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.

Just like clockwork???

I now have three year’s worth of detailed observations and supporting photographs recorded of The Cape’s wildlife and natural world along with an ever increasing library of issues of the Cape Chatter newsletter. Each time I sit down to prepare a new newsletter, I am now able to compare what is happening around the same time of each year. Hopefully we will be able to see some trends around the impact the development is having on the natural world as more homes are built along with greater human activity in addition to climate change. But I am also keen to record the impact the significant investment in ecological restoration, habitat retention, wildlife protection measures, and commitment to citizen science projects will have moving forward. Let’s hope it is all positive!

The battle for Mount Tamboritha

The Cape lies on the ‘high energy’ Bunurong Coast of Victoria and when the winter south westerly weather systems hit, you know it is going to be cold and very windy. There is no large land mass between Antarctica and Cape Paterson and when these systems build up in the mighty Southern Ocean, they hit pretty hard. However, despite the cold, windy and gloomy conditions here overthe past week or so (squalls, hail and sideways rain!) there have been some interesting territorial battles witnessed in the home garden, especially among our native honeyeater bird species—from the smallest to the largest!

Cape Chatter is having another short (winter) break and will be back in a few weeks!

Nature Observations around The Cape