Early spring is a time of feverish activity as the breeding season for many species is now underway.
This is especially evident with birds as they are more visible and most are presently engaged in nest building or even feeding young.
Over the years, a pair of Masked Lapwings has chosen to make their nest in the low grass of the roundabout at Anglesea and Torquay Roads. That was the case again this year and for several days in early August the female could be seen sitting tightly on the nest. Unfortunately, that space has now been damaged. It appears that motor bikes have been ridden in circles around the area, the grass and earth has been churned up and the bird and nest have both gone, victims of mindless vandalism.
Some very special fauna sightings have been made over the past month.
Peter Forster observed a pure white Grey Goshawk basking in the early morning sun. It was perched high in a eucalypt tree on Coalmine Road. Later it flew towards the wetland area. He also noticed a Swamp Harrier fly across the road at the Anglesea River.
Sally White caught sight of a pair of White-faced Herons at their nest in a eucalypt at Coogoorah wetlands.
Birdwatchers have reported a number of Gull-billed Terns flying overhead at Point Addis. These birds resemble the Crested Tern, but have a strong, black bill and don’t have an obvious crest. They are nomadic and generally found in freshwater lagoons and lakes, and also search for food in coastal shorelines and estuaries.
Ellinor Campbell was pleasantly surprised to see an Eastern Koel perched on her back fence at Aireys Inlet. She said she had been aware of one calling over a few days. This is the first report of koels in the area this year. They are becoming regular visitors to southern parts of the country around springtime every year.
WoodDuck parents with ten chicks were spotted at the Painkalac wetland area.
Also at Aireys Inlet, the swans have seven cygnets from their nest at Allen Noble Sanctuary. The photographs of the swan family were taken by Margaret Lacey.
Swans and cygnets at Allen Nobel Sanctuary
A Tiger Snake emerged to enjoy some warmth on one of our sunny days in early September. It was basking in the middle of Gum Flat Road. Very fortunately it was unharmed by oncoming traffic and disappeared into the roadside vegetation.
I was delighted to have a female Satin Bowerbird arrive in my back garden. I had a perfect view of her as she picked at and devoured a clump of yellow Oxalis flowers. On other occasions Satin Bowerbirds have eaten Lilly Pilly berries here, but I had no idea that sourgrass would be appealing to their tastes. I have been aware that flowers have disappeared from time to time and assumed they were taken by the Ringtail Possum. I must say I am only too happy to sacrifice garden flowers if it benefits the local wildlife.
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.