Early winter seems to be a relatively quiet time of the year with not a lot happening.
I have, however, recently observed two Wedge-tailed Eagles performing aerobatic displays above some paddocks in the Bellbrae area. It could indicate courtship behaviour. They are early breeders, sometimes preparing to nest early in June.
One evening in early June, an unexpected influx of moths descended on a home in Moggs Creek. It was unsettling to have so many of the large moths fluttering around the external glass sliding door. Their actions attracted a predator, a Southern Boobook, which also flew among them towards the glass door.
A photograph of one of the moths was sent to the Melbourne Museum and it was identified as Ptilomacra senex, a member of the Cossidae family also referred to as Wood Moths, Goat Moths, and Cossid Moths. The adults have a pattern of light and dark fawn/grey colour on their wings. They also have white strips behind the head, fan-like antennae and a wingspan of about 10cm.
The caterpillars of Ptilomacra senex bore into and live inside the stems of grass trees, Xanthorrhoea. They are common in Victoria, New South Wales, the Brisbane area of Queensland and parts of South Australia.
It’s the time for whales and some have been spotted at various points along our coastline. At Fairhaven in early June, a Humpback Whale was seen heading in the direction of Split Point Lighthouse.
A few days later, three Southern Right Whales were observed about 200m off Point Roadknight Beach where they spent most of that day. Their presence provided a wonderful viewing opportunity for locals and visitors.
It’s always a thrill to see a Shy Albatross in graceful flight. One appeared close to a beach at Aireys Inlet. It was accompanied by several Australasian Gannets.
Freesia refracta and Freesia alba X F. leichtlinii are declared weeds in the Surf Coast Shire because they spread easily and threaten to invade bushland. Freesias are perennial herbs that die back in summer and produce new foliage in winter. The highly fragrant trumpet-shaped flowers appearing in spring are white to cream and pink with yellow markings, shaded purple on outer surface. Each plant has at least two corms, one below the other, thus requiring deep digging to remove them.
More details about how to control this weed can be found in the archive of Weeds of the Month.
There are a number of wonderful local Friends Groups that provide ANGAIR members and the community with opportunities for involvement.