Earlier in the month, one of the Hooded Plovers at Point Roadknight, the one marked KM, was having trouble keeping up with the other six hoodies foraging on the rock shelf.
Geoff Gates photographed the bird for about 15 minutes. When the images were downloaded, he was alarmed and contacted Grainne from Birdlife Australia. It was apparent that the bird had something tight, constricting the ankle.
A trap was made available, and local vet, Liz Brown, agreed to meet on the beach if the bird could be caught. After a few attempts, KM was separated from the rest of the flock, and within 30 minutes was snared.
Liz Brown arrived at the car park, where she removed the offending fibre, applied antiseptic ointment to the wound, and administered an anti-biotic injection. The metal band was removed from the swollen, injured leg, and a new band put on the healthy leg. KM was released and flew straight back to the flock. Although the bird was limping, he was using the leg.
There is no doubt that, without treatment, KM would have lost his foot, and in all probability would have died. It was a wonderful team effort and a big thank you to all who helped.
An ANGAIR member, who lives at Eastern View, found a snake lying on the edge of the mat in her dining room. She quickly placed her little terrier dog onto the kitchen bench, while she decided on the best course of action. The snake, one of four white-lipped snakes seen this season, had entered the house from under the flywire door. The snake catcher was not answering his phone, and Di was not experienced in catching snakes, so unfortunately, she had to make the decision, reluctantly, to kill it. Meanwhile, a large Tiger Snake, resident in her vegetable garden, has been living on Swamp Rats, and the rat population has decreased considerably. The snake spent a few weeks there, and now appears to have moved across the road to the sand dunes, where rats are still in abundance.
Another interesting observation, this time from the beach at Sunnymead, Aireys Inlet, was a large bird, with a very dark back and wings, either a young Pacific Gull or a Kelp Gull, a very strong and agile flyer with a large wingspan. It had caught a narrow, silver fish about 17 cm, possibly a whiting. Totally intent on its task, the gull snatched the fish up in its beak, rose vertically about 10 metres, then dropped it and rushed down to pick it up again. Sometimes the fish fell onto the hard sand at the water’s edge, sometimes it splashed down in the frill of the incoming tide. It continued seven or eight times, progressing along the beach, until it eventually flew away. Gulls are known to drop molluscs to break them open. Perhaps it wanted to soften the flesh of the fish, or perhaps, as a young bird, it was just practising. It was mesmerising and exhilarating to watch.
A pair of Spotted Crakes have been at the Allen Noble Sanctuary for at least two weeks, enjoying all the mud on the exposed flats. One was also seen in the Anglesea Wetlands.
In Anglesea Heath, an immature Black-faced Cuckoo-Shrike perched in a dead sapling. At first I thought I had seen a new species for the area, the White-bellied Cuckoo-Shrike; however, after consulting the bird reference book, I think the black stripe on the bird I saw extended past the eye, which means it was an immature Black-faced Cuckoo Shrike.