Warmer weather brings hope for hoodies


Our much-loved Hooded Plovers have been busy with nests located at Point Impossible, Point Roadknight and Moggs Creek, all with three eggs.

The vulnerable beach-nesting shorebirds have one of the lowest survival rates of any species with only 1 in every 100 chicks reaching flying age. Read more

Hoodies! A poem


Hoodies!

A poem by Ellinor and David Campbell

Photo: BirdLife Australia
Photo: BirdLife Australia

Hey, look at me, I’ve just been born with siblings two and three,

and life looks pretty good at Moggs, with miles of sand and sea.

But tragedy has struck us all, for we have lost our dad

while fighting off a savage fox, so we are very sad.

Now mum has said we must move on, to find a safer place…

my little legs get tired so fast, I can’t keep up the pace!

At last we’re there and we can hide beneath our mum’s warm breast.

We cuddle up, as warm as toast, until the next big test.

There’s people walking past our home right through each long, hot day,

and it’s our hope that all of them will keep quite far away,

especially the ones with dogs, for they run very fast,

so we must hide as best we can until the danger’s passed.

But strangely, there are other folk who put on yellow vests,

and watch us closely all the time…they’ve even made us nests!

However I now realise they’re here to lend a hand,

and keep our home secure and safe…they seem to understand.

They talk to people with their dogs and ask them to walk by

with dogs on leash, down near the sea, and try to tell them why.

That gives us time to eat our fill, for we need lots of food,

and so it’s great when passers-by respect our little brood.

We simply need to have some space, and want them to take care,

so we may have a chance to fly, to make our way out there.

Some other things that frighten us are gulls and bikes and balls,

and fun runs which can make our beach a bit like shopping malls!

We’re growing bigger with each day and so we need to roam

along the beach to find some food that’s far away from home.

Our wardens don’t know where we are, and they get quite upset

while searching for us here and there, but we play hard to get!

And sometimes other hoodies come and try to interfere,

but our brave mum soon scares them off…she won’t let strangers near!

We’re getting big, our feathers grow, we stretch our wings and run,

for life is looking pretty good, with sand and surf and sun.

But nights are scary and that fox is not too far away…

that’s how my brother lost his life, and so we dare not stray.

It prowled around the next night too, but mum is very smart…

she made us hide away from her, and kept us well apart.

It worked so well the fox was fooled, our guardians were too…

they hunted high and low for us, and didn’t have a clue

that we were safe, but when they knew there was so much relief

that we were very much alive and hadn’t come to grief.

Each day we need to feed so much, and run along the beach,

while mum still watches over us…she’s had so much to teach!

But often she will leave us now, although the wardens stay

to watch us run and flap our wings…we’d love to be away!

And now, at last, it’s time to go, for both of us can fly

above the people, sand, and dogs, we’re taking to the sky.

We’re off to roam both near and far, way over land and sea,

so thank you, thank you, one and all…you’ve helped us to be free!

It is important that all beachgoers keep their distance from hoodie breeding zones and ‘give them space’.

Not sure where the hoodies breed? Click here to find out.

Hope for Orchid survival


The vulnerable Swamp Diuris orchid has a brighter future thanks to a fungus-focused regeneration program led by the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne and Jan Juc Coast Action (JJCA).

The process has involved Royal Botanic Gardens Orchid Conservation Officer Neil Anderton, with assistance from JJCA volunteers, taking small root samples of the orchid which is growing at Bird Rock, Jan Juc.

JJCA volunteers Roma Edwards, Tom Elford, and Ian Edwards with Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC) Conservation Supervisor Georgie Beale (second from left) observe Orchid Conservation Volunteer Neil Anderton as he safely removes a root sample.
JJCA volunteers Roma Edwards, Tom Elford, and Ian Edwards with Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC) Conservation Supervisor Georgie Beale (second from left) observe Orchid Conservation Volunteer Neil Anderton as he safely removes a root sample.

Mr. Anderton said taking the root samples was the first of many steps in the process, which would hopefully result in the production of precious orchid seedlings.

“This is a non-destructive method which means the plant usually continues to grow as it would before the procedure,” he said.

After the roots were removed from the plants’ stems using sterilized equipment, Mr. Anderton worked with Nursery Technician Chris Jenek to extract crucial fungi which will be used to create healthy, thriving Swamp Diurus seedlings for future planting.

The exposed roots of the Swamp Diurus orchid. Neil removed the healthy root growing on the left side to for the fungi extraction.
The exposed roots of the Swamp Diurus orchid. Neil removed the healthy root growing on the left side to for the fungi extraction.

Neil Anderton said land clearance was a major contributor in the dwindling orchid species population, with very few Swamp Diurus communities remaining.

“I have assessed the area and estimate there are around 50 plants flowering or in bud at BirdRock presently.

“There are Swamp Diurus populations inland near St Arnaud, Stawell and Nhill, and further west from Port Campbell.

“However, land clearance has reduced the species range dramatically, meaning it is now listed as vulnerable in Victoria,” he said.

The beautiful Swamp Diurus orchid is listed as vulnerable in Victoria with one of the few communities remaining in Jan Juc.
The beautiful Swamp Diurus orchid is listed as vulnerable in Victoria with one of the few communities remaining in Jan Juc.

JJCA Volunteer Ian Edwards attended the Swamp Diurus recovery day, helping Mr. Anderton collect the fungi samples.

“We hope to learn more about the Swamp Diurus plant and how we can help protect it for future generations,” he said.

Jan Juc Coast Volunteers Tom Elford (left) and Ian Edwards share their conservation beliefs at the orchid-recovery day.
Jan Juc Coast Volunteers Tom Elford (left) and Ian Edwards share their conservation beliefs at the orchid-recovery day.

Mr Edwards, a long-term member of JJCA since 1994, said land degradation had resulted in severe impacts on the indigenous floral population, as had introduced species.

“From 1860 onwards, sheep and cattle grazed on the fragile land for about 100 years.

“Plants brought in from other countries and even other parts of Australia have also severely impacted on native species.

“Weed seedlings have spread to local land where they compete for survival with (often weaker) indigenous species, gradually killing them,” he said.

Neil Anderton of the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne takes all the necessary precautions, ensuring the Swamp Diurus has the best chance of survival.
Neil Anderton of the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne takes all the necessary precautions, ensuring the Swamp Diurus has the best chance of survival.

If you would like support the JJCA’s environmental work, contact Luke Hynes on 0406 113 438 or click here for more information on other groups operating in our region.