In early March, White-throated Needletails appeared in large numbers, probably about fifty or so, just prior to the arrival of a thunder storm.

Lynn Bunning noticed an ‘unwelcome’ visitor, a Tiger Snake, bout 1.5 metres long, in their garden. The Autumn day was lovely and a warm 30 degrees, and perhaps the snake was attracted to the water in the garden. It moved very fast at times, then swam across the pond.

Three Double-banded Plovers were sighted on the beach between Aireys Inlet and Fairhaven.

Kaye Traynor


Hooded Plovers at Pt Addis … Neil Tucker

Red Rocks Beach runs west from Pt Addis to Red Rocks. It is a steep, wild beach. The sea can be rough and is not safe as a swimming beach. Behind the beach are dunes and thick coastal scrub, making it an ideal location for Hooded Plovers to nest.

This year a pair laid three eggs. Two hatched on or about 17 February, and Parks Victoria and Friends of Point Addis volunteers quickly erected fencing and signage, but the parents took the tiny chicks right to the western end of the beach and abandoned the third egg during very high tides. More fences were erected, and rosters of volunteers were made up to monitor progress. One chick disappeared, leaving one, which was very active, and ran for cover in the spinifex or scrub at any signs of disturbance. The long weekend in March was still considered to be a high time of risk, so FOPA and ANGAIR volunteers were on the beach for most of the long weekend in March.

Our chick survived the many people and off-lead dogs (it is National Park, and dogs are permitted only on leads). The following weekend, we lost the last chick with only two weeks to fledging, probably as a result of being chased by an off-lead dog as witnessed by a visitor. Parks Victoria’s tight budget, and the bad fire season, has meant fewer ranger visits, and this has lead to Addiscott Beach becoming ‘lawless’, with people feeling free to do anything without fear of apprehension. We have to do better by the Hoodies.

 

Community Support for Hooded Plover – Chapter 3 … Margaret MacDonald

When our last Newsletter went to print, our Hooded Plover chicks at Moggs Creek were 30 days old, and close to fledging. We were optimistic the parents would succeed, but because of the dangers they face, we were still apprehensive. Towards the end of February, we watched the young birds stretch their wings and attempting to fly, managing to stay in the air for a few minutes. We were thrilled when Geoff Gates, who has been monitoring Hooded Plovers for many years, informed us on 25 February that our birds had fledged, and were now classified as juveniles. The efforts of all the volunteers, who helped educate the community and protect these threatened birds, had been most worthwhile, and we thank them sincerely.

We had planned a celebration in Moggs Creek picnic ground in early March, but because of a serious injury to Jill Smith, one of our key volunteers, we have postponed this for the time being. Jill is making good progress and we wish her a speedy recovery.

In the meantime our little family has stayed in the area, and has been joined by another adult bird. As Jill said, “the message must have got out that Moggs Creek is a good place to be.” Unfortunately, the young birds have not been flagged as yet. We hope that this will happen, as we would love to be able to follow them on the next stage of their life’s journey.

Birds Australia is organising a training session for Hooded Plover monitoring in the Bellarine/Surf Coast area, sometime in April. If you would like to attend, please contact Margaret – 0412 652 419 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Mark Anderson from Birdlife Victoria Conservation has issued a Media release expressing deep concern about the current duck shooting season, and the risk to threatened species, particularly in the light of 37 Freckled Ducks killed or wounded at Lake Lonsdale last weekend.

Because of widespread drought conditions, waterfowl have flocked to the rapidly drying Victorian wetlands for refuge, because they have nowhere left to go. Birdlife Australia has called on the Victorian Government to cancel this year’s duck season.

The Media release can be read in full on http://www.birdlife.org.au/media/duck-massacre-on-the-cards/ currently on the Birdlife website. There is also a link below the media statement http://birdlife.org.au/locations/all-victoria-staewide/conservation-initiatives-vic (taking you to Waterfowl Hunting 2014) on the action members can take to survey and report on protected waterfowl during the hunting season. Please have a look, and if possible, feedback on what you find. Eight wetlands have been closed so far, and more may well qualify.

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