After a long innings Kaye has decided to hand over the reins and hopefully there will be a smooth handover over the next two months.
I trust members will not be too upset if I include the odd invertebrate, insect and or spider every now and again.
During the last month with the warmer weather and a touch of rain, there has been a boom in insect activity with numerous different species of moths coming into the lights, including our two largest, the Emperor and Helena Gum moths, with wing spans of over 150mm.
Emperor Gum moth
Helena Gum moth
We have had some interesting visitors to the area with a Brolga sighted by Patrick Flanagan in the wetlands behind Breamlea around the corner from Blackgate Rd.
Brolga at Breamlea
On the 16th December Anne Whelan saw a Cape Barren Goose at the Inlet.
We have recently had large numbers of Gang Gangs coming into feast on the sticky wattle seed pods.
You may have heard the unique calls of the migrating Eastern Koel with increasing numbers calling in and around Anglesea and Aireys throughout December.
With the warmth, the endemic Forest Dragons and Jacky Lizards have had their egg clutches hatching and the smaller younger dragons can be seen scuttling across the tracks at Distillery Creek and the Scout Camp. Our friendly Blotchy Blue Tongues have also been seen rustling through the heath.
In the ocean we experienced a distinctive Red Tide, Noctiluca scintillans. This extraordinary event marked another occasional ‘visit’ to our shores of a phytoplankton that, whilst common in our Southern Ocean, only occasionally blooms in such profusion that a ‘red tide’ by day, and ‘blue nocturnal light-show’ by night can be seen. A range of sources describe the term as a ‘red tide’ a commonly used descriptor for a world-wide phenomenon that occurs when a ubiquitous species of ocean algae, ‘dinoflagellates’, rapidly multiply into a pink or rust-coloured ‘bloom’ in updrafts of deep-sea nutrients, or near river mouths following rainfall.
Red Tide (Photo Jonn Stewart)
Just before the New Year, the early morning body surfing crew at the Anglesea Surf Club had a very close encounter with a large sea lion who came right up and swam through the group showing them how to do it.
Back on land there has been a sighting of a wombat in the Bushland Reserve by Les Lyons, possibly an escapee as no burrows have been found but keep your eyes peeled for any distinctive, territorial squarish droppings perched on a rock or log.
There has been much activity in the canopy with the Ringtail and Brushtail Possums busy building/renewing their nests with fresh bark and branches. They are all looking very fat and possibly ready for their new broods.
Kaye Traynor, when recently on the Ixodia Track, saw a bit of a skirmish between a Pied Currawong and a Sugar Glider. It appeared the currawong had upset the Sugar Glider which ended up on the ground in the undergrowth, where it was demonstrating its defensive stand up and hissing behaviour. It is not clear why the currawong would do this unless it was possibly after smaller young Sugar Gliders. Kaye was not sure if the glider was injured, so took it to the local vet and after a clear bill of health it was returned it back to same location the next night.
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.