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The arrival of spring has seen the frog population in a courtship frenzy.

People who live in the vicinity are treated to the many different calls made by the frogs, including Pobblebonks, as they prepare for mating. This year seems to be an especially favourable year for frogs, judging by the discordant mixtures of sounds emanating from the wetlands.

An article in the Ocean Grove Voice highlights a serious environmental pest. The Bellarine Landcare Group in conjunction with Bellarine Catchment Network has established a program to help track and control Indian Mynas on the Bellarine.

These extremely aggressive birds are not native to Australia and compete for the same habitats as our native birds. They are known to take over nesting hollows, evicting birds and small mammals.

The aim of the program is to reduce the impact Indian Mynas have on native species.

Special traps have been developed, and community members are encouraged to be involved in the program, which includes trapping Indian Mynas, and surveying local bird populations, before and after, to measure the program’s effectiveness.

Although the pilot program is available only in the Ocean Grove area at this stage, Indian Mynas are quite common now in Bellbrae, Torquay areas, and some have also been found in Anglesea, They are a problem, and any humane methods of control which can be used to manage their populations and keep their numbers down would certainly benefit native wildlife. It will interesting to see what success this project has in controlling Indian Mynas.

Other Observations during the month:

  • Two Beautiful Firetails, several Southern Emu Wrens, Sitellas nesting and Blue-winged Parrots searching for hollows along Harrison Track North in Anglesea Heath: Report in Birdline Victoria by John Newman.
  • Glossy Ibis at Reedy Lake, Lake Connewarre Wildlife Reserve.
  • Olive-backed Oriole at Anglesea.
  • Large numbers of Black-faced Cuckoo-shrikes.
  • During September the tides have been quite low tides in the evening.  After dark, a Blue-ringed Octopus Hapalochlaena maculosa was spotted in the rock pools at Point Roadknight. This octopus has neon-blue rings that glow when it is irritated. The animal is well known for the nerve toxin it injects with saliva when it bites. It forages mainly at night, and feeds mostly on crustacea such as crabs.

It is likely that some Hooded Plovers have already started preparing nests for the coming breeding season. Any activity should be reported to Birdlife Australia. There will be further announcements of upcoming workshops for monitoring nesting birds during the breeding season.

The November 2012 Biennial Count report (together with maps in separate appendices) is now available for download.

This was a highly successful count, with 80% of potentially suitable habitat surveyed, and 1248 Hoodies counted. Overall, numbers have not fluctuated greatly since the last count, however, in some regions, there have been major changes in the occupancy of beaches. Those beaches, where there have been losses of birds, may indicate that habitat has become unsuitable in these areas. There have been some interesting trends, with threat indices intensifying in many areas of the coast. (Extract of article from Hoodie News)

Kaye Trayner