There have been several reports of a Great Frigatebird seen flying over various areas of the Mornington Peninsula and Port Philip Bay.

It is extremely unusual for this species to be seen so far south. It is more commonly found in the tropics, but stragglers are occasionally seen in coastal NSW and Victoria. They are large black birds, 86 cm-1m in size with a wingspan of 2-2.3m. The females are larger. Males have a red throat sac that inflates during mating display. They feed on fish and have a habit of pirating food from other birds by harassing them on the wing until they release the recently caught fish which the frigatebird then snatches in mid-air.

The Kangaroo Advisory Group meets quarterly to discuss issues concerning the urban kangaroo population in Anglesea. In a departure from the usual format, the June meeting invited interested members of the public and agencies to hear a guest speaker, Dr Jasmin Hufschmidt, Lecturer in Wildlife Health at the Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Science from the University of Melbourne. Dr. Hufschmidt gave a presentation titled: Wildlife Disease, Human Health…and Kangaroos. Her study of zoonotic diseases also included the kangaroo population at the golf course in Anglesea.

The kangaroos from the study area have been tested for the presence of diseases such as Toxoplasmosis, Ross River Fever, Q-Fever and Salmonella. Of the four diseases, the most common is Toxoplasmosis, hosted in cat faeces and spread by animals eating contaminated grass. There is a 100% infection rate of monitored kangaroos on the Anglesea Golf Course. The disease can cause neurological symptoms, immune problems and even sudden death. Over time these individuals will be checked for symptoms.

Ross River Fever is a mosquito-borne disease and preliminary results show that 40% of the Anglesea Golf Course kangaroos tested positive and are reservoirs, which means, they harbour the virus and can pass it onto others. Apparently possums can be severely affected by Ross River Fever and in some cases death occurs. There is no sign of Q-Fever or Salmonella in the Anglesea kangaroo population.

A dead Port Jackson Shark was found near the rope swing on River Road at Aireys Inlet, an unusual place for the animal to be found. One hypothesis was that it came in some time before and had been surviving in the saltier bottom waters of the inlet for quite a while. A wedge of salt water extends quite some distance up the inlet.

Port Jackson Sharks visit our coastline from November through to March. The spiral egg cases are washed up on our beaches and pups have been seen at times so they probably come here to breed and migrate elsewhere for feeding.

A pair of Black Swans have returned to Allen Noble Sanctuary. Last year they chose to nest elsewhere, but we hope that this year they will nest in the sanctuary.

The Surf Coast Wildlife Shelter group at Bellbrae has released a koala after months of treatment and rehabilitation following the bushfires last December. The animal has been returned into the same tree where it was found. Another victim being cared for by the shelter is a Swamp Wallaby joey found in its dead mother’s pouch on the Anglesea Heath. He has been checked by the vet, has no injuries and should make a compete recovery.

Cathy Longmore has reported two whales, possibly Humpbacks, and some dolphins in waters off Cape Patton.

Kaye Traynor

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