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Weather Forecast

Iuk Eel Season [Mar]

Hot winds cease and temperatures cool.  Iuk (eels) are fat and ready to harvest.

Binap (Manna Gum) is flowering.

Days and nights are of equal length.

Lo-An Tuka, the Hunter, is the star Canopus, seen almost due south at sunset.

Seven Seasons of the Kulin People

Artist - Karina H McInnes
Source - Museum Victoria

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Western Port Welcomes Waterbirds

Published: Coastline - Winter Edition 2010
Author: Birgita Hansen - Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research

Western Port Welcomes Waterbirds is a joint project involving the Central Coastal Board (CCB), the Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research (Department of Sustainability and Environment) and Bird Observation and Conservation Australia (BOCA). Funded by the Australian government under the Caring for Our Country program, it aims to provide information on the key high tide waterbird roosts and feeding areas in Western Port and the threats operating at those sites, including potential impacts from climate change. The project will make recommendations for improved management of habitats and undertake some small scale site works with the land managers.

Why Western Port?

Western Port is an area with considerable biodiversity value and is one of the three most important sites in Victoria for waterbirds in that it regularly supports over 10,000 waterfowl and over 10,000 shorebirds from 37 species. This includes over 5 per cent of the Victorian population of eight species of migratory shorebird. Western Port is recognised as a wetland of international significance for migratory shorebirds, which is reflected in its listing under the Ramsar Convention (1971), and its inclusion in the East Asian–Australasian Shorebird Site Network. Western Port is also used for recreation activities, industry and farming of the surrounding catchment, which can place pressure on the biodiversity resources and ecological function of the Bay.

Since commencement of the project in May 2009, BOCA (joined by staff from ARI) have completed a winter and two summer shorebird counts. These counts form part of the Western Port survey that commenced in 1973 and is one of the longest of its kind in Australia involving scientists and the community. This long-term data set has enabled the assessment of population trends of a number of waterbird species.

A few species, for example, the pied oystercatcher and red-necked stint, have shown gradual increases over time; however, many more species have experienced declines, some quite marked. In particular, fish-eating birds (such as cormorants) and the majority of arctic migrants have experienced declines, especially during the past 12 drought years. Changes to fish stocks, seagrass beds and regional rainfall all appear to relate to changes in waterbird populations in the Bay.

In combination with field surveys, mapping of important waterbird areas is being undertaken to determine which are at risk from projected sea level rises.  Data from DSE’s Future Coasts program are being combined with maps of habitat, bathymetry and shorebird count areas to make an assessment of potential habitat losses due to inundation and storm surges.

Deakin University was contracted to undertake a social survey over Easter this year. It used four popular destinations to interview people about their attitudes and perceptions of waterbird conservation and management in Western Port. This information will inform the next stage of the project on communications to encourage people to help protect waterbirds and manage specific sites.

At the commencement of the Western Port Welcomes Waterbirds project, the CCB held meetings in Hastings and at the Phillip Island Nature Park to provide information to the local community and stakeholders; a project update will be provided. Similar meetings are scheduled for July.

More information will be available in the Central Coastal Board newsletter and on its website at closer to the date.


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To amuse you ...


Whale Watch

There are many whales seen in our area but few sightings are formally recorded - so there is no evidence of these. So, if you see a whale, please:

- Take a photo and/or note the fin and tail shape, plus any markings

- Note the time/day/location

Then e-mail this info to our local Whale Watcher by This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

    Our Hoodies

    Hooded PloversWe have two valuable Hooded Plover breeding sites at Undertow Bay and 2nd Surf Beach.  Hoodies are endangered species with breeding success currently very low.  To protect them you must:

      - Read and follow signage

      - Only observe them from a distance of 80-100m

      - Keep your dog on a lead and well away from the birds.

          To find out more about our Hoodies, click here