The above average rainfall received during spring has enabled the creeks to flow and wetlands to fill, creating perfect conditions for attracting birds.
In late November last year Tom Fletcher and Gordon McCarthy spent an hour or so at the Distillery Creek Picnic Ground and wetland area and during that time saw 36 bird species. A few days later they revisited the area and saw a further 7 species. Among the birds observed were the White-winged Triller, Olive-backed Oriole, Little Grassbird, Dusky Woodswallow, Crested Shrike-tit, Golden and Rufous Whistler and Satin Flycatcher (male and female). They were also fortunate enough to see a Beautiful Firetail. Although Beautiful Firetails have been recorded here in the past, they have only been seen on very rare occasions.
Also in November a Black-faced Monarch flycatcher was located by John Newman at Allen Noble Sanctuary in Aireys Inlet. It is a new record for the ANGAIR Bird List. Black-faced Monarchs, Monarcha melanopsis, winter in New Guinea and then fly south to breeding areas in eastern Australia. On rare occasions birds have turned up in unlikely places and it’s likely that the individual found at Aireys Inlet is a vagrant. These birds are flycatchers and are usually found in forests and woodlands. They are attractive birds with grey wings, breast and upperparts and a rufous-coloured belly, a blue-grey bill and a distinctive black face.
Common Brown Butterflies are most active and plentiful in the summer months and this year is no exception. They are everywhere, and flutter about when disturbed, especially when we walk along bush tracks. They feed on flowers. Although the males die early in summer, the females live on to lay their eggs in grasses in early autumn.
Six of the Black Swan cygnets at Allen Noble Sanctuary have survived and matured. In early January we were fortunate to witness them preparing to take-off. They would ‘run’ along the water surface, gathering speed until they reached the far edge. They continued this practice session for quite a while. It will only be a short time before they finally fly away from their nursery site.
Other interesting sightings during the last two months include:
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.