A semi-rare event with a dump of snow on the Park overnight. Thankfully it was not too heavy. There were a few shrubs and trees around that couldn’t cope with the weight of the snow and fell over so there will be a bit of a clean up job required. On the bright side the snow adds and extra touch of beauty to an already spectacular location.
Conditions were fortunately very good after a wild week of strong winds, rain and even a dusting of snow on the Wednesday. As a result of the snow many fern fronds have been crushed down and were providing an obstacle along the walking tracks. The temperature was relatively mild and although you could hear the wind in the tree-tops it was not that strong. First Light was predicted at 6:52 am and the official sunrise time was 7:21.
We had 38 volunteers which was more the enough to cover all 16 monitoring locations. After meeting at 6.15 am everyone was briefed and out into the field by 6:40. Kookaburras were the first birds to start calling and were very active and noisy for quite a while. It seemed like quite a long wait until we heard our first Lyrebird at 6:58 am. Most volunteers had vacated their sites by around 7:15 am and people started filing into the Guest House for breakfast by about 7:25.
The results were collated this year during Google Earth. The bottom of Lyrebird Ridge seemed to be quite active as well as the points around the suspension bridge and the Bulga Carpark. other sites were much quieter with only one or two calls heard.
Using our call triangulation method there ended up being a couple of anomalies with the results that made the certainty of the existence of a couple of birds 100% certain. (e.g 2 monitoring sites heard it calling but a closer one did not). Overall though we came up with a total of 9 birds calling for 2019 (which is one more than last year).
While spending a bit of time in the Tarra Valley Car Park on Saturday morning it was mind blowing to witness a significant number of touristy looking vehicles slow down, check out the place from their vehicles and then drive on without getting out of the car. One lady who had stopped for a look around, approached me and said “we have come up from Yarram and were wondering where to go for the best walks!”. She seemed surprised when I said that one of the best walks in the park is right here.
The Rainforest Walk at the Tarra Valley is certainly a must-do Tarra-Bulga National Park experience. The ancient gnarly Myrtle Beech, fresh mountain streams, lush green mosses and delicate filmy ferns are truly spectacular (not to mention Cyathea Falls). Maybe it needs better signage (VicRoads) or publicity but seriously people if you a driving through, stop, get out of the car, take a walk and check it out for yourself.
This Saturday July 28th, we are inviting people to join us
for an activity at one of our on-going project sites. The aim is to remove wire tree-guards from successfully plantings which are part of the recovery from 2009 bushfires.
Meeting point is the Tarra-Bulga Visitors centre at 10am and the activity will finish around 1pm. Please let us know if you intend to come along in case there are any change of plans. Phone 0488 035 314 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks to group members Martin and Bernadette for letting us use this great camera footage they captured from a very busy Lyrebird mound just near the park in the Tarra Valley. The video catches a male Lyrebird at the peak of the breeding season, strutting his stuff in a full display.
Although they are not often seen by visitors, feral and domestic cats are established predators at Tarra-Bulga National Park and our remote camera results suggest they are becoming more common.
The table below shows results from five years of remote camera monitoring carried out by the Friends of Tarra-Bulga Park. Cat numbers as a percentage of total species recorded rose dramatically from 0.7 to 3.9%.
|No. of Cats Records||16||33||64||59||41||64|
|Percentage of Cats||0.7%||1.1%||1.3%||1.6%||3.0%||3.9%|
The impact these cats are having on the birds, small mammals and reptiles is a real concern. Although there are many variables in the ways we set up our cameras, the general trend in the last few years is for them to be detecting greater numbers of cats and less small native mammals (e.g. Antechinus and Bush Rats). Sadly we have also been detecting less of the smaller birds such as Pilotbirds and White-browed Scrubwrens. (For a summary of sightings of others species download this Percentage of sightings per year for commonly detected species captured in remote camera photos )
The gallery below shows that cats in Tarra-Bulga range from large ferals and panther look-alikes to small (some might say cute) looking kittens, some even have collars. What is undeniable though, is that their presence has a major impact on the ecology of Tarra-Bulga National Park.