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This is a good time of the year for Robins. We were fortunate to see three Scarlet Robins, all in one day.

Scarlet Robins move out to more open habitats and are therefore more easily seen at this time of the year. There have also been sightings of Pink Robins locally. Their autumn dispersal takes them well away from their usual habitat – damp, forest gullies – to the more open woodland areas.

A very rare sighting, at Torquay, of an Osprey was reported in Birdline Victoria. The bird was fishing in Spring Creek, and apparently caught a nice sized Bream. It then flew, with the fish, into a Moonah tree. Ospreys can be found readily in all coastal areas around the continent, with the exception of Victoria and Tasmania. They are uncommon in this part of the country, although last year, one was seen near Apollo Bay. A single Osprey, probably the same one seen at Torquay, was also observed flying with  Pacific Gulls, in the Bells Beach surfing area.

A female Satin Bowerbird, sadly, flew into a window in a house in Anglesea. The bird has been offered to the Melbourne Museum.

A Little Penguin was found by a group during a rock pool ramble organised by Surf Coast Walks. He had an injured leg, and was sheltering against a rock at low tide. Local Wildlife Rescue angels, Robyn and Ian, were notified, and they collected the bird. He was eight months old and weighed 570 g. The vet who x-rayed him confirmed muscle wastage in his leg, and malnutrition. He was otherwise fine. He is now recuperating in a swimming pool, on a special diet, and will soon be ready for release at Torquay.

There has been some exciting news about Spot-tailed Quolls lately. One animal has been seen on the decking at a house in Lorne, late one evening. The homeowner was able to describe the creature, although he didn’t know what it was. He also retrieved a scat, which the animal had left on the decking. The scat was analysed and confirmed as a Spot-tailed Quoll. This exciting event establishes the fact that a population of these animals are present in the Otways. The Friends of Eastern Otways have conducted regular mammal surveys, using hair-tubes, over fourteen years, with the aim of locating the elusive, carnivorous marsupial. In two instances, quolls were located, once at Anglesea Heathland and another in the Big Hill-Reedy Creek area behind Lorne. It is possible the animal recently seen at Lorne has been flushed out of the forest during one of the autumn fuel reduction burns in that area.

On another occasion, a Spot-tailed Quoll was photographed in the grounds of  the caravan park at Barwon Heads. At first, it was thought the animal might have escaped from the Jirrahlinga Koala Wildlife Sanctuary, however, this was not the case. One has also been seen near Ballarat. Conditions this year for quolls must be very favourable.

Rebecca Hosking found an Elephant Shark egg case, washed up on the beach near Point Roadknight. In spring, females migrate into coastal bays and estuaries to lay two egg cases simultaneously, in sand and muddy substrates. They are up to 25 cm long, 10 cm wide, and take up to eight months to hatch. They are sometimes washed ashore after storms.

Elephant Shark egg case

Elephant Shark egg case – photograph by Rebecca Hosking

Mike and Kaye Traynor