Page 20 - Ocean Grove Voice, June 16-29, 2010
Birds of a different kind flock together THIS week's Nature Watch concerns the 'Straw Necked Ibis' and the 'Australian White Ibis'. Both species of Ibis are prominent in Ocean Grove. I just thought that it was curious that in observing flocks of Ibis there seemed to be intermingling between both species, which seemed unusual to me, but after reading about the birds, intermingling is common! I've written about the Australian White Ibis previously. It is a large bird (up to 75 cms long) with a bald
black head and neck, and a long curved black beak. The Australian White Ibis is found throughout most of Australia in all but the driest habitats. They haven't found their way to Tasmania yet, as they haven't thought to hitch a ride on the ferry. They live in swamps, lagoons, grasslands, urban parks and gardens. In some areas this breed of Ibis is considered to be a pest because they forage in rubbish and can be quite smelly, in fact in some areas of Sydney they have been culled! The Australian White Ibis population living at Healesville Sanctuary were
relocated to Sale in Victoria because they were pinching sandwiches out of people's hands, but they returned in a few days. Just goes to show that you can't keep a good Ibis down for too long! The Straw-necked Ibis is also found throughout Australia. They are large birds, growing to 75 cms in length. They have dark wings that are multicoloured in the sunlight, a bit like a mother of pearl sheen. Their feathers are quite beautiful. They have a dark coloured back and collar. Most of the neck is white, as are the underparts and under-tail. They have a long, black, downcurved bill, and their legs are usually red near the top and dark grey toward the feet.
The adults have straw-like feathers on the neck which give the bird its name. The Straw Necked Ibis is found in most areas of Australia plus parts of Tasmania, so either they are stronger fliers compared to the Australian White Ibis to have negotiated the Bass Strait, or they did manage to hitch a ride on the ferry one night! This breed of Ibis is not found in heavily populated urban areas, and they inhabit shallow freshwater wetlands, cultivated pastures, edges of swamps and lagoons, and wet or dry grasslands. I've seen them frequently at Oakdene, so they are very discerning! They are nomadic in that they move around to different areas to source food. Especially in the summer they can be seen flying around for hours in large flocks, circling Ocean Grove.
They do not scavenge for food compared to the Australian White Ibis. Their more conventional diet consists of insects, molluscs, frogs, grasshoppers, crickets, locusts, lizards and other small reptiles. They are often called the Farmer's Friend because they feed on pests that would otherwise eat farm crops. It's nice to know that the Straw Necked Ibis won't be culled as they are actually useful to humans! Both breeds of Ibis roost in trees. They look quite magnificent when they are balancing at the top of trees. looking down on us mere mortals. They build nests in trees and in the reeds around wetlands, and tend to breed in the same habitat year after year. It is common for both species of Ibis to be living together in the one colony. I wonder if they interbreed or if they just mate with the same species. Very interesting. By Jennifer Carr
We conserve, present and enhance the natural & developed coastal environs for the enjoyment and use of all
Barwon Coast your local coastal foreshore manager has the responsibility for the management of 13km of coastal crown land from Collendina to Blue Rocks including our beautiful beaches in Ocean Grove, Barwon Heads and 13th Beach. We are also the manager of the Port of Barwon Heads and operate two large coastal caravan parks – Barwon Heads Caravan Park and the Riverview Family Caravan Park, Ocean Grove plus the Riverside Camping area. Award finalists At the recent Victoria Coastal Awards our Community Connections education program was a finalist in the Education category won by Phillip Island Nature Parks - Coastal Ambassadors Program. Pleasingly we have just received advice that the Ocean Grove Beach has been selected as a finalist in the Keep Australia Beautiful Victorian Clean Beaches Awards – Friendly beach category, focussing on the Disabled Surfers Association use of the all abilities ramp that enables the aquatic wheelchairs to gain beach access for their events. Centre Toilet Block, Ocean Grove Barwon Coast has commenced its largest ever self funded project with the redevelopment of the Ocean Grove Main Beach amenity block. This project is the last major component of the Ocean Grove Main beach redevelopment project commenced a decade ago. (see below) A tender from local builders Burchell Constructions P/L has been accepted with completion within 100 working days ie before the 2010/11 summer. The overall project cost including demolition and relocation of services will be close to $1million funded thru the successful operations of our two major caravan parks in Barwon Heads and Ocean Grove. No contribution from the local community, nor the municipality is required to deliver this substantial infrastructure development that will serve the growing population of Ocean Grove and increasing numbers of visitors. The existing amenity block constructed in 1978 has been demolished and will be replaced with a new facility on a smaller footprint using environmentally sustainable products and reduced energy inputs. Best practice building design standards will be applied in regard to water and energy conservation. For example rainwater will be collected and stored in a 100,000 litre underground tank and should provide for 70% of the peak season water used for toilet flushing. The building design aims to maximise the natural lighting of the internal areas whilst providing facilities in line with current numbers. The immediate area around the building will be lowered and the building moved inland by over 5 metres.
The new building being set lower in the landscape will be of a reduced impact on the environment through its design and specification parameters as well as its repositioned siting. Although Barwon Coast and the builders will work together to minimise the interruptions to beach users during the construction period, there will obviously be some inconvenience for a period of up to 6 months. Three temporary toilets have been located adjacent to the construction site. A decade of redevelopment at Ocean Grove beach The initial major component of the project was the relocation of the Surf Beach Road back from the centre of the coastal reserve to the very rear of the reserve linking up to Presidents Ave and the Ocean Grove – Barwon Heads Rd Having moved the road to the back of the reserve , Barwon Coast then redeveloped all the car parking facilities thereby ensuring that all car parks were on the ocean side of the road reducing previous safety concerns of beach goes having to cross the road. The car parks developed include a range of grassed areas to be used as overflow car parks in summer, this design reducing the bitumen footprint in the area. These works were followed by the development of the extensive mounding and vegetation planting delivering the current soft visual aspect of the redevelopment In the past 2 years a $1.2m investment in replacing the seawall and promenade as a joint funded project with the State Government has ensured the ongoing access to the main beach and protection of the Surf Beach complex including the Ocean Grove Surf Life Saving Club. Barwon Coast has funded the construction of an access ramp onto the beach to ensure access is available to people of all abilities and as consequence of such access the Disabled Surfers Association has run several beach events drawing hundreds of participants and supporters. I encourage you to contact me to discuss any issues related to coastal management in our region by phoning me on 5254 1371 Bob Jordan General Manager Barwon Coast, Ewing Blyth Drive, Barwon Heads firstname.lastname@example.org
Ocean Grove Voice newspaper