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RANCE A FTRT 
MUSEUM OF VICTORIA LIBRARY 


GEELONG NATURALIST 


MONTHLY PUBLICATION OF THE GEELONG FIELD NATURALISTS CLUB INC 


Vol 33 No. 2 JUNE 1997 
ISSN 0726-7363 


GEELONG NATURALIST 


June 1997 Vol 33 No2 
ISSN 0726-7363 


CONTENTS 
Excursion Notice - Otway Rainforest 1 
Excursion Notice - Timboon Bushland 1 
Club Campout - Lake Eppalock 1 
‘June’ 2 
Committee Notes 3 
Excursion Report - Surf Coast Bushland 3 
Plant Group Report . 3 
‘A Beetle Witi Many Secrets’ Dave King 4 
Bird Group Report 5 
Bird of The Month - Red-browed Finch 6 
‘Swift Moths’ Ade Foster 7 
Library Notes 7 
May Meeting Report - Insects for Biological Control 8 
Biodiversity Notes 9 
Bird Observations 11 
COMING EVENTS 
JUNE 
3 General Meeting Gretna Weste ‘Cinnamon Fungus - Is it declining?’ 
8 Biodiversity Group Excursion + Ironbark Basin 
7,8,9 Club Campout Lake Eppalock Leader: Dick Southcombe 5243 3916 
10 Plant Group Meeting Box/ Ironbark Forest Plants 
15 Club Excursion Otways Rainforest Leader: Graeme Tribe 5255 2302 
24 Bird Group Meeting Ken Simpson “Cuckoos' 
25 Biodiversity Group Workshop Meeting 
JULY 
1 General Meeting David Cameron Victoria's Rainforests' 
6 Biodiversity Group Excursion Bannockburn Bush 
8 Plant Group Meeting ‘Myrtle Beech, Ferns’ 
20 Club Excursion Timboon Bushland Leader: Barry Lingham 5255 4291 
TBA Winter Wader Count 
22 Bird Group Meeting Lawrie Conole ‘Birdwatching in Java and Bali’ 


23 Biodiversity Group Workshop Meeting 


* CHANGES TO PROGRAM 
+ ADDITIONS TO PROGRAM 


GEELONG NATURALIST Vol 33.2 


EXCURSION NOTICE 


... Barry Lingham 


July Excursion - 
Preliminary Information 


Timboon bushland. 
July 20th. 


You may not know it, but as a 
member of the GFNC, you are also 
a part owner of 71 acres of bushland 
near Timboon. 


This land is one of the few remaining 
patches of bush left after the 
clearing of most of this area for dairy 
farming. The block was privately 
owned, but was purchased by the 


Trust for Nature and will be resold to | 


purchasers of shares in a 
cooperative. The GFNC purchased 
one share. Some $43,000 has 
been raised leaving only $17,000 
more to find. 


This bushland contains a 
mixture of forest types from 
Manna Gum/Swamp Gum 
habitat in the wetter gullies to 
Messmate forest in the hill 
tops. Rufous Bristlebirds, 
Long-nosed Bandicoots and 
some eight species of ferns 
have been noted at this site. 


This is an opportunity to visit 
a new area, so we have 
arranged for a larger 23 seat 
bus to travel in. 


Bookings can be made 
tonight, or contact Barry 
Lingham (5255 4291). Cost 


will be about $10-00 


PLEASE NOTE THAT WE 
WILL DEPART AT 8:30 am 
TO ALLOW MORE TIME AT 
THE SITE AS IT IS ABOUT 
2% HOURS DRIVE TO 
TIMBOON. 


JUNE CLUB CAMPOUT 
AT LAKE EPPALOCK 


Refer May Geelong Naturalist 
Page 7. 


The camp is available form 4 pm. 
Friday 6th - 2 pm Monday 9th 


Saturday and Sunday depart 
camp 9.00 am. for excursion in 
the heathlands area with local 
naturalists. 


Saturday - mainly geology with 
good opportunities for flora and 
fauna enthusiasts. 


Sunday - mainly birding: 


Monday - general excursion in 
nearby forests and/or Heathcote 
Insectorium and a detour or two 
on the way home. 


Further information: 
Ph. 5243 3916. 


Ericaceae Gaultheria hispida R.Br. 
Snow Berry: Erect much-branched shrub to a 
2m. branchlets and mid-ribs of leaves covered 
with rigid, reddish bristles; leaves ellipse to 


EXCURSION NOTICE 


... Graeme Tribe 


Otway Rainforest 
Sunday 15th June. 


We will leave Karingal at 8.30 sharp, 
yes, that is right 8.30, and travel via 
Colac to Triplet Falls. Independent 
travellers should meet the main 
party at Ferguson - Cnr. Beech 
Forest Road and Charleys Creek 
Road (2km. west of Beech Forest). 


We will spend the greater part of the 
day around Hopetoun Fails and the 
Aire Valley Road. 


This excursion will be extremely 
interesting as we wil have on board 
the senior botanist of The Arthur 
Rylah Institute, (our guest speaker 
for the July meeting) David 
Cameron and perhaps an FJ Holden 
full of fellow botanists to 
firstly show us the specialist 
flora of the rainforest. 


Also, we will be searching for 
perhaps the rarest plant in 
Victoria, an ‘endemic’ from 
Tasmania found in possibly 
two places near Hopetoun 
Falls recently. 


This is a great chance for 
some exciting research and 
to become famous. We will 
return to Geelong along 
Turtons Track - Forest etc. 


A bus will run; bookings 
tonight. 


See inset for details of 
mainland Australia’s new 
plant (not being a weed) - 

- the Snow Berry . 


lance-shaped, 4-8 cm. long; flowers white in 
O terminal or axillary groups; capsules enclosed 


by white, fleshy false fruits. 


Tasmanian endemic; occasional in alpine 
heath and alpine sedgeland at lower altitudes. 


JUNE 


. . With Joe Hubbard 


Ubiquitous Sparrows; Winter 
Flowers; Black Cockatoos; 
Crimson Rosellas; And Also: 


Ubiquitous Sparrows: 

| know what you are going to say! 
There are better things to do and see 
in June than looking at sparrows. 
Well that was my attitude to these 
street urchins until | read a recent 
article written by a gentleman who 
has made a 50 year's study of these 
birds. That certainly encouraged me 
to look at them with ‘new’ eyes. 


“That humble looking little bird is one 
of the natural world's high achievers 
- a member of a great empire 
building species and a master at the 
art of exploiting mankind.” 
Dennis Summers-Smith. 


There are 20 species of 
sparrows but the House and 
Tree Sparrow are 
ubiquitous. House 
Sparrows range through 
North Africa, Europe to 
Asia, and as we know, were 
introduced to many other 
countries. 


What has made these birds such 
great survivors? Well this is where 
you can do some research on this 
matter. If you have a bird feeding 
‘centre’, open to all comers, well you 
are up and running. If not, set one 
up! Maybe someone through the 
Geelong Naturalist could remind us 
of better ways to set up nature bird 
feeders and the correct foods to use. 


| got my lot used to bread and seed 
(they are natural seed eaters) then 
changed it to boiled rice. They 
treated it like an unexploded bomb. 
Keep watching their antics until one 
plucks up enough courage to sample 
the new food. Maybe Lesson 1 in 
survival skills? (They do like rice) 


Further observing should identify 
other survival skills. Introduced 
birds are pretty common place and 
easily observed, but are good 
vehicles for the study of bird 
behaviour e.g. territorial, courtship, 


GEELONG NATURALIST Vol 33.2 


diet, nest construction and 
situation, voice (alarm and 
contact calls) and song. 


What do sparrows feed their 
young? For sparrows read 
Blackbirds, Song Thrushes and 
Turtle-Doves - all worth watching. 


Our local Song Thrush is just 
turning up. Is yours? Listen for its 
quiet, single note ‘tick’ call in the 
undergrowth - this can be heard all 
year. 


You have to be lucky to see the 
recluse-like Song Thrush. Look 
for an elegant, blackbird sized, 
brown backed bird with a spotted 
breast. 


Remember share your 
observations - even if it is only 
with your diary. 


Good watching. 


“Maybe someone through the ‘Geelong 
Naturalist’ could remind us of the better 


Winter Flowers: 

Hakea, Correa, Brisbane Ranges 
Grevillea, Mosquito Orchids, 
Striped Greenhoods, Dusty Miller, 
at and beyond the Bert Boardman 
Reserve near Steiglitz. 


Greenish orchids tend to merge in 
to background so it is a good idea 
to look for their ground-hugging 
leaves. Mosquito Orchids have a 
single heart shaped leaf, green 
above, purple or green below. 
The Striped Greenhood has a 
rosette of 4-10 ovate leaves. 


Black Cockatoos in flocks. 
Check for the yellow tail feathers 
in flight. 

Crimson Rosellas - feeding in 
gardens and parks. Are quiet 
feeders, immatures are more 
green. 

Long-billed Corellas - maybe! A 
drive through farmlands in the 
west of Geelong could turn up a 
flock of these feeding on the 
ground, seeds, roots and bulbs. 


And Also: 

Swift Moths emerging from ground. 
If you see them beating against your 
lit window, next morning look for the 
pupa cases protruding from the 
ground. Ours emerge from under a 
lemon tree, about the same time 
each year, in late May or early June. 
Ironbarks flowering. Take in a 
cacophony of Red Wattlebirds in the 
Ironbark Basin, and all the other 
birds attracted by the bountiful 
supply of nectar with some insects 
for protein. 


Sweet wattle Acacia suaveolens, a 
heathland shrub, winter flowering 
and thick erect straight leaves. 


Cormorants - Geelong city, flying to 
roosts late afternoon, stringing 
across the sky. Remember Balyang 
Sanctuary roosting? 


Fungi. Look for Shaggy Caps and 
others along Wal Whiteside Walk. 
Common Correa should 
be flowering. This walk is 
across the river from 
Belmont Common. 
Access via Breakwater 
Road or Barwon Terrace. 


ways to set up native bird feeders and 
the correct foods to use” 


O 


More from the Jarosite- 
Ironbark Basin excursion 
... Lorraine Preston 


What an experience our last 
excursion to the “Surfcoast 
Bushland” was! There were many 
highlights. | had hoped to see a 
Rufous Bristlebird, but unfortunately 
| was too slow. 


The Jarosite Mine was most 
interesting. The striking red ochre 
soil was mined in the early 1920"s 
and used to paint the ‘red rattlers'. It 
is intriguing to attempt to visualise 
the thriving opencut type mine in this 
rather remote bush area. Would the 
ochre be transported by sea, or were 
there roads into the mine? 


o 


GEELONG NATURALIST Vol 33.2 | 


COMMITTEE NOTES 
... Dick Southcombe 


Our club - Your say. 

The committee - indeed our club 
membership - needs to know who is 
responsible for the 101 or is it 111 
necessary tasks for our club to 
operate effectively. Are you able to 
continue helping? What do you feel 
we should be doing? Please respond 
now. Response sheets are required 
by 15th June at latest. 


Special General Meeting, Karingal 
8 p.m. Tuesday 29th July. 

Guest Speakers: Richard Boekel - 
DNR&E, Andrew Greystone - Parks 
Victoria. 

Richard, who is Senior Flora and 
Fauna planner, based at Geelong, will 
discuss the Sites Register, which is a 
database of areas of conservation 
significance. It lists sites with 
significant flora and fauna, important 
ecological communities and contains 
maps with corresponding information. 


It is constantly updated and is on trial 
by the City of Greater Geelong as a 
means of council staff accessing 
information for forward planning. 
Other municipalities are likely to use 
the database also. 


Andrew who is Chief Ranger - Anakie 
District, based at Bacchus Marsh will 
discuss the role, structure and 
operation of Parks Victoria as it 
relates to his district, which is roughly 
bounded by Williamstown, 
Blackwood, Meredith, Inverleigh, 
Breamlea, Swan Island, Portarlington 
and across the bay back to 
Williamstown. 


As environment, conservation and 
friends groups are being invited to this 
special general club meeting, our 
members are urged to make the 
meeting widely known and to bring like 
minded people along with them. 


O 


EXCURSION REPORT 
Surf Coast Bushland. May 18. 
Rachel Keary and Gordon McCarthy. 


The day was cool and overcast but 
thankfully rain and wind free. Sixteen 
members met at South Side car park 
at Bell's beach then moved to the 
entrance to the walking track on 
Jarosite Rd. We followed the track 
over heathland and downhill through 
ironbarks to the old Jarosite mine 
site. As the ironbarks were flowering, 
there were most of the local species 
of honeyeater feeding. Unfortunately 
no Emu Wrens showed themselves. 
There was very little in flower on the 


heathland. Spyridium provided one: 


of the few changes in colour and 
several correas were flowering. 


Beside the track in the heathland Joe 
Hubbard and some others found 
something for the biodiversity 
people; an unidentified spider, with 
leaf-cutting habits, had woven a 
small Horny Cone-bush to make a 
home. The Cone-bush was suffering, 
but we expect the spider was 
satisfied. 


After lunch at the Ironbark Basin car 
park we walked through the ironbarks 
to the coast. A surprise was water in 
a dam at the junction of the Ironbark 
Track and the Nature Trail. Winston 
informed us that the dam had been 
cleaned out and lined with special 
clay by Angair members. The White- 
naped Honeyeaters and spinebills 
were making full use of it. The 
honeyeaiers repeatedly flew down to 
the water and up again - we were 
amused by their antics for quite a 
while. 


There was no sign of the Powerful 
Ows which are usually resident but a 
pair of Peregrine Falcons were flying 
around the cliffs. 


Several bristiebirds were seen 
fleetingly as they ran from bush to 
bush showing us how very important 
it is to conserve this area for the 
future. Other birds were in good 
numbers, but there was a limited 
number of species. 

a 


See Rachel’s species list on 
page 10. 


PLANT GROUP REPORT 


... Dick Southcombe 


The few members who attended on a 
cold, wet might in May were treated to 
an excellent slide show by Gordon 
McCarthy. Gordon’s selection of 
slides certainly provided an 
introduction to and a lively discussion 
on the vegetation of the coastal 
heathlands and woodlands of Bell’s, 
Jarosite and Ironbark Basin. A slide of 
a correa species elicited comment and 
many questions and no doubt it will be 
sought and closely examined to 
confirm its identity. The 
interdependence of flora and fauna in 
the natural world was highlighted by 
many slides which illustrated 
interaction between plants and fungi, 
birds and insects. A series of slides of 
a Grass-tree Xanthorrhoea australis 
emphasized the relationship. 


Next meeting: 
Plants of the Heathcote area will be 
the subject of our June meeting. 
Once again, bring books etc to study 
plants which took the eye of members 
during our club campout at Lake 
Eppalock. 

O 


Seaview Park 

Consultan Bill Johnson has produced 
a draft management plan and City of 
Greater Geelong are inviting 
comment from the public and 
community groups. Plans and 
documents are available for 
inspection at council's 2 Colac Road 
office and at the Belmont Library. 


A plan is also displayed at Seaview 
Park. Some time ago, GFNC 
suggested that the area be developed 
as a geological, flora and fauna 
reserve. 


Submissions should be sent to Mr. 
Chris Lewis, City of Greater Geelong 
by 19th June. 

O 


4 | j GEELONG NATURALIST Vol 33.2 


A BEETLE WITH MANY SECRETS 


By Dave King 


This beetle, though of spectacular appearance, has many secrets yet to be unravelled. It is not found in great 
numbers around the Geelong area, which is not surprising, because the literature maintains it to be a member 
of a sub-tropical family, and confined to northern New South Wales and Queensland. 


It belongs in the superfamily Dascilloidea and family Rhipiceridae,and goes under the name Rhipicera 
femorata. The writer has only come upon two specimens in the Geelong area, the specimen illustrated was 
collected in the garden at Portarlington, whilst the other specimen was found at Anglesea some years ago. It 


is a matter of some conjecture as to whether these beetles have migrated from the north or they are rare 
residents in the Geelong area. 


Little is known of the biology of this species, the larvae being unknown. Larvae of related species in America 
are known to parasitise immature stages of cicadas. 


Male R. femorata, as illustrated, have spectacular flabellate (fan-like) antennae. The female, unfamiliar to the 
writer, has an antennae of pectinate form. The beetle is entirely black, with the exception that the proximal 
portion of the femora is yellow, blending into a black apex. The elytra and pronotum are marked with a series 
of spots consisting of white setae. Each individual beetle appears to have a unique pattern of these spots. 


Both sexes having elaborate antennae suggests that they must be highly sensitive to extremely low 
concentrations of chemicals. Whatever these chemicals might be, it is possible they would be the main key 
to their biology, i.e. for sensing suitable food source, a prospective mate, etc. 


References 
Clarke,K.U. (1973), Biology of the Arthropoda, Edward Arnold, London. 


Lawrence, J.F. & Britton, E.B. (1994), Australian Beetles, Melbourne University Press. 


Rhipicera femorata 


GEELONG NATURALIST Vol 33.2 


(a a 


BIRD GROUP REPORT 


... Barry Lingham 


May 27th 1997 


Our speaker for this meeting was 
Jonathan Starks who discussed the 
Orange-bellied Parrots. Jonathan 
hopes to enlist our help in the study 
of these birds and the other local 
Neophema parrot, the Blue-winged 
Parrot. 


Jonathan has been involved in 
helping coordinate the thirteen years 
of Orange-bellied parrot (OBP) 
surveys that have been undertaken 
by Birds Australia (previously the 
RAOU) . 


The OBPs nest in eucalypt hollows 
in South Western Tasmania. They 
lay 3 to 6 eggs in November and the 
young generally hatch out in 
December. The adults feed the 
young on the seeds of local grass 
species, although many birds take 
advantage of the seed left on 
feeding tables established to 
supplement their natural food 


supply. 


The young fledge in late January or 
early February and they are ready to 
fly north to the mainland by mid 
March to early April. The adult birds 
actually depart a few days before the 
immatures. They fly up the western 
coast of Tasmania and on to King 
Island. From there, they pass on 
towards Cape Otway and disperse 
along the coast of South Eastern 
Australia. 


The birds go as far as the Coorong 
in the west and to Jack Smith Lakes 
to the East. Early records show that 
the OBPs once travelled as far north 
as Sydney, but this is no longer the 
case. 


Around the Geelong region, most 
OBPs make for Lake Connewarre to 
feed on the seeds of the ripening 
Beaded Glasswort Sarcocornia 
quinqueflora. They tend to start to 
move on to Swan Island or Point 
Wilson near the end of May. 


These two sites have large stands 
of Shrubby Glasswort 
Sclerostegia arbuscula which is 
the other main food source of the 
OBPs in the Geelong area. Other 
local food plants include Austral 
Seablight Suaeda australis and 
Sea Heath Frankenia pauciflora. 
The OBPs eat a wde variety of 
seeds from native and introduced 
plants. 


The general decline in the 
population of OBPs is believed to 
be due to the loss of suitable salt 
marsh habitat over the past fifty 
years. The birds are adaptable 
(they feed on the fairways of Swan 
Island Golf Course), but they have 
experienced a decrease in 
population until less than 200 
birds were in existence at the 
beginning of the 1990s. 


A recovery plan was adopted by 
the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife 
and this plan was implemented 
with the cooperation of Victoria 
and South Australia. Surveys of 
the OBP were begun and habitat 
protection was undertaken. Nest 
boxes were established and these 
proved to be successful. A 
banding scheme allowed the 
monitoring of the movements of 
individual birds. 


A captive breeding program was 
begun to act as insurance against 
the extinction of the birds due to a 
major natural catastrophe such as 
a bush fire or storm. This 
successful program also allowed 
study of the birds. Some of these 
birds were also released to help 
supplement wild populations. 


Survival rates of the birds are a 
cause for concern. It appears that 
only about 45% of young birds 
survive their first year to be able 
to return to Tasmania. Of these 
birds, only 46% survive their 
second year. The average life 
span is approximately three and a 
half years. 


The Lake Connewarre, Point 
Wilson and Swan Island sites 
have been regularly surveyed 
each winter. Although the 
population of birds at the nest 
sites in Tasmania has stabilised 
over the past few years, the 
numbers of OBPs at these three 


5 


sites has shown a definite 
downwards trend for the past ten 
years. 


There are several possibilities as to 
where these missing birds are now 
going. Jonathan believes that the 
OBPs are probably still in the local 
area, but they have either found a 
new food source or they are utilising 
salt swamps that have not been 
visited by bird watchers. 


The decline has been matched in the 
populations of Blue-winged Parrots 
over the same time period. As these 
closely related parrots tend to use 
the same general food sources, they 
may be also hanging out with the 
missing OBPs. 


Jonathan is requesting details of 
all records of OBPS and Blue- 
wings that our members can 
supply. Historical records will 
help to show any trends and 
preferred sites, whilst current 
records may provide the clues as 
to the whereabouts of the birds 
that are not being counted in the 
winter surveys. 


Please pass on your records to Barry 
Lingham or Valda Dedman so that 
we can send them to Jonathan. 


Jonathan has been a regular 
speaker at the Bird Group and once 
again he delivered an interesting 
and informative talk. Maybe 
Jonathan's next talk will be about 
where the missing OBPs have gone. 


Next Month’s Speaker 


Our June meeting speaker is the well 
known author and naturalist, Ken 
Simpson. 


Ken will be talking about that 
intriguing group of birds, the 
Cuckoos, Those of you who took the 
tour of Port Phillip Bay in February 
will be able to attest to Ken's skills in 
ornithology and entertainment. 


O 
Did you read about the 
Special General Meeting ? 
If not, see the Committee 
Notes on page 3. 

o 


BIRD OF THE MONTH 


...Valda Dedman 


Red-browed Finch 


Name Red-browed Finch Neochmia 
temporalis 


Description Greenish-brown above, 
greyish beneath. Conspicuous crimson 
patch over eye and at base of tail.Stout 
red bill. Immature birds are duller and 
browner with no red eyebrow and a 
black beak. 


Length 12 cm. Slightly smaller 
than a sparrow. 


Voice High-pitched tsee tsee 


Food Seeds and small insects. 
Can suck water without having to 
raise head to swallow. Will come to bird 
tables. At the Ocean Grove Nature 
Reserve and at Torquay they have 
been observed extracting seeds from 
casuarina cones. 


Habitat Shrubbery and undergrowth at 
edges of forest and woodlands. 
Suburban parks. Like areas of grass for 
feeding and cover close by. Need water 
(food is dry). 


GEELONG NATURALIST Vol 33.2 


Range Common in Eastern Australia, 
coast to highlands from Cape York to 
Adelaide, including Kangaroo Island 
but not Tasmania. Small introduced 
population in Darling Range, W.A. 


Geelong Common where suitable 
habitat and water.Often seen in small 
to large flocks. Look for them near the 
Barwon River in Highton and Belmont 
and on the golf course at Belmont 
Common, where up to 200 have been 
seen feeding on the fairways.Watch for 
them from the observation hides at the 
Ocean Grove Nature Reserve where 
you may see them coming in to drink. 


‘look for them near the Barwon 
River and on the golf course at 


Belmont Common” 


Nest Flask-shaped with hooded side 
entrance, often in dense thorny bush 
such as Acacia paradoxa. Built of long 
grasses, not woven together.4-5 pure 
white eggs are laid. In the non-breeding 
season flocks build special roosting 
nests in which to spend the night. 


Other Local Related Species 
Beautiful Firetail (Otways), Diamond 
Firetail (You Yangs, Brisbane Ranges), 
Zebra Finch (You Yangs, Brisbane 
Ranges, nomadic) 


Red-browed Finches usually mate for 
life, after a courtship display, in which 
the male stiff-leggedly bobs up and 
down on a branch, with a long piece of 
grass in its beak. 


Belcher in his Birds of Geelong (1914) 

saw these finches in small parties in 

autumn and winter and thought they 

were becoming rare, but now they can 

be seen around Geelong, often in large 
numbers, at almost any time of the 
year. 


Belcher found them very tame at the 
nest: 

“So closely does the bird sit and so 
long is the entrance spout that as 
boys we found it quite easy to catch 
the sitting hen by approaching the 
nest quietly and placing a hand at the 
entrance, when she would fly right into 
it. We probably enjoyed the 
subsequent harmless examination of 
her beautiful little form better than did 
the bird.” 

We don't encourage such treatment 
today, but can still enjoy this lively little 
bird as it forages on the grass or flies 
rapidly to cover. O 


Red-browed Finch 
Photograph by Gordon McCarthy 


GEELONG NATURALIST Vol 33.2 


A DLL 


SWIFT MOTHS 


... Ade Foster 


Autumn, after the first decent rain, is 
the time of the swift moths. Their 
distinctively shaped brown pupal 
cases are often seen at this time of 
year, sticking up from the larval 
tunnel, the only indication most of us 
have that swift moths are about. 
Adults males come readily to lights 
on misty nights, sometimes in 
surprisingly large numbers. 


Swift moths belong to the family, 
Hepialidae, a cosmopolitan group 
with about 100 species represented 
in Australia. Most are endemic, 
although members of the genus 
Aenetus are found in New Zealand, 
New Guinea and New Caledonia. 
Most of the local. swfts are various 
shades of brown with sometimes 
striking markings of black, white and 
silver. Many of the tropical species 
are very brightly coloured in blues, 
greens and pinks. They are a very 
diverse group and my collection has 
specimens ranging in size from 30 
mm to 170 mm. The Splendid Ghost 
moth of northern Australia is one of 
the most spectacular Hepialids with a 
pale blue male, a green and pink 
female and a wingspan of 250 mm! 


Females lay vast numbers of eggs, 
over 20,000 in some species. Eggs 
may be broadcast over grassland 
while the female is in flight, or 
sprinkled over a smaller area as she 
flutters among the grass and low 
shrubs. Larvae of Hepialids are all 
burrowers. Some burrow directly into 
the ground, coming to the surface at 
night to feed on living leaves, others 
are borers into roots and stems of 
plants. Hosts include, eucalypt, 
melaleuca, callistemon, 
leptospermum, acacia and others. 
Some have taken to introduced 
apples and even the canes of 
raspberries. In eastern Australia 
Hepialids may be serious pests of 
pastures. 


Pupation takes place in the tunnel, 
and the pupae, equipped with dorsal 
spines and movable ventral plates, 
are quite mobile. Adults hold the 
wings in a tentlike fashion over the 
abdomen, and have a curious habit 
of hanging from vertical surfaces by 


the tarsal claws of their fore-legs. 
If you are lucky enough to 
encounter a swift moth, you will 
notice just how well those tiny 
claws can grip. 


Reference: Moths of Australia. 
LF.B. Common. Melbourne 
University Press. 1990. 

O 


LIBRARY NOTES 


.. Betty Moore 


The Bird Observer April 1997 
“Birding in the West:” by Simon 
Neviil, an article on endemic 
species of W.A. and where to find 
them. Simon names places to 
visit in south west of W.A. on a 
suggested two week tour. Birds to 
be looked for include Noisy Scrub- 
bird, Western Corella, Western 
Bristlebird, Short and Long-billed 
Black- Cockatoos, Red-tailed 
Black- Cockatoo, Red-capped 
Parrot, Western Rosella and Blue 
Bonnet. 


Fred T.H. Smith of Kew, Victoria 
in “Was it the Weather?“ gives an 
interesting account of the many 
birds seen on a BOCA outing to 
the Western Treatment Plant, 
Werribee. 


Trees and National Resources 
(Natural Resources Conservation 
League of Victoria) March 1997 - 
Interesting articles on Vertebrate 
Pest control, Biological Control of 
Pests and Weeds and Breeding 
Resistance in Eucalypts to 
Insects. 


Habitat Australia (ACF) April 
1997 

“A Winning Place in the World” 
Lincoln Siliakus, ACF councillor 
who in the early 80's represented 
the 1400 Franklin boicades and 
acted for The Wilderness Society 
in the high court case, returned to 
Hobart early last year as lawyer 
with the Environment Defenders 
Office. This article gives his 
impressions of life in Tasmania 15 
years on. 


Special habitat supplement is 
“Protecting our Unprotected Land” 
by Michael Krockenberger and 
Rowena McLean. This article 


7 


deals with the challenges of off- 
reserve conservation. 


Driftwood 

The resurrection of the Coast 
Newsletter for Port Phillip West and 
the Bellarine Peninsula - May 1997. 
There is to be a Winter Seminar 
Series wth a range of expert 
speakers. One location being the 
supper room at Geelong West Town 
Hall, the first Wednesday of every 
month from June to September. 
Subjects include - Indigenous 
Culture on the Coast, Coastal 
Planning and Policies, The Who, 
What, Where and Why of Coastal 
Plants and your Garden. 


See the newsletter for details. 


News is also given of the Swan Bay 
Integrated Catchment Management 


Project. 
O 


An Ironbark Basin Plant 
... Bob Preston 


Acacia verniciflua 
Varnish Wattle 


This plant is the most prominent 
understorey vegetation of the Basin. 


It has a mnipstick appearance, with 
an average height of about 2.5 m. (in 
some areas Of its distribution it can 
reach 5 m.) 


The phyllodes (leaves) vary from 
lanceolate to narrow elliptic 50-90 
mm. long and 5-10 mm. wide, 
having one main or mid-nerve (vein) 
with a secondary nerve in the upper 
section of the phyllode. 


There is one main gland on the 
upper edge near the base of 
phyllode and a peppering of small 
glands spread over the surface 
which is also covered with a sticky- 
looking glaze giving the appearance 
of being varnished. 


The blossoms appear on simple 
peduncles (stalks) from the phyllode 
axils, with one to three in each axil. 
These should open about mid-June. 


Distribution is from the border area 
of Queensland through mid N.S.W., 
eastern Victoria spreading west to 
the Grampians with an offshoot 
about Ballan to the Otways. 


MAY MEETING REPORT 


. . Roy Whiteside 


Report of illustrated talk on "Insects 
for Biological Control" given by 
David McLaren at the General 
meeting on 6 May 1997. 


David is employed by the Keith 
Turnbull Research Institute and the 
work of his organisation is outlined in 
a quarterly magazine. The Institute 
has a quarantine facility which uses 
a specialised building based on the 
Animal Health Laboratory in 
Geelong. Computer-controlled 
environmental conditions enables 
insects to be put through life cycle 
tests and to be contained. 


Biological control involves the 
actions of parasites, predators and 
pathogens to maintain the density of 
particular other organisms at a lower 
level than that which would occur in 
their absence. 


Biological control of weeds is 
required when these weeds are not 
controlled by their natural parasites 
and predators which were present 
overseas and when the use of other 
control methods (eg herbicides) is 
uneconomical. 


Conflicts of interest sometimes occur 
eg. in case of Paterson's Curse 
which is a benefit to apiarists as a 
source of nectar but a great problem 
to the viability of pastures for the 
beef industry. However the economic 
losses to beef industry far exceed 
gains in honey production. 


Stages in a biological control 
programme: 


A weed is first identified and then 
studied in the country of origin with 
regard to its taxonomy, distribution, 
biology and ecology. Insects that are 
doing the most damage and that are 
the most host specific are identified. 
Once considered safe to use, these 
insects are propagated and then 
released. The reduction in the 
‘viability of weeds allows native 
species to out compete the weed 
species and gradually replace them. 


The eradication of Prickly Pear 
cactus represents the best example 


GEELONG NATURALIST Vol 33.2 


of a successful biological control 
where the infestation was so large 
at its peak. After looking at many 
different agents with no success a 
caterpillar species combined with 
a bacterium enabled the plant to 
be demolished. 


Some of projects being worked on 
at the Research Institute include: 


RAGWORT Senecio jacobaea a 
toxic weed which can kill horses 
and cattle. One unsuccessful 
control method was the 
introduction of the Cinnabar Moth 
where the caterpillars of this moth 
were attacked by Scorpion flies. 
Two flea-beetle species have 
been successfully used where the 
larvae kill the plant by eating the 
roots. A small moth whose larvae 
eat leaves and crowns has also 
been successful in controlling 
Ragwort since its release nine 
years ago. 


BLACKBERRY: A Research 
officer spent 5 years in France 
studying this environmental and 
ecological weed. Six species of 
rust fungus were identified which 
attack blackberry plants. Rust 
spores are produced on leaves in 
summer and in autumn the rust 
builds up causing dieback. During 
winter the spores continue and 
attack the plants in the following 
spring causing defoliation. The 
control is less effective in a 
drought year. 


St JOHN'S WORT Chelidonium 


majus is an environmental and 


agricultural weed in Victoria. A 
beetle was introduced in the 
1930s and control has been very 
successful both here and in USA. 
A mite has recently been 
released which stunts the growth 
and gradually produces less 
seeds over a number of years. 


PATERSON'S .CURSE Echium 
lycopsis: This is a big project 
working in conjunction with 
CSIRO. An introduced moth 
whose caterpillars feed on the 
leaves and cause blister like 
lesions only works well in areas 
where the plant grows all year eg. 
in irrigation areas. Two weevil 
species have been introduced 
recently one attacking the crown 
and the other the roots. This has 
been funded by meat and wool 


industries. Two flea-beatle species 
which feed on crown of root and fine 
roots respectively have also had 
some success in controlling the 
weed. A seed beetle has proved to 
greatly damage seeds. 


HOREHOUND: Biological control 
of this wide-spread environmental 
and agricultural weed is achieved by 
the defoliation by larvae of the 
Plume Moth. 


BONESEED Chrysanthemoides 
monolifera: Control is through the 
larvae of the Tip Moth which lays 
eggs on tips of leaves. Control has 
been less successful in Victoria than 
in NSW and Qld. Other parasites 
being investigated are three species 
of beetle (Black Boneseed beetle , 
Painted Beetle and  Blotched 
Boneseed Beetle), a Tortrix moth, a 
South African seed fly. 


VARIEGATED and SPEAR 
THISTLES: Are being controlled by 
weevils which lay eggs in flower 
heads and a species of a Urophora 
fly that produces galls. 

O 


Next month... 


David Cameron will speak on 
Victoria's Rainforests’. 


David is a Senior Botanist with the 
Flora section of DNRE at the Arthur 
Rylah Institute where he is 
responsible for the taxonomical side 
of the department’s database - Flora 
Information System. 


David researched East Gippsland’s 
rainforests for five years and is also 
very familiar with the Otway 
rainforests. He will discuss the 
characteristics of cool temperate, 
warm temperate and dry rainforests 
with emphasis on diseases and other 
management issues of the Otway 
rainforests wth which we are more 
familiar. 


David's presentation will be all the 
more pertinent as he is able to be 
with us on our rainforests excursion 
prior to his talk. 

O 


GEELONG NATURALIST Vol 33.2 


BIODIVERSITY NOTES 


... Ade Foster 


The topic of the meeting was galls, 
the swellings that occur on many 
plants. The twelve members present 
were treated to a fascinating evening. 
About forty different galls collected 
around Geelong, were dissected and 
their many and varied contents 
examined under microscopes. 


Galls are found on many different 
plants in Australia and throughout the 
world. They are caused principally by 
insects, and used as a food source 
and shelter for the larvae. Many 
insects from diverse orders are 
responsible for galls, with beetles 
(Coleoptera), flies and midges 
(Diptera), bugs (Hemiptera), wasps 
(Hymenoptera), moths (Lepidoptera) 
and thrips (Thysanura) all 
represented in Australia. 


By far the commonest cause of galls 
is wasps. Members of the 
superfamily Cynipoidea are 
responsible for galls world-wide, but 
are poorly represented in Australia. 
The niche has been filled by many of 
the Chalcid wasps. They attack 
many native and introduced plants 
including eucalypts, acacias, figs, 
melaleucas and casuarinas, and 
even introduced oaks and 
dandelions. 


Midges from the family 
Cecidomyidae , are responsible for 
galls on several valuable food crops 
including wheat and sorghum. One 
species is successful as a biological 
control agent for St. John's Wort. 
Beetles are well represented with 
species of Buprestidae, (Jewel 
beetles), Cerambycidae, (Longicorn 
beetles), and Curculionidae, 
(Weevils) all forming galls on native 
plants. In Hemiptera, the true bugs, 
gall-formers are found in the 
superfamilies Cocciodea (Scale 
insects and Mealy bugs), Aphidoidea 
(Aphids), Psylloidea (Lerps) and 
Tingoidea (Lace Bugs). Moths are 
represented with numbers of small 
moths from the families 
Incurvaroidae, Gracillariidae, 
Coleophoridae, Cosmopterigidae and 
Alucitidae. Thrips are responsible for 
galls on acacia, callistemon, ficus, 
geijera, melaleuca, myoporuri, and 
pittosporum. 


The actual process of gall 
formation is difficult to determine. 
Some galls form at the time of 
egg-laying and it would seem that 
the adults secrete a substance 
with the egg causing abnormal 
tissue growth. In other cases, 
there is no abnormal tissue 
production until the larvae hatch. 
Here it is thought that the larvae 
produce some substance which is 
responsible for the gall's growth. 
Whatever the process, the adults 
oviposit into usually new tissue on 
the host plant. This tissue is then 
stimulated to grow rapidly, and 
into a form which Is in many cases 
specific to the insect in question. 


Some species of gail wasps are 


not gall forming, but are inquiline — 


in the galls of others. The adults 
seek out new galls formed by 
another species and lay their eggs 
inside. This means that the larvae 
of these wasps are in effect 
parasitic upon the galls produced 
by another species, but without 
Causing harm to the host larvae. 


Galls on certain plants were a 
food source to the aborigines. The 
galls of the eucalypts known as 
bloodwoods, for example, grow 
quite large and are called 
bloodwood apples. The tissue of 
the gall can be eaten, and 
apparently tastes not unlike 
coconut. The larvae were eaten 
raw and were reportedly very 
sweet and much sought after. 


We found at least six different 
larvae in our galls, as well as 
beetles, weevils and evidence of 
parasitic wasps. Other interesting 
specimens included some 
honeycomb from the native black 
bees, collected in northern 
Australia, and a beautiful little 
scarab beetle, called 
Elephasmus, named for its trunk- 
like proboscis. 


The topic of our next meeting is 
fungi. Any-one interested in 
attending should try to collect 
some specimens and make spore 
-prints by leaving the cap on a 
sheet of white paper for a day or 
two. 


Excursions: 
Our next excursion, June 8th, is to 


- Ironbark Basin. Anyone interested in 


attending should notify Ron Mole, 
ph. 5243 4651. This excursion will 
not take place if the weather is bad. 
Meet at Green Grub nursery, 
Waurnvale shopping centre at 
9.00am. 


Our July excursion is to 
Bannockburn Bush. Meet on the 
road reserve at the main entrance to 
Kardinia International College 
(Formerty Morongo) at the top of the 
hill on Ballarat Road, Bell Post Hill at 
9.00 am. 


a 
Rail Trail Planting 
... Dave King 
The working bee originally 


scheduled for early May has now 
been arranged for Sunday, 22nd 
June. Time 10am, at the trail 
crossing of Jetty Road, Drysdale. 


lt is planned to plant trees and 
shrubs along the Rail Trail section 
betweem Jetty Rd. and Curlews. 
Planting: tools will be provided, but a 
spade or mattock might be handy if 
you wish to bring them. Two hours is 
the maximum time to be spent 
planting and then refreshment will be 
provided in the form of a sausage 
sizzle amd hot beverage. 


This is a worthwhile cause so we 
look forward to seeing as many as 
possible of you there, together with 
those from other organisations. 

O 


Birds on Golf Courses 


Valda Dedman advises that the first 
of these surveys is to take place on 
Sunday, June 29th at 10.00am. 


Being a ‘fifth Sunday’, there is 
nothing on the GFNC program. 


To show their interest and 
appreciation for your help the golfers 
are going to put on a sausage sizzle 
at 12.00 noon. 


Location: Barwon Valley Golf Club 
on Belmont Common. If you have 
any queries kindly ring Valda. 

O 


10 


SPECIES LIST 


. . . Rachel Keary 


(Surfcoast Walk track to old Jarosite Mine Site) 


Jarosite Road 


Dicots 

Acacia paradoxa 
Acacia pycnantha 
Acacia verniciflua - 
Acacia vernicillata 
Acrotriche serrulata 
Allocasurina miseraa 
Allocasurina verticillata 
Alyxia buxifolia 
Billardiera scandens 
Cassytha glabella 
Cassytha melantha 
Centaurium erythraea 
Correa relfexa 
Dichondra repens 
Dillwynia sericea 
Drosera pygmaea 
Drosera whittakeri 
Epacris impressa 
Eucalyptus obliqua 
Euc. sp.aff.cypellocarpa 
Euc. sp.aff.goniocalyx 


Eucalyptus tricarpa 
Euchiton involucratus 
Hakea ulicina 

Isopogon ceratophyllus 
Leptospermum continentale 
Leptospermum myrsinoides 
Melaleuca lanceolata 
Olearea ramulosa 

Olearea teretifolia 

Oxalis corniculata 
Pomaderris oraria 

Senecio minimus 

Spyridium vexilliferum 
Stellaria pungens 

Viola hereracea 


Monocots 

Burchardia umbellata 
Denthonia setacea 
Dianella revoluta 
Dichelachne crinata 
Gahnia radula 

Juncus procerus 
Lepidosperma filiforme 
Lepidosperma laterale 
Patersonii fragilis 
Pinus radiata 

Poa sp. 

Pteridium esculentum 
Schoenus breviculmis 


Birds 

Rufous Bristlebird 
Peregrene Falcon 
Superb Fairy-wren 
Brown-headed Honeyeater 
Crescent Honeyeater 
New Holland Honeyeater 
White-eared Honeyeater 
White-naped Honeyeater 
Yellow-faced Honeyeater 
Red-rumped Parrot 
Eastern Yellow Robin 
Brown Thornbill 

Red Wattlebird 

Silvereye 


Hedge Wattle 

Golden Wattle 
Varnish Wattle 
Prickly Moses 
Honeypots 

Dwarf She-oak 
Drooping She-oak 
Sea Box 

Common Appleberry 
Slender Dodder-laurel 
Coarse Dodder-laurel 
Common Centaury 
Common Correa 
Kidney Weed 

Showy Parrot-pea 
Tiny Sundew 

Scented Sundew 
Common Heath 
Messmate Stringybark 


with affinity also to Anglesea 
Stumpy Grey-gum 

Red Ironbark 

Star Ironbark 

Furze Hakea 

Horny Cone-bush 

Prickly Tea-tree 

Heath Tea-tree 

Moonah 

Twiggy Daisy-bush 

Cypress Daisy-bush 

Yellow Woodsorrel 

Coast Pomaderris 

Fireweed 

Winged Spyridium 

Prickly Starwort 

Ivy-leaf Violet 


Milkmaids 

Bristly Wallaby-grass 
Black-anther Flax-lily 
Long-hair Plume-grass 
Thatch Saw-sedge 
Rush 

Common Rapier-sedge 
Variable Sword-sedge 
Short Purple-flag 
Monterey Pine 
Tussock Grass 

Austral Bracken 
Matted Bog-rush 


GEELONG NATURALIST Vol 33.2 


a 


.lronbark Basin: 


Dicots 
Acacia dealbata 


Chrysanthemoides monilifera 


Correa reflexa 

Daviesia brevifolia 

Lasiopetalum baueri 

Olearea lirata 

Olearea pannosa 
ssp.cadiophylla 

Prostanthera nivea 


Thomasia petalocalyx 


Monocots 

Pterostylis longifolia 
Themeda triandra 
Xanthorrhoea australis 


Silver Wattle 

Boneseed (removed) 

Common Correa (green) 

Leafless Bitter-pea 

Slender Velvet-bush 

Snowy Daisy-bush 

Velvet Daisy-bush 

(Pt Addis Road) 

Snowy Mint-bush (Pt Addis 
Road) 

Paper-flower 


Tall Greenhood 
Kangaroo Grass 
Austral Grasstree 


Birds 

Rufous Bristlebird 
Peregrene Falcon 

New Holland Honeyeater 
White-eared Honeyeater 
White-naped Honeyeater 
Pardalote sp. 

Crimson Rosella 
Eastern Spinebill 

Golden Whistler 

Striated Thornbill 


Joyous Sighting 
At the dam in Ironbark Basin during our May 
excursion: 


. .. Nola Haines ' 


Eastern Spinebill Acanthorhynchus tenuirostris 


The Eastern Spinebill is a truly handsome bird. This small 
active honeyeater, with black aw-like bill and red eye, 
showing glorious plumage colours of shiny black, white and 
rufous, rushes about with noisy wing whirr foraging within a 
metre or two of the ground - a joy to behold. 


The female differs in colouration with a crown of satin grey. 
Lifespan is up to seven years. 


Feeding in the shrubberies of eastern Australia and 
Tasmania, mainly on the flowers of correa, banksia, 
billardiera and eucalypts, the Eastern Spinebill has a long, 
protrusible, almost tubular tongue tipped with short 
serrations, better fitted for licking and capillary flow than 
brushing. While primarily a nectar feeder the adult does eat 


some insects. The young eat insects almost exclusively for 
protein. 


Breeding August to March, the nest is a cup of grasses and 
plant fibre, 1-5 m. above ground in a bushy shrub or tree. 
Eggs are buff-pink with red-brown spots towards larger end. 


An early common name for this bird is Cobbler's Am. 


Refs: Readers Digest, Complete Book of Australian Birds 
Every Australian Bird Illustrated 
O 


GEELONG NATURALIST Vol 33.2 jal 


BIRD OBSERVATION REPORTS May 1997 -- compiled by Barry Lingham. 


Observations were submitted by Polly Cutcliffe (PCu), Ray Baverstock (RBa), Bob Preston (RP), Gordon McCarthy (GMc), Craig 
Morley (CMo), Kevin Ryan (KRy), Valda Dedman (VWD), Barry Lingham (BL), Ron Mole (RMo), Rachel Keary (RK), Penny Smith 
(PS), David King (DK), Joe Hubbard (JH), Kay Campbell (KC), Nola Haines (NH), Frank Scheelings (FS), Bev McNay (BMc), Laurie 
Drinnan (LD), Kevin Price (KP), Rolf Baldwin (RBal) 


Darter 1female 22/05/97 Barwon River. Shannon Av. Bridge . KC 
White-faced Heron 2 4/05/97 Portarlington. Urban garden. DK 
Cattle Egret 2+ 18/05/97 Bellarine Highway, east of Wallington Road CMo 
Little Egret 2 17/05/97 Queenscliff Jetty KC 

3 25/05/97 Avalon Saltworks KC 
Ibis species many May Geelong region generally. Return after autumn rain. VWD 
Mallard Duck 12 12/05/97 Balyang Sanctuary RBa 
Maned Duck 50+ 28/04/97 Stonehaven on farm dam. RBa 
Brown Goshawk 2 14/05/97 Newtown JHu 

1 22/05/97 Newtown JHu 
Little Eagle 1 5/05/97 Highton FS 

1 5/04/97 Portarlington Reserves DK 

1 28/04/97 Ocean Grove Nature Reserve DK 

1 9/05/97 Werribee Treatment Farm. CMo 

1 27/05/97 Pollocksford PCu 
Spotless Crake 1 30/03/97 Jerringot CMo 
Masked Lapwing 35 30/03/97 Jerringot CMo 
Banded Lapwing 22 17/05/97 Stonehaven near Hamilton Highway. GMc 

22 27/05/97 Stonehaven near Hamilton Highway. PCu 
Black-fronted Plover 8+ 30/03/97 Jerringot CMo 
Mongolian Plover - 2 27/04/97 Mud Island. Part of Friends Group trip. NH, NH,PCu 
Hooded Plover 2 15/05/97 Breamlea Creek Mouth JHu 
Double-banded Plover 30+ 15/05/97 Breamlea Creek Mouth JHu 
Red-capped Plover many 15/05/97 Breamlea Creek Mouth JHu 
Red-necked Stint 3 15/05/97 Breamlea Creek Mouth JHu 
Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo 3 18/04/97 Regent Street playground. In Pinus radiata BMc 

40+ 25/05/97 Highton. Flying NE. RMo 

60+ 26/05/97 Highton. Flying NE at 9:30am. Others heard at 1:45 pm. RBa 

40 26/05/97 Stan Lewis Walk . Flying towards Queens Park11:30 am RBa 

12 7 & 9/4/97 Highton. PS 

50+ 4/05/97 Highton. Flying towards coast after thunderstorm PS 

2 23/05/97 Newtown LD 

2 8/04/97 Wallington. Grubb Road. First sighting here. KP 

5 5/05/97 Highton. Flying NNW at 1:45 pm. 

Other sightings on 3rd, 8th & 14th VWD 
20 - 40 May Leopold. Only two at beginning, but now up to 40. 
(L. Connors) VWD 

Gang-gang Cockatoo 2 9/04/97 Highton PS 

3 22/04/97 Newtown. "The Heights" PS 

20+ 26/04/97 Highton. Helena Street RBa 

10 13/05/97 Highton. North Valley Road. VWD 
Sulphur-crested Cockatoo 3 28/03/97 Newtown. "The Heights" CMo 
Musk Lorikeet 4 17/05/97 Newtown CMo 
Purple-crowned Lorikeet 2to4 Mid May Newtown CMo 
Little Lorikeet 12 2/05/97 Highton. Helena Street RBa 
Crimson Rosella 2 Mid May Newtown CMo 
Red-rumped Parrots 29 14/05/97 Freshwater Creek GMc 
Powerful Owl 2 27/05/97 Brisbane Ranges. Pair in tree. Male eating a rabbit. KC, NH 
Tawny Frogmouth 1 19/05/97 Eastern Park. Immature bird, Roadkill. CMo 
Welcome Swallow 25 30/03/97 Barwon River. Merawarp Road CMo 
Skylark 2+ 19/05/97 Breakwater. KC 
Bassian Thrush 1 6/05/97 Ironbark Basin JHu 
Blackbird 1 12/05/97 Botanic Gardens. White cap and white rump. RMo 
Song Thrush 1 11/05/97 Newtown. KR 

1 9/04/97 Highton. PS 
Flame Robin 1 11/05/97 Belmont. Fairbrae Avenue. GMc 

1 27/04/97 Mud Islands. NH, PCu 
Golden Whistler 1 28/03/97 Newtown. CMo 
Restless Flycatcher 1 19/04/97 Pollocksford VWD 
White-plumed Honeyeater 2 17/05/97 Highton. Helena Street. RBa 

1 17/05/97 Newtown CMo 


(Continued on pagel 2) 


12 


GEELONG NATURALIST Vol 33.2 


(Continued from page 11) 


White-naped Honeyeater 1 
Grey Fantail 1 

1 

2 
Little Grassbird 1 
Yellow-rumped Thornbill 2 
Yellow Thornbill 10+ 
Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater 1 
Yellow-faced Honeyeater 15 

8+10 
Honeyeaters - general Many 
White-naped Honeyeater 1 
New Holland Honeyeater 1 
Eastern Spinebill 4 

1 

2 
Mistletoebird 2 
Spotted Pardalote 2 
Striated Pardalote 1 
Silvereye 15 
Australian Magpie-lark 40+ 
Grey Butcher-bird 2 
Australian Magpie 4 

10 
Pied Currawong 5+ 

30 

1 
Grey Currawong 1 
Australian Raven . 1 


Notes on the observations 
... Barry Lingham 


The Australian Raven, seen by Craig 
Morley, is an uncommon visitor to 
urban Geelong but it can be easily 
mistaken for the more common Little 
Raven. 


The Australian Raven has a deeper 
call of ‘Ark ark arrrrk’ slowy fading 
away. It also has distinctive long 
throat hackles. Keep an eye out for 
the Australian Ravens. 


Pardalotes are common in our 
gardens but find it difficult to find 
suitable nesting sites. They will use 
tree hollows, sand banks, compost 
heaps. and even hanging plant 
baskets. It is interesting to note the 
nesting of pardalotes in a nest box. 
Perhaps we could encourage these 
delightful little birds to our gardens by 
the provision of suitable nest boxes. 


It is coming on to winter and many 
_ birds are now establishing territories 
for spring nesting. Watch their 
behaviour and note calls, 
aggressiveness etc in your records. 


O 


18/05/97 Breakwater gardens KC 
23/04/97 Highton. North Valley Road. Also on 26/4 and 1/5 VWD 
12/04/97 Moorabool Street in the City CMo 
10/05/97 Highton. Helena Street. RBa 
30/03/97 Jerringot CMo 
18/05/97 Belmont. KC 
29/04/97 Highton. Helena Street RBa 
13/05/97 Belmont. Oberon Drive. RP 
9/04/97 Newtown. CMo 
9/04/97 Austin Park. Two flocks. CMo 
26/04/97 Anglesea (small swamp). Crescent,White-eared, 

White-naped,White-plumed, Eastern Spinebills FS 
18/05/97 Breakwater gardens KC 
April Belmont. Kyle Avenue. White specimen RBal 
18/05/97 Newtown KRy 
24/05/97 Newtown CMo 
17/05/97 Highton. Helena Street. Feeding in Swamp Mallet RBa 
22/05/97 Newtown. In street trees. JHu 
April Wallington. Grubb Road. Nesting in a nest box. KP 
23/04/97 Highton. Helena Street. RBa 
24/05/97 Newtown CMo 
13/05/97 Breakwater Road. BL 
27/05/97 Barwon Valley Golf Course. (Karen Robbins) VWD 
20/05/97 Highton. Helena Street. Territorial disputes occurring RBa 
15/05/97 Belmont. Oberon Drive. Territorial disputes. RP 
28/03/97 Newtown. CMo 
19/05/97 Newtown. KRy 
24/05/97 Kardinia Park. CMo 
March-April Newtown. Seen from 23/3 to 12/4. CMo 
26/03/97 Newtown. Bird calling in hunched position. 

Throat hackles obvious. CMo 

Le 
Editor's notes... Birds ain't birds... 
In an effort to streamline the As Charles Dickens once said, ‘put 


recording of observations both for the 
magazine and the club database, the 
editor almost lost these last two 
pages. Barry Lingham had been 
reluctant to entrust his notes to the 
new process, but luckily, all was not 
lost and at the last moment he was 
persuaded to write them up. As you 
saw, they were most interesting and 
not to be missed. 


Marilyn Hewish has suggested that 
the telephone numbers of group 
conveners be printed to make 
member contact easier and that her 
number be given for members 
wishing to submit articles in the 
Geelong Bird Report. The inside rear 
cover will now carry this information. 


Thank you for the suggestions 
Marilyn. | am looking at the third one. 


Did members notice that you 
are being invited to two 
sausage sizzles this month? 
See page 9. 


the case’ that you are walking along 
Hovell’s Creek and on the edge you 
observe two large birds so close as to 
be almost touching. “A pair’, you say. 
Both have white bodies and long black 
bills. They are water birds, but that is 
where the similarities end. 


One is, not to put it too bluntly, 
shabby. His black looks like a coat of 
paint after about ten years. As for his 
white, he looks like a footballer who 
has played a game in the pouring rain. 
He is an Ibis. 


The other, in contrast, looks as though 
he has dressed up for a wedding. 
That long flattened bill is jet black and 
looks so fresh that you wonder how he 
can keep it that way while feeding on 
the muddy bottom. His white feathers 
are incredibly white. No soap powder 
could achieve this result. The only 
description is vivid white and in the 
bright sunlight they seem to have a 
sheen. This magnificent bird is the 
Royal Spoonbill and aptly named. 


No, birds ain't birds. 


GFNC OFFICE BEARERS (1997-1998) 


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Vice-President Barry Lingham 5255 4291 
Secretary Valda Dedman 5243 2374 
Treasurer Ray Baverstock 5243 7025 


Immediate Past PresidentClaire McCormick 5243 7047 
Committee Member Madeline Glynn 5248 6332 


E 5 Peter Hackett 5229 4642 
“ a Diana Primrose 5250 1811 
E y Graeme Tribe - 5255 2302 
E s Donna Wood 5221 2956 
Honorary Librarian Betty Moore 5288 7220 
Editor Alban Lloyd-Jones 5243 3704 


SPECIAL INTEREST GROUP CONVENERS and GEELONG BIRD REPORT EDITOR 


Biodiversity Group Ade Foster = 5243 9478 
Bird Group Barry Lingham 5255 4291 
Plant Group Dick Southcombe 5243 3916 


Geelong Bird Report Marilyn Hewish (Pri) 03 5367 3196 


DISCLAIMER 


Responsibility for the accuracy of information and opinions expressed in this magazine 
rests with the author of the article. ‘Geelong Naturalist’ may be quoted without 
permission provided that acknowledgement of the club and the author is made. 


Geelong Field Naturalists Club Inc. 


ROSTER 
LIBRARY SUPPER HALL 


Valerie Lloyd-Jones Noreen Arthur Bob Preston 
Edna Harris Dick Southcombe 


Lorraine Preston Betty Quirk Bob Preston 
Betty King Ron Mole 


Front cover artwork by Fay Wray. 


GEELONG FIELD NATURALISTS CLUB Inc. 
PO Box 1047 
Geelong Vic 3213 


Printed by Ken Jenkin. 


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