And yet another surprise garden visitor …

Well, well … hello there! I know I keep banging on about how important our home gardens are as wildlife habitats, but I must admit I was very surprised when fellow residents and horticulturalists/artists Fran and Paul K sent me a message saying “there is a funny looking ducky/raily thing in our front garden!”  Low and behold, a Buff-banded Rail had settled into their thickly vegetated and layered native garden of 4-5 years and was making daily appearances around late afternoon and early morning … occasionally wandering past their lounge room before darting back into thick cover. It remained a garden resident for about a week and Fran managed a few quick pictures taken through the lounge room window.

Magpies Dreaming …

According to the Dreaming, the sky was once so close to the ground that trees could not grow, people had to crawl, and all the birds were forced to walk everywhere. The days were dark and cold and one day the magpies decided to end this undesirable situation … they went to the higher hills, took a long stick in their beaks, and kept pushing the sky higher and higher, until they reached the highest mountain in the whole land. Then, with a special heave, they gave the sky one last push! The sky shot up in the air, and as it rose it split open and a huge flood of warmth and light poured through onto the land below. The animals wondered at the light and warmth, but more at the incredible brightly painted beauty of the Sun-Woman. The whole sky was awash with beautiful reds and yellows. It was the first sunrise. So that is why, according to this Dreaming, every morning when the Sun-Woman wakes and lights her early morning fire, to this day all the magpies greet her with their beautiful song, (and) perhaps to remind everyone else of their important role in holding up the sky.”

This is an enchanting story about the Australian Magpie in Aboriginal Dreaming and the creation of daylight … for it was the clever magpie that raised the sky and helped emus to straighten their necks, kangaroos to hop and wombats to leave their burrows.

The Cape Habitat and Wildlife Summary

This handout provides an aerial overview of the key habitats within The Cape and a summary of wildlife observations as at February 2022.

Each key habitat is colour coded and the observed wildlife summary is broken down into each habitat area. A more detailed Bird Species list can be found at The Cape Birds menu tab.

You can down load it and take it on your walk along the many path and cycle ways around The Cape to give you an idea of what to look out for. Just remember, observations are dependent on seasons, climate and the time of day. Many of the birds are migratory by nature and most will be chasing a particular food source. Some of our mammals, reptiles and amphibians are also seasonal – they are likely to be around but less visible.

Connecting with nature and giving back …

Something a little different this time in Cape Chatter No. 65. It might take you a little more time to read and digest and less flicking quickly through some images.

I am using the journeys of two of our most vulnerable local birds, the Hooded Plover and migratory wader, the Latham’s Snipe, to highlight the challenges they face to survive: their resilience and persistence to breed; to gain a better awareness of them by understanding their plight; and what we can all do as humans to give them a chance – and help save them from extinction.

I hope you can appreciate, albeit somewhat sad, their stories … and along the way, maybe give back a little bit to our natural world … it is good for the well-being of us humans and nature.

A buzz of excitement is in the air …

There has been plenty happening in our natural world since last issue of Cape Chatter. Highlights include the hatching of two very vulnerable Hooded Plover chicks at 2nd Surf Beach, the break out of flowering gum (Corymbia ficifolia) which is attracting a range of birds including Musk Lorikeet, another sighting of a stunning native Blue-banded Bee, and a good result with our last Latham’s Snipe count for the season. And just like clockwork, our humorous Galahs have returned from their breeding activities and are back in full flight around The Cape.

Welcome Back …

It has been an interesting summer period so far. While much of the Australian nation has been receiving good amounts of rainfall, our stretch of coastal hinterland has been lacking in precipitation and was starting to “brown-off” until some good rainfall last week. I do not think I have seen The Cape so dry in my two and half years here and it was evident by the lack of Eastern Grey Kangaroo activity around the estate and the dearth of green grass over the last several weeks. Maybe the rise in casual visitors walking and riding and construction activity in the final housing stage had something to do with it as well! So it was most pleasing to see a large number of these beauties feeding and lounging around on the new green grass of the oval and at “Green Beach” – their favourite rest-up area—last evening. There were at least 40 kangaroos on the oval (enough for two footy teams) and another 20 or so further away grazing. A wonderful spectacle!

Behind the scenes and some very close encounters …

For various reasons, I have put the tele-lens away over the last couple of weeks and concentrated on macro shots of very small creatures (invertebrates) in the home garden as the weather warms up and the winds ease off. In particular, I have been focussed on native bees, and managed to come away with some nice observations in the garden. Just when I gave the Little Corellas a big rap in the last Chatter, they all up and left. Maybe it coincided with a change in their food source or it could have been the arrival of the big tonka toys working on the civil works of the last stage development of The Cape. The place does not seem the same without their raucous noise and play!

Cape Chatter is going to take a breather over the festive season and will return in early 2022. Enjoy the festive season.

I could watch these Little Corellas for hours

For those of us who are fortunate to be living at The Cape, the raucous noise and amusing antics of the Little Corella flock can keep one occupied for unlimited hours of entertainment. The flock of 100 or so birds has been prominent recently, moving about the estate between feeding grounds, taking over various houses under construction, just hanging about playing, flying out over the nearby Bass Strait (what is going on there?) before returning to start all over again. I spent a few minutes watching them play, feed and preen in the late afternoon recently and managed to capture some of their behaviours with the camera at reasonably close quarters.

Nature Observations around The Cape