October 2021 Newsletter

Welcome to our new members

The Committee warmly welcomes several new members who have recently joined SBEA: Michael Green, Ann Linsten, Liz Atkinson, and Keeley Barber. We appreciate your support and the contribution you make to the protection of Swan Bay.

Thank you also to our members who have recently renewed their memberships.

Membership fees are Individual $20, Concession $10 and Family $30. You can pay directly into the SBEA account: Bendigo Bank BSB 633-000Account No 136521358 *Please use your ‘name mship” as the reference. Alternatively, you can send us a cheque to PO Box 143 Queenscliff 3225. If you are unsure on whether your 2021 membership is up-to-date, please contact our Secretary, Eva Mutton, on 0423 502 218 or evamutton@bigpond.com

Gardens for Wildlife news

Have you noticed how active the birds are as the weather warms? It’s time for them to raise their young and nestbuilding is now in full swing! What amazing ingenuity birds use in scoping a site that is both safe from predators and secure enough to withstand the weather in our windy coastal environment. Every piece of material from large sticks to soft dry grasses must be found, transported and meticulously manoeuvred into place.

Evie, a Gardens for Wildlife Garden Guide, has enjoyed observing this process. As her Lilly Pilly trees grew, and were trimmed, they developed a dense foliage. Evie underplanted the area with shrubs and grasses, creating an ideal food-foraging environment. Last year a pair of Red Wattlebirds chose this as an ideal site to raise their young, giving her a ‘front-row’ view from her lounge room window as the next generation emerged.

Want to learn more about nesting materials for birds? Why not visit the Birdlife Australia website:

https://birdlife.org.au/australian-birdlife/detail/birds-in-backyards-7 Or join in the Backyard Bird Count from 18 to 24 October: https://aussiebirdcount.org.au/

October’s Backyard Bird Count and Great Southern BioBlitz

The Aussie Backyard Bird Count is an annual event that encourages all of us to become citizen scientists and enjoy the fun of getting to know our local birds. It is a great way to connect with the birds in your backyard, no matter where your backyard might be — whether it’s a suburban backyard, a local park, a patch of forest, a farm, down by the beach or in the main street of town.

All you need to take part is 20 minutes and your favourite outdoor space. You don’t even need to leave home, making it the ultimate COVID-safe activity! As well as contributing to Birdlife Australia’s knowledge of Aussie Birds, you will have the chance to win some great prizes! Head to the website and register as a Counter today: https://aussiebirdcount.org.au

October presents another opportunity to get up close and personal with local flora and fauna and contribute directly to research. iNaturalist Australia has been developed through a partnership between the iNaturalist Network, the Atlas of Living Australia and CSIRO. It’s a tool that connects citizen scientists and field naturalists keen on observing and learning about flora and fauna with peers and the scientific community. You take a photo of your observation, upload it and then have experienced naturalists verify the species. It’s also a great Go-to tool for learning about species and our amazing biodiversity.

So how about joining the Great Southern BioBlitz – 22 to 25 October – using the iNaturalist tool. You are encouraged to get out in nature over the four days, take photographs or sound recordings of wildlife in your backyard, local park or surrounding national parks, and upload to iNaturalist using your phone app or computer. There are 150 other regions, cities and towns across the Southern Hemisphere that will also be involved to discover and record as many plant, animal and fungus species as possible over a four-day observation period. Here is the link: https://inaturalist.ala.org.au/

Nursery news

Will from Cobden collected 1500 plants from our nursery for the Cobden-Port Campbell Road site in September. His ute was too small for so many plants, so the Nursery lads got very inventive about stacking the racks and inserting plant tubes into every available space!

Friends of Edwards Point (FOEP) have ordered 500 plants from our nursery. In the past 12 months, FOEP activities have primarily focused on weeding, including the removal of large patches of Flax-leaved Broom in conjunction with Parks Victoria. 

FOEP is now planting a mixture of grasses, shrubs and trees from the nursery. You can get details of their progress and of future planting days on their Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Friends-of-Edwards-Point-Wildlife-Reserve/167305176623187

Another large order of plants is ready for the Queenscliff Boat Ramp Project, which will be used to revegetate along the edge of Swan Bay and to plant the garden beds in the car park area. This is all due to a magnificent effort from our nursery volunteers.

The nursery has had to close during a further COVID lockdown, and volunteers are now spread over two days each week to comply with COVID restrictions on numbers. We greatly appreciate their efforts to keep up with the current demand for our local indigenous plants.

Weeding at The Narrows and the Rip View car park

SBEA Members are regularly participating in the Bellarine Catchment Network’s monthly weeding activities. There are two sessions, both from 10.00am–12noon:

The first Tuesday of the month: along Lover’s Walk at The Narrows. Meet at the Dog Beach car park.

The second Tuesday of the month: in moonah woodland adjacent to the Rip View car park in Point Lonsdale.

The groups are mainly removing Polygala (Bellarine Pea), which is easily pulled out by hand. We are always surprised at how quickly the time goes and by how much we can achieve together.

The next Rip View weeding is on Tuesday 12 October at 10.00am and meeting at the western side opposite the Point Lonsdale Guest House. As there is a cap of 10 still, please email Lachlan Forbes (lachlan@bcn.org.au) if you’re planning to attend. You will only get an email back if we’re over capacity – if you don’t hear anything, assume you’re in.

Please BYO gloves, glasses, mask and rain jacket.

Annual community planting day a success

Thank you to the SBEA members and others in the community who joined in the Annual Planting Day at the Dog Beach car park site at The Narrows on 31 July – it was also National Tree Day. Although volunteer numbers were limited due to COVID restrictions, 300 plants were put in the ground. There was also some weeding of Polygala, which was taking over previously planted areas, as well as the removal and replacement of guards and stakes.

Volunteers who stayed the distance enjoyed a well-deserved and tasty box lunch after all of their hard work!

ANGAIR Nature Show

As ANGAIR’s Wildflower and Art Show weekend event has been cancelled again this year, a great option is to view this Online Nature Show, available until the end of October at http://www.angairnatureshow.org.au/

Visit the website and explore new content that includes more filmed and self-guided walks in downloadable and flipbook format; the work of their Environmental Care team; an online tutorial by Marg Lacey on how to photograph birds; Peter Forster’s love of the many, many birds he encounters on his regular walks along the Anglesea River; the Student Online Exhibition about the threatened species of our area and much more. Many items from last year will remain online and include, by popular demand, the jigsaw puzzles. 

All poets are being called to submit a poem for the Poetry Share on the theme of a threatened environment and fauna and flora. You can read the 2021 poems here: https://angairnatureshow.org.au/themes/create/poetry-share-view-contributions

Cats in the Borough

The mission of the Swan Bay Environment Association is to conserve the ecology of Swan Bay and its environs, and a key pillar of our organisation is to protect and restore our native fauna. In line with this, the Committee has written to the Borough of Queenscliffe regarding its current restrictions for cats. The curfew currently in place, where cats are permitted to roam freely from sunrise to sunset, is insufficient to prevent the negative impact they have on our local wildlife.

Our Gardens for Wildlife program, run in partnership with the Council, aims to increase the biodiversity of local gardens and attract birds, butterflies, insects etc. The effective control of cats is integral to the success of this program.

We hope to meet with councillors to discuss further measures that could be taken to protect our native wildlife in our very sensitive coastal environment.

The following link shares information on how domestic cats can live in harmony with wildlife and includes a video about some great cat enclosures or Catios!

Geelong Nature Forum extended to 28 November

In response to COVID restrictions, the Geelong Nature Forum has been extended until 28 November. It is an exhibition at the National Wool Museum showcasing the work of 25 local environment groups, including SBEA. The Geelong Nature Forum is a joint initiative led by the Geelong Field Naturalists Club and the City of Greater Geelong and sponsored by DELWP and Barwon Water.


Vale Ben Wadham

Ben Wadham, a long-term member of SBEA, died on 8 September at the age of 94. Ben was trained as a microbiologist, was quietly spoken, and always a strong voice for reason. He was a valued member of Joan Lindross’s committee that campaigned successfully to prevent a proposed high-rise commercial development on where the car park to the Queenscliff Harbour now stands. Uninterrupted views of The Heads, from near the ferry terminal, is one of his legacies.

World Migratory Bird Day

Saturday 9 October is the day to celebrate the many species of migratory birds that fly from the northern hemisphere to feed and roost around the shores of Swan Bay.