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There have been some successes with two Hooded Plover chicks, fledging in the second week of February.

One from Guvvo’s Beach, and the other at White’s Beach. Two chicks at the site west of Point Roadknight are active, but still have a couple of weeks to go before fledging. The breeding pair at Moggs Creek are in the early stages of preparing for a third attempt at nesting after earlier losses.

Unfortunately there is also ample evidence of fox activity throughout the beach and dune areas. Fox footprints have been detected in and around the nesting sites. Some funding has been made available by the Surf Coast Shire to assist with fox control.

During a walk at Coogoorah Park, Peter and Christine Forster caught sight of a family of Buff-banded Rails with two small chicks. They said there were also hundreds of Tree Martins and Welcome Swallows perching on dead trees north of the playground.

Another sighting, by walkers on the Distillery Creek Nature Trail, were immature Dusky Woodswallows and a pair of Rufous Fantails.

Early in February, a Year 9 student, Stella Caon and her classmates at Lorne P12 College, were engaged in a marine biology study along the rock platforms at Lorne beach. They discovered 11 Draughtboard Sharks washed up around the pier area. The animals were partially covered with seaweed and all had perished. Draughtboard sharks are a species of catshark, Their body is patterned with brown or grey patches and numerous spots. They are also called Swellsharks – so-named for their ability to expand their body to twice its normal size when threatened by a predator. They are bottom-dwelling sharks and usually inhabit deeper, offshore waters. They feed on small crustaceans, cephalopods and fish. It was a very interesting find for the students.

Draughtboard Shark
Draughtboard Shark
(Source: Mark D. Norman, Museum Victoria)

Craig Morley, from the Geelong Field Naturalists’ Club, has alerted me to an interesting internet site that uses graphics to view the migration of 118 different species of birds as they move through flight paths in North and South America. The site address is:

Kaye Traynor