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
Percentage of Cats
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.
Another great turnout of 34 volunteers for this year’s survey, our annual Lyrebird Survey is by far our most popular activity and once again we were able to cover all 16 monitoring sites.
Weather conditions were quite good, at 5.30am heading up to Balook there was a substantial amount of moonlight with a clear sky and some cold air, At Balook however it was darker because of cloud cover blocking the moonlight and there was a slight breeze in the treetops.
Our full crew of volunteers arrived in good time and by 6.30am everyone had arrived and signed in and by 6.45am everyone had been briefed on their tasks and had headed out in the dark to their assigned monitoring stations.
Once in position there ended up being quite an unexpectedly long wait until Lyrebird calls were first heard, only a couple of locations recorded birds calling before 7am; which was when the majority of the sites started hearing birds, the latest any group had to wait to record any calls was 7.10am. Last year (2017) every site had birds calling by 6.55am.
The official sunrise time for Saturday June 2nd at Balook was 7.22am and first light was scheduled to appear at 6.52am which was almost identical to last year.
From our results we detected 8 birds calling in our search area, this figure was slightly down on recent years. It is hard to read too much into one years results but potentially the dry summer and autumn we have experience may be having an impact. Most birds appeared to be calling from forest areas with established Eucalyptus over-storey or rainforest. It would be great if some action can be taken to re-establish the original canopy species into areas of the park that have been degraded.
As usual we only count birds that are detected by at least 2 monitoring stations and some stations heard birds calling that were not in our survey area so are not included in the final tally.
Thanks again to AGL who generously supported the breakfast provided for the early rising volunteers.
Lyrebird Survey Results Summary Table 2010-2018
Number of Males Calling
(out of 16)
Windy making it hard to hear calls, especially in the more exposed sites.
Still and Calm
Wet, may have discouraged birds from calling. Several males sighted feeding but not calling.
To date we have 17 different species of moths in the family Arctiidae recorded in Tarra-Bulga National Park.
“Arctiidae is a large family of moths with around 11,000 species found all over the world. This family includes the groups commonly known as tiger moths (or tigers). Tiger moths usually have bright colours, footmen (which are usually much drabber), lichen moths and wasp moths. Many species have ‘hairy’ caterpillars which are popularly known as woolly bears or woolly worms. The scientific name refers to this (Gk. αρκτος = a bear). ”