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Spring has almost arrived and the nesting season is already in progress.

Many of our common local birds are busily engaged in nest building. When walking through the woodland areas, among the most frequently heard calls are the cuckoos, and the most common is that of the Fan-tailed Cuckoo with its plaintive, descending trill call. The sweet sounds of Grey Shrike Thrush and Grey Butcherbirds also add to the chorus.

The family of swans at Allen Noble Sanctuary in Aireys Inlet is thriving. Although still covered in down, the cygnets are growing quickly.

A Ruddy Turnstone has been spotted with two Hooded Plovers feeding on the expanse of rock shelf close to the water around from Pt Roadknight towards Urquhart Bluff.

The whale migration has continued along our coastline throughout August and September. A Killer Whale and several Southern Rights have been sighted. Large pods of dolphins have also been observed in our local waters.

Early last month, a raptor species was observed at Coogoorah Park. While not definitely identified, it is thought to have been a Swamp Harrier. It is the only species of raptor which occurs in the Anglesea/Aireys Inlet area. Over time the Anglesea River valley has been a popular place to see Swamp Harriers. The swampy, wetland vegetation is an ideal range for them as they fly low, with upswept wings, in pursuit of their prey. They are really quite impressive to watch.

Their breeding season usually begins in September and goes through to January. Typically during this time they make display flights which consist of a variety of aerial manoeuvres, soaring and looping, all the while uttering loud whistling calls.
We look forward to the chance to see more of these bird during the spring and summer.

In a few weeks many young animals will emerge and it’s at this crucial time that they are all vulnerable to predation and attack. While this is an occurrence in nature which is an acceptable part of maintaining a balanced population, the threat from introduced predators puts undue strain on populations of native species.

One of the ways we can assist small animals is by confining our pets, particularly cats. I do have a cat and I know that if he had access to the garden he would stalk and kill some of the small birds who nest here each year.

I have an outdoor enclosure and an elevated garden walkway especially constructed for my cat. The cat is happy and safe, and importantly the birds, small Blue-tongues and skinks etc. can exist in the garden free from the threat of a cat attack. I would recommend to cat owners that they install outdoor enclosures. There are many different designs all of which can be adjusted to suit a particular area.

Kaye Traynor