Sixteen of our members joined us for this activity, and we thank Ross Murray who organised it for us.
Our plan had been to spend about an hour and a half at the Ecological Centre where Shayne and Lizzie were to give us a quick update on the Spotted-tailed Quolls, especially on the Joeys that had been born in 2012. The male joey, bred at Eco Lodge, has been sent to West Australia leaving three females to breed on when suitable unrelated genes are available.
The mother of the joeys will not be bred this year. Unfortunately the adult male died, but in any case Shayne and Lizzie feel the mature animals would have been past their best time for breeding.
So well did Shayne and Lizzie capture our attention, first with the quolls themselves, and then as an added bonus, an enthralling demonstration by their dogs Tara and Teddy of their training in detecting Quoll scats by the scent on the ground and in the air, that the 1.5 hours extended to nearly 3 hours.
Nevertheless we decided to continue with the planned walk, so we made our way to Bimbi Park where we organised a quick car shuffle and had a hasty lunch.
We then set off for the Lightstation car park under threatening skies.
As we walked through the sand dunes and swales, the weather deteriorated and we got some impressive environmental views. Alison’s photograph taken just before the heavens opened was most spectacular.
Unfortunately the rain beat us and we received a thorough drenching. Those who had wet weather gear were very thankful.
The idea of visiting the historic cemetery was abandoned for this time, as we were keen to retrieve our cars and escape from the elements. On the way back we managed a glimpse of the historic Cape Otway Lightstation perched on the edge of the sea cliffs where Bass Strait and the Southern Ocean merge.
We were not the only animals to get wet – this poor drenched koala did not seem too comfortable or relaxed in the wet conditions and it had no wet weather gear to put on!
We were dismayed to see the condition of the Manna Gums that lined the roadside back to Bimbi Park. The over population of koalas is of real concern and it is obvious that more intensive management is required. The Department of Primary Industries and the Environment is now implementing an Animal Welfare Intervention program but perhaps it should have begun years earlier.
Despite the rain everyone remained in good spirits and we returned safely to Aireys Inlet by 5pm.
Ross Murray and Margaret MacDonald
Photography by Alison & Phil Watson & Marg MacDonald