Five ANGAIR members participated in the final Orange-bellied Parrot Count held on Sunday 12 September. We started walking towards Hospital Swamps, but the ground was too wet. We then went on to Baenschs Lane. The whole wetlands has been replenished, and it is a quite different sight from previous surveys where we have been able to walk through the tussock grass, lignum and low shrubs.
This time we were restricted to the higher tracks. No Orange-bellied Parrots were to be seen. However a total of eight Blue-winged Parrots were observed, all keeping low and out of the wind. There were also large numbers of White-fronted Chats, Reed Warblers and Little Grassbirds calling. An Australasian Bittern flew low among some reeds near the track. A positive identification of five OBPs was made by another group of observers at Duck Island. A male, female, juvenile and two other birds. This follows the report of five birds at the same location in the July count, which is very encouraging.
It hasn’t been a very good year for Hooded Plover chicks. So far, along the coast from Point Lonsdale to Point Roadknight, only sixteen fledglings have made it through. Many obstacles to the survival of the chicks remain, with large crowds of people using the beaches, dogs running off-leash, and people walking through the sand dunes. In addition, fox, dog, rat and cat footprints have been found in the vicinity of nests. With the monitoring of the breeding season drawing to a close, there are presently two chicks at Collendina, and egg nests at Breamlea and Black Rock dunes, with one and two eggs.
Birds Australia is conducting an online, public survey in a bid to improve its conservation measures for the Hooded Plover on our coast. To participate, go to Birds Australia website.