All posts by davidhartney

It’s been a ‘big bird’ week

October is a great month for bird watching. There is a bit of warmth, some humidity and rain, plenty of blossoming plants, and lots of invertebrates starting to appear in the air. There is heaps of chattering and chirping from our feathered friends and why wouldn’t there be! The past week has also been National Bird Week which included Birdlife Australia’s Backyard Bird Count, which is a fun exercise in citizen science where you can see how many birds in your vicinity you can identify in 20 minutes and then upload your observations via an app. It is a great way to learn about the local birds in the local area and the data is invaluable for researchers in identifying the ‘state of the nation’ of our bird life.

Putting a little dampener on nature

The Bunurong Coast seems to have escaped the heavy flooding rains experienced in other parts of Victoria and south east Australia, but for the natural world, life goes on. As communities face the challenges of rising floodwaters and flash flooding, our wildlife have to quickly adapt to the changing environmental conditions. We are in peak breeding season for many species, and some of our very young and immature critters will face a tough time coming out the other side. So if you are out and about around The Cape estate or walking along the nearby Yallock-Bulluk Marine and Coastal Park, please keep an eye out for any distressed animals that may require help, and in the first instance, please ring Wildlife Victoria for assistance and they will organise a trained wildlife rescuer to attend to the situation.

Have the ‘bluey’s’ backed out over the Bass???

Further to the last issue of Chatter, it has been about 12 days since I last observed the Blue-winged Parrots at The Cape.  That sighting was a flock of 10 birds feeding in the west of the estate on Sticky Mouse-Ear Chickweed which appeared to be their favourite tucker. Their departure, following 14 days or so of intense foraging, coincided with some good weather and northerly winds … so we are thinking these particular birds were Tasmanian Blue-winged Parrots returning back to the ‘apple isle’ for their breeding season and were spending their time around here building up energy and waiting for some favourable weather to assist their flight back. It is known the Tassie birds migrate to the mainland over the cooler months like their close cousin, the endangered Orange-bellied Parrot. But this is all hypothetical – based on their behaviour and observations over the past few years and the fact that small numbers of BWP are still being seen inland from the coast. Sad to see them go as they are stunning little parrots. Until next year hopefully!

The important role of open habitats … and wetlands

The past week or so has been an amazing time around The Cape for birdlife and it has emphasised the important role open habitats play in supporting some of our beautiful feathered friends.  Since July, we have had occasional observations of the stunning Blue-winged Parrot in the south west of the estate, but since the 10 September, we have had daily sightings of a flock (sometimes around 22 birds) foraging in the grassy open habitats. And they are not the only birds who rely on this habitat.  To top off a great week, we have a new species identified in the wetlands, with a recording of an Australian Spotted Crake call and it was a mere 20 meters away from a secretive Lewin’s Rail (listed as vulnerable) which was also calling. These varied habitats are really beginning to attract and house an amazing array of wildlife, including many threatened species. Our bird species count is now up to 120!

Spring has sprung …

Nature has flicked the switch and the seasons have changed. We are seeing the natural world come to life from it’s sleepy winter period with some punch in the sun, plenty of blossom in the bush, the sounds of singing migratory birds arriving for the warmer months, and the nesting and breeding season of birds in full swing. It is a great time to enjoy nature at it’s best. A quick wander through the home garden with the macro lens has revealed some stunning flowers unfolding—they are things of beauty with amazing structure and form, let alone the dazzling colours … and all types of animals are going to enjoy being amongst them. Here are a few examples!

Helping to save the local Hooded Plover

This issue looks at the fantastic initiatives to help Hooded Plover breeding success rates along our local coastline with a generous donation by the Directors of The Cape. We also follow the trail of the secretive Buff-banded Rail around the estate and also look at how some of our fabulous home garden habitats are providing valuable biodiversity hot spots for our many creatures, small to large, even after just four years of growth.