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In early October, 74 members of the Australian Naturalists Network spent the last four days of their 10th biennial Get-together at the Anglesea YMCA Camp.

They visited Halls Gap and the Victorian Volcanic Plain, Warrnambool, and the Shipwreck Coast before travelling along the Great Ocean Road to Anglesea. There were participants from all states, the ACT and Northern Territory.

Angair was asked to run a program of walks and presentations during the weekend. Members of the Flora & Fauna Special Interest Group reconnoitred and led numerous walks to highlight different habitats and their indigenous flora and birds. The final program included 16 field excursions and three evening presentations.

currawong falls trackExploring the Currawong Track

One of the challenges in devising the program was the requirement for the starting and finishing points of each excursion to be accessible by a 50-seater bus, meaning that many of our favourite local spots were unsuitable. Despite the dry weather during the preceding months, the walk leaders found interesting and bus-friendly places to take the visitors. The walks included heathlands, woodlands, clifftops, wetlands and beaches for coastal geology. Many were delighted to see Rufous Bristlebirds scurrying across the track at Aireys Inlet, the number and diversity of orchids and other flowers in the heathlands and the spectacular coastal scenery.

sinkholeThe sinkhole, near Castle Rock, Aireys Inlet

harvey stDiscovering orchids, Harvey Street, Anglesea

donkeyorchidsDonkey Orchids, Harvey Street

to lighthouseAireys Inlet Cliff Walk:  Heading up towards the Split Point lighthouse

liningupLining up to photograph the Coast Swainson Peas

swainson peaCoast Swainson Pea

red kneed dotterelCoogoorah Park: Members of the group spotted a Red-kneed Dotterel while we were looking for the more commonly seen Black-fronted Dotterel. This was the first time the leader had seen these here, so it was one of the highlights.

dusky woodswallowCoogoorah Park:  We were also pleased to have the Dusky Woodswallows back in the area in time for the visitors.

golden whistlerCoogoorah Park: There was birdsong all day and we got good views of both Rufous and Golden Whistlers.  This is the Golden Whistler

fossil huntingStep Beach, Aireys Inlet: Hunting for Fossils

The after-dinner speakers were Jemma Cripps who described her work with urban kangaroos in Anglesea in a presentation entitled ‘Hopping down the main street’, Margaret MacDonald who highlighted some of the terrestrial orchids and other heathland flowers, and Marg Lacey who described some of her experiences photographing birds.

Although the visitors were weary, heading home after eight busy days, they remained in good spirits and were most appreciative of Angair’s knowledge and efforts to ensure their Anglesea visit was informative and enjoyable.

(Information and photos provided by Ros Gibson).