Some recent, very positive news has been a sighting of an immature Orange-bellied Parrot at Aireys Inlet.
The OBP Recovery Team received a report, via Chris Tzaros, from Lindy Frost, a bird enthusiast from NSW. During April, she was on holidays in Victoria, and stopped at Aireys Inlet, on the western side of the bridge. She went for a wander along the estuary and found an unfamiliar parrot. Lindy took several photographs, and sure enough it was a juvenile OBP.
As well as this sighting, two adult OBPs were observed in saltmarsh near Breamlea, in the vicinity of six Blue-winged Parrots. When the birds were flushed from the ground, the Blue-wings flew, looped around and returned, but the OBPs took off in the opposite direction and were lost from sight.
Saul Vermeeren from DSE has sent us a summary of the genetic results for the Spot-tailed Quoll at Lorne. The genetic testing from the scat is telling us that this specific animal has 75% homozygous genetic material, that is 75% of the genetic material of this particular animal is identical; the implication is that the population at the back of Lorne is somewhat inbred, which may limit its evolutionary potential, due to breeding difficulties etc. But these are only assumptions at this point. This information can only be used as an indication of the health of the population, as we would need to test a number of animals within the gene pool to get a better understanding of the population’s over-all health. It is also easy to assume that 75% is a bad figure, but it’s important to understand that Quolls generally have about 40% homozygous genetic material (microsatellite markers from Eastern Quolls were used as a comparison). This means that even a healthy population of Quolls are naturally genetically similar, which is not surprising given their ecology.
There have been many sightings of Southern Right Whales at Fairhaven, Eastern View, Urquhart Bluff, Pt Roadknight and Pt Addis. As well, a group of three, which included a calf, were moving from the Lorne area to Wye River, and another two were travelling from Apollo Bay. Both pods converged on either side of the point. Photographs of the whales at Wye River, taken by Rebecca Hosking, can be seen here.
A group of approximately 20 Little Black Cormorants were seen feasting in the early morning light on a school of fingerlings (possibly small Bream) in the Painkalac Creek estuary. Diving down into the water again and again, each bird appeared with a shiny silvery fish in its bill every time it surfaced.
The solitary Great Egret, which usually claims this part of the estuary as its own, was standing on the edge, just watching the spectacle. Perhaps it was thinking, ‘There goes my breakfast, dinner and tea for the next few weeks!’
A sign that spring is not too far away – the ravens have started nest building.