The Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos have been very noticeable over past weeks.
They are mostly seen in smaller clusters of five to eight birds at a time, although recently a larger flock of about 25 individuals was observed at Anglesea. They are easily recognised, even at a long distance, as they fly with slow, lazy wingbeats and call continuously.
Peter Crowcroft reports: ‘I saw a pair of Peregrine Falcons up at the Lookout Reserve at Anglesea on the night of the Super Blue Blood Moon. I was attempting to photograph the large moon rising, and eventually the eclipse. However, given the complete cloud cover this was a total failure. The spectacle of these magnificent birds doing laps of the town, using the gale force winds to go top speed was a great consolation!’
Snakes are also out and about and particularly active. Reports of encounters with our common snakes— the Common Brown, Copperhead and Tiger Snake, have all occurred this month. It’s not unusual of course to see them in summer, but it’s still best to be aware.
On January 17, a short ceremony was held to mark the transition of Anglesea Heath into the Great Otway National Park. While everyone was assembled and listening to a speaker, a snake moved across Forest Road and towards the parked cars. It approached one of the vehicles, belonging to Parks Victoria and, as we watched, it slipped up into the spare wheel cavity under the tray of the vehicle. Just another challenge in the working day of the rangers as they planned a strategy to release the animal safely after everyone had gone home!
Hoodie Update – Sue Guinness
As the breeding season moves into the later stages we have two active nests being incubated along the Surf Coast.
Hoodie eggs, White's Beach. Photo: Ian McConchie
EJ & JM are sitting on a new nest at Whites Beach in Torquay which we would love to succeed. This is a strong partnership and both are excellent parents. They had the only fledgling last season along our coastline.
Closer to home, the pair BL & RP have two chicks at Pt. Roadknight (95W), the ‘tip’ as we call it. The two are doing well, spending a lot of time feeding on the rocky platform when they get the chance and the parents are very good at calling, telling them to hide when predators come into sight. They are getting stronger each day. It’s a difficult site to warden the chicks due to the small size of the beach (we need to give them lots of room to move so they can feed) and the number of access points creating high disturbance. One of our volunteers even came across some people camping behind the fenced area!
Just around the corner at Pt. Roadknight West (96W) the pair LY & LM are sitting on a single egg. They get full points for trying as their last clutch was washed away with a very high tide just as it was due to hatch. Heartbreaking for them.
Sadly, the chicks at Aireys Inlet failed and we are unsure why, both failing over a few days. Human disturbance in the area was high, including people using the dunes near the enclosure for fun. There were also a large number of avian predators present.
One pair at Hutt Gully, WT and partner have done a wonderful job of getting both chicks to fledge. However, despite this incredible milestone one chick, now known as a juvenile, has failed. We are unsure why, whether a dog managed to catch it or a fox. The surviving juvenile is doing well and has been helped along by other local hoodies, taking it on practice flights. It does seem to need a bit of prompting according to volunteer observations.
This juvenile is very special to many of the Friends of The Hooded Plover Surf Coast (FoHPSC) as it is the granddaughter of our Moggs hoodie, OmRw, who a few seasons ago, raised two chicks successfully on his own after his partner was taken by a fox. WT is one of those two chicks and is the new mum of our juvenile at Hutt Gully. Sadly, OmRw seems to have moved elsewhere this season but we are extremely happy to have his offspring in our patch. If you do observe a hoodie with orange plastic and metal around one leg and red and white plastic around the second leg, please let me or Margaret MacDonald know the details.
2 Juveniles at Hutt Gully. Photo by Margaret Lacey
I would like to thank everyone for your support in helping our hoodies this season. They need every bit of our help in reducing disturbance and the threat of dogs to enable them to breed successfully. Whether you spread the word, put your dog/s on a lead in the area where they are breeding, or volunteered as a warden with FoHPSC, it goes a long way to help with their reproduction.
Photo by Ian McConchie
This person is too close to the roped area. This will result in disturbance to incubation and the bird is likely to get off the nest and try and lead the person away. Imagine how many time this could happen on any given day.
2 Juveniles at Hutt Gully. Photo by Margaret Lacey
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.