The reports over the last two weeks have indicated a lot of activity in the flowering gums around various areas.
Notably the Messmate flowering gums have had many visits from flocks of Musk Lorikeets and the odd Rainbow Lorikeet and the Gang Gangs have continued to play havoc with the wattles and gums, collecting their seeds and scaly sugar thrips.
The flowering gums and grasses at the top of the Messmate Track near Harvey street have been a haven for the communal groups of smaller birds including Spotted Pardalotes, Yellow-rumped Thornbills, White-eared Honey Eaters, Grey Fantails, Tree Creepers and Grey-headed Honey Eaters, that all seem to follow each other around as they move from one area to another.
The Eastern Koel have now stopped their calling and up till now I have not had one report of a direct sighting.
The young Ringtail Possums have been out and about investigating the bird baths at Niblick St, with the larger Brushtails still camping out in the nesting boxes.
The echidnas’ breeding season seems to have finished and they are now out foraging in full force with many areas dug up. They have even been seen during the heat of the day swimming in Sally White’s outside pond near Bells Beach.
For several weeks an Owlet Nightjar has been roosting in smaller parrot nesting boxes during the day and checking out all the gardening activities going on. I have been told if you put up other hollow logs with small openings in your garden trees you can have a number of Owlet Nightjars coming in each day.
Watch out for the nectar feeding Bee flies and large Bristle flies, they are back again with the summer heat and doing their useful work; unfortunately, the two local forms of biting March Flies always show up in the summer months as well.
If you have been mesmerised by those glistening, large hovering flies that can be stationary in front of your nose then dart off in various directions at speed before coming back right in front of you, they are the fast hovering Drone Flies, Eristalis tenax, another great pollinator.
Those fabulous little grass-tree Jewel Beetles, Diphucrania duodecimmaculata, are back and can be seen mating out on the waving leaf fronds of our local Xanthorrhoea. In a couple of days they will be munching on the leaves and then ready to lay their eggs in the grass-trees’ base.
There have been some baby Eastern Blue-tongues, 130mm long, found in the heath off Coalmine Road, hopefully they will stay out of the jaws of the local tiger snakes that find them a delicious snack.
A few Tiger and Copperhead snakes have been reported in a veggie garden in Aireys, coming out to have an early morning sun bake on those warm north facing rocks, so tread heavily when walking through the long grass (unless you are looking for snakes!) and always take a compression bandage when out in the bush during summer.
A recent update from the West Coast Whale Watch site noted there had been two Killer Whales spotted down near Apollo bay at Marengo. They have now moved on.
Angus McNab, a member of ANGAIR, reports walking at night in the Moggs Creek Picnic area and seeing Sugar Gliders, Brushtail Possums, Ringtail Possums, at least ten Yellow-bellied Gliders (calling not seen), numerous bats of at least a few species zipping overhead (he had a bat detector) and a Powerful Owl. There is lots going on after dark if people are interested in having a look.
Also from the Aireys Inlet area, Mick Grutzner reports seeing a Blue-banded Bee quite frequently in his garden this year.
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.