Earlier this month a family of Banded Lapwings was observed at a farm dam near Freshwater Creek, in Dickens Road.
One adult and two juveniles were feeding around near the bank of the dam, when another adult flew across the road to join the others. We were able to observe them for a considerable time before they all moved further away from the dam and into the paddock.
I have only ever seen Banded Lapwings in northern Victoria, but according to Trevor Pescott, they do occur in the south mainly in areas where there are rocky paddocks, like Connewarre, or more likely near Little River. They don’t tend to favour grassy paddocks but are usually found in the bare, grazed places.
The Banded Lapwing is smaller than the Masked Lapwing with which we are much more familiar. Their plumage is brown above and white below, with a black cap and sides of the neck, a white line through the eye and a broad, black breastband. The eye and eye-ring are yellow, with a red wattle in front of the eye. The bill is yellow with a brown tip, and the legs are red. Their food is mainly insects, worms, spiders and molluscs. They will also eat seeds in dry times.
In April the Geelong Field Naturalists conducted a fauna survey at the Wave Carpark area of Bells Beach. The survey site was along a watercourse, now dry, that leads from above the walking path north of the car park to the ocean. At some time in the past, the path had been diverted around the head of the gully but remnants of the former path, which is closer to the coast, remain. Over three days 40 Elliott traps were set between the existing path and the former one catching five Bush Rats, three Swamp Rats and two Swamp Antechinuses.
These were the first Swamp Antechinuses caught in an area where a dead male had been found previously. They were found in traps about 20 metres apart. An interesting aspect to the survey was that nine of the ten animals caught were on the northeast side of the gully that probably receives more rain from the southwest and less sun from the north. This may create a micro environment more suitable for these small mammals. (Thanks to Trevor Pescott for sharing this information.)
Another interesting bird report on Birdline Victoria this month was from John Newman. A Spotted Quail-thrush was seen in the hills behind Moggs Creek in a recently burnt, bracken-filled area.
A whale was sighted from Teddy’s Lookout – offshore from St George’s River on 13 May.
Freesia refracta and Freesia alba X F. leichtlinii are declared weeds in the Surf Coast Shire because they spread easily and threaten to invade bushland. Freesias are perennial herbs that die back in summer and produce new foliage in winter. The highly fragrant trumpet-shaped flowers appearing in spring are white to cream and pink with yellow markings, shaded purple on outer surface. Each plant has at least two corms, one below the other, thus requiring deep digging to remove them.
More details about how to control this weed can be found in the archive of Weeds of the Month.
There are a number of wonderful local Friends Groups that provide ANGAIR members and the community with opportunities for involvement.