Parks Victoria, in partnership with Museum Victoria and Deakin University, are participating in a project called Underwater Bioscan.

The aim is to survey 20 kilometres of coastline in the area around the Twelve Apostles Marine National Park. Because of the conditions, there are only very few days when it is safe to dive in these waters, but the survey, which involves photography, has so far revealed a great diversity of species, including fish, coral and crustacea. Where the water is too deep for divers, the scientists have placed over a hundred, baited cameras to attract deeper water species. The data collected from these surveys will be analysed by the Museum, and will provide important information about this little known underwater environment.

 

Two Ospreys in flight, were seen near Point Lonsdale, possibly involved in mating ritual. Another sighting, from the Surf Coast Highway at Grasstree Park, Torquay, was made by Tom Fletcher. The bird was flying low in a south-west direction.

A Brown Skua, a single bird, was observed flying south-west, just off cliffs at Point Addis.

At Bird Rock Lookout in Jan Juc, a Kestrel was seen and photographed feeding on a Magpie carcass.

Penne Kwiat, from Barwon Heads, has had an interesting month observing Double-banded Plovers at Blue Rock, near 13th Beach. She noticed particularly that the birds were in breeding plumage. Double-banded Plovers breed in New Zealand. However, some of the population migrate annually to parts of Australia during February to September. Its probable the birds seen at Blue Rock will depart for New Zealand soon. The main differences in adult breeding plumage is that the two breast-bars, normally a dull brownish colour, change to prominent black and chestnut, and head markings are more distinct, black lores and ear coverts. Also in the vicinity, Penne has been observing groups of Hooded Plovers, regular visitors to this particular beach, over the past month or so. On one of the days she saw at least 13 Hooded Plovers, including 2 juveniles.

An Eastern Curlew was also observed at Blue Rock. The Eastern Curlew is the largest of Australian shorebirds, generally mottled brown and buff, with an exceptionally long, down-curved bill, and long neck and legs. They breed in eastern Siberia and Mongolia, and arrive in Australia as early as July to escape the northern winter.

This year has been highly successful for whale watching. As the whale migration continues, there have been sightings all along the coast. As well, a number of females with calves have been spotted – one mother and calf about 200 m off the estuary of the Anglesea river – which has delighted tourists and locals during the past few weeks.

Kaye Traynor

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