The appearance of the pink and white Common Heath at this time during the winter provides a splash of colour.
I watched with interest an Eastern Spinebill feeding on a clump very close to the ground from one of the tiny bell-shaped flowers.
A Chestnut-rumped Heathwren flew out from a thicket in an area of bushland close to Anglesea. The bird was silent and the sudden flight movement drew our attention to its presence. During the breeding season, in late winter and early spring, the Chestnut-rumped Heathwren has a strong and sustained song. It will also mimic the calls of birds from other species.
In the same area, we saw a Jacky Winter darting between Brown Stringybarks with its characteristic flitting movements. It’s always a pleasure to see these charming birds.
Recently while on the Surf Coast Walk near Anglesea, Gail Slykhuis came across a Bassian Thrush perfectly camouflaged on the leafy track amongst the Drooping Sheoaks.
One of the collared kangaroos from the Golf Course has been spending its time resting in a local garden. Eathorne Mitchell first noticed the kangaroo in her garden and saw that it was wearing a collar with the name Rob. According to Graeme Coulson, Rob, an adult male, was first caught back in November 2011, and he has been seen pretty reliably ever since. Eathorne was also fascinated to see a White-eared Honeyeater fly onto Rob’s back and pick out small tufts of fur. I have seen this behaviour by White-eared Honeyeaters before. They will take fur from any animals and pets which happen to be in the vicinity, using the fur to line their nests.
Early in July a Barn Owl was found deceased by Neil Tucker just near Guvvos car park.
The bird was an adult and there was no apparent injury. About the same time that this bird was located a news report described similar instances of Barn Owls found dead or dying with no visible signs of injury. In fact, between January and July in 2018, Wildlife Victoria received over 117 rescue requests for Barn Owls. In the previous year during the same period, there were only 12 requests.
According to DELWP, rat poison seems to be the most likely cause of death of the birds. Another possibility is starvation during the winter months. Their diet is mainly rats and mice and in winter there is not enough food to sustain the population. The number of owls decrease as the rodents seek warm and drier conditions inside houses and barns. Whatever the cause, it is certainly a critical time for these birds right now.
Barn Owl detail
A Red-necked Wallaby was seen on the road between Lorne and Erskine Falls at the end of June by the Friends of Eastern Otways who were about to commence a walk from Blanket Leaf picnic ground along Lemonade Creek Track to the Falls. They came across the wallaby in the middle of the road, unable to stand or move without stumbling. It had apparently been hit by a car. The animal was herded to the side of the road and subdued by covering it with a jacket and waterproof rug. We contacted the Animal Rescue Service and on arrival the rescuer very carefully placed the wallaby into a hessian bag to keep it safe. It was then taken for veterinary assessment. Sadly, it didn’t survive. However, we are very grateful to Jason and Grant from the Surf Coast Animal Rescue Service for their very prompt and professional response to our call for help.
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.