On Sunday July 10th we held our first Mid Winter Walk with the aim of learning more about some of the ferns, mosses, liverworts and lichens that are often overlooked features of the biodiversity in Tarra-Bulga National Park. If you want to see the full complement of photos from the day check out the Tarra-Bulga National Park project on iNaturalist. You may be even be able to help with identifying some. https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?q=Mid%20Winter%20Walk%202022&search_on=tags Otherwise you can check out the photos here to get an idea of what we saw. Although we were not specifically looking at fungi we did also come across a lot of photogenic fungi so some photos of them have also been included.
Note that it can be difficult to identify Mosses and Liverworts (both different groups of plats) in the field, some species need microscopic examination to see their features. Ferns are a bit easier as they are larger and although they dominate the landscape there are only around 40 species in the park. Lichens are not actually plants but are are organisms composed of fungal and photosynthetic partners.
Volunteers spent the day and night On Saturday February 5th using a range of techniques to see what living things could be found. From the day a whopping 428 observations were added to the Tarra-Bulga National Park project on the citizen science website www.iNaturalist.org. A number of plant and fungi species were recorded, but the vast majority of records were for an amazing array of insects and other invertebrates. Many finds that were uploaded to the website are still to be identified but so far, we can confirm that we have recorded at least 215 different species for the day, roughly 60 of them had never previously been recorded at Tarra-Bulga.
The day’s focus was mainly on invertebrates, other planned activities for the year aim to add to the flora and fauna records for the park, these include a fungi foray in May, a mid-winter walk looking at ferns and mosses, and a plant identification day as well as bird survey in spring. As well as these activities, Friends of Tarra-Bulga hold regular working bees and are always on the lookout for people interested in joining our crew of volunteers that staff the park Visitor Centre.
The following Table shows the range of lifeforms we recorded on the day.
It’s not too late to sign up for our Bio-blitz. This Saturday (February 5th) Where we will aim to record as many species of any lifeform (Insects, Birds, Plants, Fungi etc) we can find on the day. We will use the Citizen Science Website/App iNaturalist https://inaturalist.ala.org.au/ to log our findings. Conveniently the site already has a Tarra-Bulga National Park project set up that automatically records any sightings made within the Park. https://inaturalist.ala.org.au/…/tarra-bulga-national-park
As you can see it is well established already with 5.350 observations and 1,170 species recorded. We will aim to use a number of survey techniques to find as many species as possible. I think 200 species would be a good result for the day.
With iNaturalist you can download the App and upload sightings directly from a phone or you can upload any photos you take on a camera when you get back home and upload them via the website later on. If you don’t want to log your own sightings feel free to just come along and observe.
Do bring food for the day, as well as any cameras, binoculars etc that you would like to use. Contact 0488 035 314 for further information.
On Sunday May 9th we held a fungi foray starting at Bulga Park. The conditions were favourable and we had a great turn out with 30 people signed up and ready to go at 9.30am. After an introductory presentation we set off for a very slow loop down to the suspension bridge, returning via the Fern Gully and Link Tracks. Understandably some families with small children and others with Mother’s day lunch commitments dropped out along the way, but even on a short walk they would have experienced a wide variety of fungi displaying their spore bodies.
It has been a big job documenting the finds, between my daugher and I we have added over 170 sightings to iNaturalist for the day https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/tarra-bulga-national-park This includes sightings from the Tarra Valley (I couldn’t resist checking out what fungi could be seen there as I was going past on my way home). Overall the total species recorded to date is 68! I wonder if anyone that attended has got photos of species that we missed? Anyway enjoy the gallery below which contains some examples of the variety of fungi seen on the day.
For anyone that is interested, Friends of Tarra-Bulga National Park are going to hold a Bioblitz on Sunday February 14th. The day is intended to be a fun and casual way to start off our activities for the year. We will aim to use cameras to record anything of interest we find. The results can then potentially be added to Citizen Science apps such as the Tarra Bulga National Park project on iNaturalist https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/tarra-bulga-national-park . If the weather conditions are suitable, we will also run a light sheet to attract moths and other insects on the Sunday evening.
Anyone is welcome to attend, no prior experience or knowledge is necessary. The official start time is 10am at the Visitors Centre but you could potentially join in at any time on the day. Just bring along any food or drinks you need for the day as well as any cameras, phones, binoculars etc you may have lying around. For more information or to register your interest in attending you can contact 0488 035 314 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org You can also register via ParkConnect https://bit.ly/39VtMRV
One of the stunning features of Tarra-Bulga National Park’s cool temperate rainforest gullies is the amazing array of mosses and liverworts. These delicate plants are often tiny and identifying them can be a significant challenge. Kara Healey was a renowned caretaker(Ranger) in the Tarra Valley in the 1950’s. She dedicated a lot of her time to collecting specimens of a wide range of lifeforms in within the park and sending them off to herbariums and other institutions to be identified and catalogued. Her efforts resulted in the Tarra Valley having one of the most comprehensive lists of its flora and fauna out of any park in the state. We have recently obtained some scans of collections she made way back in the 1950’s. It is incredible that they are so well preserved after all this time. Enjoy! and for anyone who is into studying mosses and liverworts out there – this might be a very useful resource.
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).