Otway Coast Committee

Committed to Sustainable Management

8th Jan. 2013 - Skenes Creek to Wild Dog Coastal Path Update, Black Witch I or II?, Hooded Plovers

Skenes Creek to Wild Dog Coastal Path Update

Prior to the last State government election our local member Terry Mulder offered $40,000 toward the cost of developing detailed design and construction drawings to be developed

By the end of January the OCC will have awarded the tender for that work to be completed. The work will also involve the development of an opinion on price to construct the path. This will allow for funding applications to be made with a level of certainty about the total funds required.

The OCC has begun investigating opportunities for funding and will pursue them more vigorously during this year.

Black Witch I or II?

Thank you to Heather Frost for reporting the emergence of the remains of the Black Witch in the shallows opposite the Visitor Information Centre.

Everyone should be aware that the wreck has sharp metal rising from the sand and is located in the breaking wave zone.

Signs have been installed on the beach indicating the area to be avoided.

After checking the Victorian ship wreck register and talking to locals it would appear the wreck is of the Black Witch II which was blown ashore in 1958 in a easterly gale after the Black Witch I was lost in the harbour four years earlier in similar weather.

Hooded Plovers

It is great to report that the two chicks at Wild Dog Creek are doing very well and should have fledged by now, i.e. begun to fly. Once they can fly their chance of survival to adulthood is greatly improved.

To help the Hoodies the OCC have installed fencing and signage to alert beach users that vulnerable birds are nesting nearby.  Everyone is asked to follow the signage directions, i.e.

• Don't enter fenced areas;

• Keep dogs on leads at all times;

• Walk at the water's edge;

• Do not stop when near fenced areas.

Hoodies are easily disturbed when incubating eggs and will leave the nest when people, dogs and other threats come within 70-100m of the nest; and will stay off the nest until the threat is gone.  Eggs can easily fail when it is too hot or too cold.

Similarly chicks will hide and not eat for extended periods if people are within 100-150 metres; the result is they can easily starve to death.  Unlike many chicks they are not fed by their parents but must find their own food to enable their phenomenal growth during their path to fledging.

That is why to give Hoodies the best chance possible we ask people to keep clear and don't stop in the vicinity of nest sites.