2015 Lyrebird Survey

Lyrebird Count 2015 photoOur annual Lyrebird survey is coming up on Saturday May 30th. The meeting place is at the Tarra Bulga National Park Visitors Centre at 6.15 am. On arrival the recording process is explained and people are allocated to various monitoring points around the Bulga Park area.

The survey begins at sunrise with the first Lyrebird calls and only takes around half an hour. Following the morning chorus, a free cooked breakfast is on offer at the Tarra-Bulga Guest House. If you would like to come along you need to contact us (by Wednesday May the 27th on 0488 035 314 or email friendsoftarrabulga@gmail.com. Wear warm clothing, a parka, bring a watch, a torch and compass (optional).

Lyrebird

Lyrebird Numbers Up, Brush Bronze-wing Population Explodes!

Friends of Tarra-Bulga have now been using remote cameras within the park to monitor wildlife for over three years. The table below shows results adjusted for the number of days cameras have been active in the field. We currently have eight cameras that are moved around to different sites on a regular basis. As of January 2015 the cameras had spent a combined total of over 5000 days in the field and were triggered by animal movements over 10,000 times.

Feral Cat with a Sugar Glider
Feral Cat numbers have risen

The results show a number of interesting trends. For mammals most species have not varied much in the frequency of sightings over the 3 years with a few exceptions. There was a large jump in Koala sightings in 2014 most were at one site where a Koala developed a routine of passing by every couple of days. Feral Cat numbers have risen each year and Ring-tailed Possum sightings seem to have declined. (the figures for Ring-tails have been influenced heavily by one popular site).

Lyrebird
Lyrebirds captures by our cameras doubled each year.

There has been a massive jump in the numbers of birds that the cameras are detecting. The number Lyrebirds passing cameras have doubled each year. Bassian Thrush (Zoothera lunulata) sightings increased around 600% in 2014 and Brush Bronze-wing numbers skyrocketed from only 15 sightings in 2013 up to 404. Crimson Rosellas, Eastern Whipbirds, Pilotbirds and *Common Blackbirds all had a significant rise in detection. Two smaller species the White-browed Scrubwren and the Superb Fairy Wren were also ‘captured’ more often.

Brush Bronzewing
We have had massive increase in the number of Brush Bronzewings recorded.

A reason for the jump in bird numbers may be due to camera placement. One site used in 2014 was very popular for ground dwelling bird, however this does not fully explain the rise, other camera sites were used in both years and showed a big increase ground dwelling birds from 2013. Fox control efforts in recent years may also be a factor helping the birds numbers increase. Our results have picked up a small rise in Fox numbers over the last few years. As our monitoring continues, time will tell if this greater abundance of bird sightings will be maintained.

Species201220132014
Lyrebird3196181239
Bassian Thrush136135639
White-browed Scrubwren6149181
Eastern Whipbird211498
Pilotbird143593
Satin Bowerbird1452
Crimson Rosella55195
Grey Currawong51116
Olive Whistler595
Brush Bronzewing215404
Eastern Yellow Robin238
Fantail, Rufous225
Grey Shrike-Thrush236
Magpie200
Pied Currawong247
Superb Fairy-wren2345
Wedge tailted Eagle200
Brown Gerygone001
Brown Thornbill020
Common Bronzewing014
Fantail, Grey020
Kookaburra063
Raven Species013
Tawny Frogmouth002
White Throated Tree-creeper003
Fox131220229
Rabbit1263924
Common Blackbird1910125
Feral Cat163364
Human001
Swamp Wallaby513947761
Long Nosed Bandicoot19781185
Brushtail Possum176171169
Wombat138160120
Rattus Species82146152
Antechinus547359
Echidna161643
Ring-tailed Possum55820
Koala2981
Dog011
Sugar Glider031
Unidentifiable Bird103101119
Small Mammal – Unidentifiable476744
Large Mammal – Unidentifiable331629

Lyrebird Survey Results 2014

Perfect conditions this year for our annual Lyrebird count, with a beautiful still and mild morning. Another bonus was thirty keen volunteers fronting up for the 6.15 am, which meant we could cover all our 16 monitoring points. Thank you so much everyone for turning up, with many coming from far and wide to participate.

From our mapping we identified at least 10 male birds calling, which in memory is one of our best results. At several stations tracing birds was easy because they were observed calling from trees directly overhead the post. The folk monitoring the Bulga Car Park also reported a male and female (or juvenile male) bird running through their site.

It was hard for many of us to drag ourselves away from the calling birds and across to the guest house for breakfast. The last group back had been lucky enough toc come across a male in full display next to his mound. It wasn’t  only Lyrebirds that were vocal on such a nice morning with Whip Birds, Tree Creepers Kookaburras and others adding to the morning chorus.

lyrebird count 2014
lyrebird count 2014

 

 

2014 Lyrebird Survey

One of our most popular volunteer activities is coming up on Saturday May 31st. The survey, which monitors trends in the Lyrebird population involves an early start. The meeting place is at the Tarra Bulga National Park Visitors Centre at 6.15 am. On arrival the recording process is explained and people are allocated to various monitoring points around the Bulga Park area.

The survey begins at sunrise with the first Lyrebird calls and only takes half an hour. Following the morning chorus, a free cooked breakfast is on offer at the Tarra-Bulga Guest House. If you would like to come along you need to contact ranger Craig Campbell (by Wednesday May the 28th on 5172 2508 or email craig.campbell@parks.vic.gov.au. Wear warm clothing, a parka, bring a watch, a torch and compass (optional).

A couple of birds from our Remote Camera monitoring.
A couple of birds from our Remote Camera monitoring.

2013 Remote Camera Stats

Here’s a breakdown for you all showing the species that triggered our remote cameras last year. The lower number of detection in the later part of the year can be explained by a few issues that we had with dodgy SD cards causing the batteries to conk out prematurely. Can’t explain why the Wallaby numbers vary so much each month. Some of the other species e.g. Lyrebirds, seem much more evenly represented over the year.

Breakdown of Remote Camera
Triggers – Tarra Bulga National Park 2013

Species

Total

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Swamp Wallaby

978

50

44

105

139

164

186

157

28

14

28

15

48

Superb Lyrebird

679

48

46

59

86

70

73

50

72

54

61

38

22

Fox

256

16

22

20

49

39

30

28

20

8

10

10

4

Brushtail Possum

190

12

8

27

33

20

13

20

9

4

11

15

18

Wombat

175

3

12

14

22

33

13

24

10

4

7

26

7

Rat

170

16

2

4

12

7

15

17

27

54

12

4

Bassian Thrush

156

8

11

22

24

4

10

12

20

5

9

4

27

Unidentified Bird

115

6

8

20

12

20

6

3

4

5

15

10

6

Long Nosed Bandicoot

95

9

6

8

13

8

9

5

10

19

4

1

3

Antechinus

84

3

9

8

16

12

5

12

6

2

5

5

1

Small Mammal – Unidentified

76

5

2

2

5

14

6

13

14

5

4

4

2

Ring-tailed Possum

61

1

2

2

2

5

6

18

18

7

White-browed Scrubwren

53

3

1

2

10

6

7

6

2

2

3

8

3

Rabbit

46

1

5

3

2

6

4

4

3

18

Pilotbird

40

4

17

5

1

2

8

1

1

1

Feral Cat

39

3

1

10

7

3

3

4

5

1

1

1

Short-beaked Echidna

19

1

2

2

7

3

1

3

Large Mammal – Unidentified

19

1

4

7

1

2

4

Brush Bronzewing

17

1

2

1

1

3

1

4

1

3

Eastern Whipbird

15

1

1

3

1

3

1

1

1

2

1

Grey Currawong

13

1

8

1

1

1

1

Common Blackbird

12

2

1

9

Koala

11

1

5

2

1

1

1

Olive Whistler

11

1

2

8

Kookaburra

7

4

1

1

1

Crimson Rosella

5

1

4

Superb Fairy-wren

4

1

1

1

1

Satin Bowerbird

4

1

1

1

1

Pied Currawong

4

1

3

Grey Shrike-Thrush

3

2

1

Eastern Yellow Robin

3

1

1

1

Sugar Glider

3

2

1

Fantail, Grey

2

1

1

Fantail, Rufous

2

2

Common Bronzewing

1

1

Raven Species

1

1

Brown Thornbill

1

1

Mystery Species

1

1

Dog

1

1

 

 

Camera Site Greatly Exceeds Expectations

In February we placed a camera in a new site along the Grand Ridge Rd, in vegetation that was not typical old growth Mountain Ash forest, but rather sad looking regrowth scrub. As a result we didn’t have high expectations as to what fauna we’d find in this habitat. Surprisingly though it’s a very popular spot, especially with ground dwelling birds (must be lots of food) and we obtained some fantastic images. All up the camera was triggered on 165 separate occasions, see the table below for more details)

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Species Sightings  

Species

Sightings
Brush Bronzewing 36   Fox 3
Superb Lyrebird 22   Swamp Wallaby 2
White-browed Scrubwren 20   Echidna 2
Bassian Thrush 16   Koala 2
Pilotbird 13   Common Blackbird 2
Eastern Whipbird 7   Brushtail Possum 1
Superb Fairy-wren 7   Rufous Fantail 1
Wombat 4    
  • In addition there were 26 birds that triggered the camera not able to be identified from the image quality to species level.
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Sycamore Maple Reveg Site – Progress Report March 2014

Took the trek in to check on the progress of this site recently. Part of our strategy against Wallaby predation, as well as using big guards, had been to plant Mountain Ash among some of the large dead Sycamore Maple that had been fallen at the site. Initially it had seemed that this plan had worked a treat, but we had underestimated the Wallabies and last time I visited the site (6 months ago) the pesky Macropods had pretty much munched all of the carefully placed plants; all but confirming that our conventional method of using big wire mesh tree guards is the only way to beat these beasts.

Even species that were meant to be Wallabies least preferred food such as Olearia lirata (Snowy Daisy-bush) were being heavily chewed.

On this visit things were actually looking a little better and it seemed that there had been some recovery of planted tubestock; although the ones not properly guarded were not much bigger than when they were planted over 18 months ago.

The Sycamore Maple which had once completely covered the 2ha site is also not giving up without a fight. A clamber around the site revealed many seedlings emerging and we as a group will focus on removing them before they become large feral trees. On the plus side there is mass natural regeneration of native understorey occurring with an impressive diversity of species, including plenty of Wattles; that have germinated without the aid of fire. The Maple logs that we left in-situ have been a massive bonus because the micro-climate they created has been perfect for fern regeneration, which is happening all over the site.  The logs are breaking down quickly now with a variety of Fungi helping the process. We will have another planting day later in the year on this site (using  the big Wallaby guards) so keep a look out for it if you are keen to lend a hand.

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