changed my life, with transfusions at old Barren Jack,
    Bonegilla, Eildon and Wyangala; gave me strength, put me on track,
    With new heart at Eucumbene, to blossom in old age.
    But politicians say I’m dying and must let my blood flow to assuage,
    A sacrificial offering to the insatiable Green God. He who would
    See my body drained of the very lifeblood that could,
    Keep it virile, productive. Oh; what short-sighted fools are they.
    Truth where is thy victory? Where did wisdom go astray?
    Old man Murray he know sometin,’ Politicians they know nothin.’



  33. Comment from: spangled drongo

    Thanks Pikey and likewise to you. Beautiful weather we’re having. A bit warm and a bit dry and a lot of bushfire fuel after the big wet but a few interesting birds and wildlife and this morning we even got a koala for Christmas.

  34. Comment from: Mark A

    Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year everyone.

    Since I travel a lot on business, we enjoy staying home for a holiday, hope you will be active here during the break.

  35. Comment from: Mark A

    spangled drongo

    Thanks EG. I should ban myself.

    Never thought of you as a masochist.
    The comments on that site are either sycophantic or pure malice and ad hom

  36. Comment from: el gordo

    Spangles has a good grasp of the subject matter and the Deltoidian ad homs prove they don’t have a clue, like Tim Ball said.

    There is climate change happening in Russia.

    ‘Russia is enduring its harshest winter in over 70 years, with temperatures plunging as low as -50 degrees Celsius. Dozens of people have already died, and almost 150 have been hospitalized.

    ‘The country has not witnessed such a long cold spell since 1938, meteorologists said, with temperatures 10 to 15 degrees lower than the seasonal norm all over Russia.’

  37. Comment from: Mark A

    el gordo

    One of my many uncles is an MD in Murmansk, he could tell you stories about winter temperatures.
    He is very old now of course so his opinion is just hearsay and babbling of an old man.

    So are the opinions of the many unfortunate Germans and the French efore them who experienced the bitter reality of winters in Russia. If they could only speak?

    Ce la vie!

  38. Comment from: gavin

    Nev: still solid in your repeating authors mentioned by skeptic blogs so where is the “science” now?

    “Satellite altimetry is calibrated to tide gauge data and has been repeatedly “adjusted” over the years, including recently adjusted data collected up to 18 years ago”

    SD; I can’t read this tonight so let’s have your review

    Manual on Sea Level
    Measurement and Interpretation
    Volume IV: An Update to 2006

  39. Comment from: gavin

    Can’t read this either but it should be topical for many as we approach the holiday season.

    Don’t leave a mess behind.


  40. Comment from: Graeme M

    Yeah SD, nice work at Deltoid. Of course your obs for one place are somewhat limited in relevance to the rest of the world, but it’s still a fair point. What I like best is the utter inability to actually tackle that fact in a rational way – nothing but frothing abuse for it. My wife who has no interest in this stuff read the thread after I left it on display on my computer. She assumed it was one of my skeptic blogs and asked me why I read them because “everyone is just insulting each other and being rude”…

    The only person who seemed willing to discuss your findings claims its damming in Queensland. Now I can’t comment scientifically, but that DOES sound like a crock to me. Over 70 years???? He seemed serious though.

  41. Comment from: spangled drongo

    Yes Graeme, they make some comments wrt local vs global that are quite relevant but I can never see how a constant or lowering SL in one part of the open world’s oceans that is occurring over a period of ~70 years can be “consistent with” constant SLR in the rest of the world.

    And I have to wonder at coloured maps that show SLs rising at the rate of 10mm/y close by SLs falling by the same amount, consistently, for up to two decades.

    I don’t doubt that this happens at even greater rates but when the weather pattern that is driving it stops or reverses, [this even happens with trade winds quite regularly and bigger weather patterns are of shorter duration] equilibrium re-establishes the levels.

    What I am measuring is max tide level. The only SL that really counts.

    The, eg, three quarter tide level or half tide level or quarter tide level could have risen world wide but so what?

    They will have almost no effect on anything if the max tide level is the same or lower.

    To me that is the real world of SLs.

  42. Comment from: spangled drongo

    I forgot your last point about damming water. Yes, that doesn’t make sense at all. At the point of time when the flood fills the dam, it also overflows [witness Wivenhoe Jan 2011] and dumps huge quantities of water into the nearby ocean causing local SLR until equilibrium returns so if anything, the exact opposite is true.

  43. Comment from: Graeme M

    Agreed. I know nothing about SLR beyond my own observations at local coastlines, and on the whole I have seen no evidence of anything happening. I know little about statistics either so can’t comment on the various graphs etc that are presented up. But surely, it is what actually happens in the real world that counts because it is those effects that will be the problem. Not the lines on the graph.

    Damming. Can lower sea level rise locally, over 70 years? How? That just doesn’t pass the smell test but I am willing to be educated.

  44. Comment from: Debbie

    Well said Graeme,,
    Of course it can’t pass the smell test.
    Of course what happens in the real world on the actual coastlines and especially areas that are heavily populated is what matters most.
    Water follows the basic rules of gravity…it will always find equilibrium.
    Someone assumed a dam in QLD can alter the SL of the Pacific Ocean in SEQ????? :-)
    That must be one interesting graph!
    Did they link the research?
    A dam can only hold back a specific quantity of water on a waterway….the only place it can influence water levels is immediately above and below that obstruction.
    The laws of gravity and such things as tides and storm patterns influence the rest.
    As spangled also pointed out, once that dam is full and/or the system is in flood….it has NO influence on downstream.
    All it may be able to do is slow down the inevitable….if there was some airspace available to do it.

  45. Comment from: spangled drongo

    Yes Mark A, it is a masochistic experience. At first you think you have a chance of making your point and then you realise they have their fingers in their ears while they are blowing raspberries.

    But that helps you to realise that even though you may be wrong, you can’t possibly be as wrong as they are.

  46. Comment from: Johnathan Wilkes

    “Damming. Can lower sea level rise locally, over 70 years? How?”

    Good question.
    At best it would delay the water reaching the sea, but frankly, big as some dams may be, they hold miniscule amounts of water compared to the oceans.
    Silly argument.

  47. Comment from: spangled drongo

    JW, what has much more effect on SLs but still miniscule is the storm water run-off caused by the urbanisation and general development of the world from civilisation.

    We are paving over the world at an ever increasing rate and storm water run-off increase is exponential.

    This would more than make up for any ocean “deprivation” of water due to storage.

    Also it could cause further SLR [relative to land levels] due to land “deprivation” of water thereby causing land to dry out, shrink and subside, similar to what is happening from over-extraction of ground aquifers.

  48. Comment from: spangled drongo

    And it’s not as if the dam water is “consumed” anyway. It is reticulated through our houses and into our sewage systems, treatment works, settlement ponds etc and back into the natural flow to acquifers, streams, oceans etc.

    Judging from the variety of waders to be found along these systems, it is a very successful proceedure.

  49. Comment from: el gordo

    ‘But that helps you to realise that even though you may be wrong, you can’t possibly be as wrong as they are.’

    That is comforting, but there is also an education to be had in this debate.

    The matter of ‘mass delusion’ (groupthink) can be remedied with short sharp answers, delivered with a sense of humour. Good practice for when the time comes to debrief the masses.

  50. Comment from: Graeme M

    ‘s funny, but I wonder if the Deltoids ever consider that their utter arrogant contempt of anyone that isn’t pissing in their pockets is not especially appealing? Just went for a look and they are almost foaming at the mouth over poor old Chameleon.

    Doesn’t encourage me to want to even read their stuff. At least the skeptic blogs, even if not always very scientific, entertain a variety of ideas and hypotheses. The Deltoids actually WANT CAGW etc to be true so they can keep on wringing their hands over it.

    As for SLR, it’s still one of those things that intrigues me. All the graphs I’ve seen suggest that sea level has risen relatively steadily for the past 100 years. The biggest acceleration seems to have been earlier in the 20th century, more recently it has clearly slowed. That just does not fit the alarmist scenario and I can’t see how it keeps getting spun as such a danger. If physically we just have not seen any worrying impact to date since Australia was settled, then what can we expect in the next 50 years?

    To keep arguing that the real nasty stuff is always just around the corner is to be something of a scaremonger in my view. If we aren’t seeing something in the real world that reflects the stats/models, then what are we to make of these predictions? 100 years of 3 mm/yr rise must give us at least 20 cm of rise yet where is it?

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