Following on from a very cold winter, signs of spring have been evident during August. Colour is appearing in the heathland as the wildflowers come into bloom.
The wattles are flowering and I have noticed a surge in bird activity as they prepare for the breeding season.
Walking through the bushland, we can hear the familiar sounds of Grey Shrike Thrush, Fantail Cuckoo and the White-eared Honeyeater, all very vocal at this time of the year.
Territorial jostling is also taking place. An Anglesea resident observed a Masked Lapwing swooping past their back lawn with another smaller bird clinging onto its back. It happened too quickly to identify the smaller bird, but it may have been a Red Wattlebird attacking the lapwing as it was flying away.
The swans at Allen Noble Sanctuary have completed their nest, which is sitting very high in the water. They are presently incubating eggs. A Shy Albatross flying out at sea, and a Black-faced Cormorant resting on Eagle Rock were also observed at Aireys Inlet.
The July 2016 Orange-bellied Parrot survey was conducted in blustery and cold conditions. Craig Morley (Birdlife Australia) has summarised the OBP Survey on Bellarine Peninsula. Three OBPs were sighted at Swan Bay. Two adult males and a first year bird were seen several times drinking at a rapidly drying puddle and feeding on Shrubby Glasswort. The body and plumage and some of the band details on the young bird would tend to suggest that these three are the same birds as found at Lake Connewarre in the May survey. Other highlights over recent weeks have been a single immature or female OBP in the Salt Swamp of Lake Connewarre in late June and a total of 274 Blue-winged Parrots across the Salt Swamp and adjacent areas.
Some new mounted specimens have been acquired for the ANGAIR natural history collection. They are displayed in the showcase in the meeting room of the ANGAIR office. The new specimens are: Eastern Yellow Robin, Bassian Thrush, Eastern Spinebill and Dusky Antechinus.
A 60cm Wobbegong Shark was found alive on the beach between Urquhart Bluff and Hutt Gully. After two attempts to get it back into the water, it eventually swam away.
A deceased Sunfish was found washed ashore onto some rocks near Lorne. The scientific name for this animal is Mola mola, Latin for millstone, a reference to its shape, which is almost circular in profile. The Sunfish has large dorsal and anal fins for propulsion. Its ‘tail’ is represented by a slender fringe, called a clavus that connects the two fins. Although it has a tiny mouth, its main diet consists of plankton, jellyfish and salps. (Thanks to Sharon from Ecologic for this information).
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.