King Quail - French Island (Vict.)

Subject: King Quail - French Island (Vict.)
Date: Mon, 10 Apr 2006 09:20:27 +1000
Another interesting and successful day on French island Western Port Bay 
Victoria for the monthly Friends of French Island trip to the island.

Strong southerly winds made for an interesting boat trip from Stony Point 
to Tankerton but this also meant we were fortunate enough to see a flock 
of Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoos flying low into the wind over Tankerton 
after we alighted from the ferry.

Assisted by Parks Victoria ranger Aaron Ledden, the Friends of French 
Island (FoFI) monthly activity for Saturday (8 April 2006) was to 
- check coastal native vegetation at The Anchorage (sw corner of the 
island near Tortoise Head), and
- do some preliminary checking of potential sites for the FoFI King Quail 
hunt in May.

The was little birdlife on the coast at The Anchorage (tide was well out 
in the middle of the day) but the group spent some time early in the day 
checking the north western part of the island for King Quail sites and 
other fauna.

Along Link Road the group stopped at a drainage line where King Quail had 
been detected in recent years.  The area had been burnt to encourage 
habitat thought to be suitable for quail.  We had not gone far into this 
low heathy habitat when 5 King Quail were flushed.  They appeared to be mostly 
males.  Later attempts to flush 
the quail were unsuccessful but we heard male King Quail calling 
('crowing') from where some of them had landed (much higher, heathy 
habitat about 30m away).  Tawny-crowned Honeyeaters were also observed at this 
site.  These honeyeaters have been 
infrequently recorded on the island in recent years and Aaron was pleased 
some had been detected.

This will be one of the areas FoFI will check in the May trip which is 
specifically to search for King Quail.

After checking Link Rd., we moved onto The Anchorage on the south coast of 
the island.  While being driven to the site Aaron picked up a flock of 13 Cape 
Barren Geese on a farm dam near the road.  This was the largest group of geese 
he had 
observed on French Island.  Aaron also mentioned recently seeing Common 
Pheasant and Indian Peafowl running wild in various parts of the island.  This 
is likely to be the 
only reliable site for these species in Victoria.

The day finished with a hearty afternoon tea kindly provided by Jeff and 
Pat Walsh who run French Island Bed and Breakfast at The Anchorage.  Our 
hosts mentioned recently seeing a large male Sambar Deer at the bottom of their 
block near the beach.  Sambar may be increasing in 
numbers on the island.

Interestingly the only raptor we observed on the day was a single Brown Falcon. 
 No Swamp Harriers or other birds of prey were seen.

For those interested in going on the 13 May 2006 King Quail hunt, please 
advise me directly and I will pass on the FoFI contact details.

cheers, Martin

French Island Bed and Breakfast -
French Island National Park Visitor Guide (Parks Victoria) -
Map of French Island showing Link Rd. -

Martin O'Brien
Threatened Species & Communities Section
Department of Sustainability and Environment
2/8 Nicholson St. (PO Box 500), East Melbourne  3002


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