Proved to be a Good Idea

After seeing an interesting looking old tree, with some interesting looking hollows, which was leaning over on an angle, we thought it might worth trying something a bit different and pointing a remote camera at it. Not expecting much of a result, it was great to find that it is a busy spot for some of our small mammal species. Antechinus, Bush Rats, Brushtail and Ringtail Possums were all regular users. It was very exciting to also photograph some Sugar Glider activity, this is the first time we have managed to get a shot of one with our cameras.

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Remote Camera Monitoring Autumn 2013

I have produced some stats to go with the latest update from our remote camera sites, hopefully it adds to the information we are getting from the monitoring sites.

Camera 1 was but back in action after the Lyrebird attack a bit later than the others. It was placed around one of the original camera sites in a location I will call Balook Central. There was an alarming amount of Fox activity at this Camera, also no sign of Long-nosed Bandicoots which have been common at this site before (hopefully the 2 factors are not related). Note that in each graph when I am talking about Brushtail Possums it could be either the Common Brushtail or the Mountain (Bobuck) variety. I am not sure that it is possible to tell them apart from the remote camera photos.

Animal Visits - Graph
Animal Visits – Graph

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Camera 2 – Had a lot of bird activity, with lots of little brown birds that given their size, picture quality or the way they were facing, they were often hard to positively Identify. But there was certainly one or more active White-browed Scrub-wrens. The site was relatively quiet compared to past results. A tree branch falling in front of the Camera half-way through the monitoring period may have been a reason for this.  No sign of any Bandicoots but plenty of Antechinus and other Rodent species (probably Rattus fuscipes – Bush Rat ) but hard to identify just with the photos. Anthechinus have pointed snouts and their ears are thin with a notch in the middle. Rats have rounded ears. Sometimes it was impossible to tell whether it was an Antechinus or a Rat from the photos so in those instances, I have just called them unidentified small mammals.

Tarra Bulga South West - Animal Visits
Tarra Bulga South West – Animal Visits

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Camera 3 – Had a lot of Small Mammal activity but not so many larger ones. Possibly due to the camera positioning and location. Lots of good shots an Antechinus Species (Could either be the Dusky Antechinus or the Agile Antechinus but impossible really to tell them apart from the photos. The Rattus species are probably Bush Rats, one way to tell is by their tail length, which in native rats is usually shorter than their body length. 

Tarra Bulga South Central

Monitoring Results for Tarra Bulga South Central site.

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Camera 4 – I thought there must have been some sort of camera malfunction when I collected this camera from the field, there were over 9000 photos on the card. After looking through I found that the camera was working fine it was just an extremely busy site, especially for Swamp Wallabies, where as you can see by the graph they visited the site over 250 times over 2 months. Many times it was the same Joey with its family group which made for some cute photos with it bounding around. The site was in a fairly open clearing so it must have been a really favorite camping spot for them. In one situation a Swamp Wallaby was photographed while a Brushtailed Possum looked on from a tree trunk.  In addition to the Wallabies, we had Long Nosed Bandicoots and Lyrebirds. Look for the photo when a Lyrebird goes past and then a minute later a Fox is seen leaping through the air in the direction it went. Also look for the photos of the Fox with some prey in its mouth, I can’t tell what it is but it is about Bandicoot Size. Also a fair bit of Feral Cat activity at this site.

Remote Camera Species Count
Remote Camera Species Count

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Camera 5- This camera was obviously pointing at a favourite habitat for Bassian Thrushes, as they were the most common species here. They are often hard to spot in the photos as they are well camouflaged.

Balook Gully
Balook Gully – Remote Camera Species Count

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Camera 6- This site is on a ridge amongst large Tree-ferns, with a thick leaf litter. It has lots of Lyrebirds scratching around and plenty of Foxes prowling around.

Tarra Bulga North West
Tarra Bulga North West Remote Camera Species Count.

Camera 7 – This site, although mainly scrubby and lacking in canopy trees, had a lot of activity as can be seen from the graph. Our best site for Long-nose Bandicoots this time and plenty of Lyrebird activity.

Remote Camera Species Count Camera 7
Remote Camera Species Count Camera 7

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Camera 8 – This area seems to get a Ring-tailed possum every time we put a camera around there. Not as busy as some of the other sites but it had a good mix of species with not too many introduced predators visiting. Interestingly when I got to the camera out of the ground litter popped a real live Antechinus which did a couple of little circuits only a couple of metres from where I was standing before it disappeared again, just as I had my (regular) camera ready to shoot. Most likely it was a Dusky Antechinus which are said to be more likely to be active during the daytime (as opposed to the Agile Antechinus). Amazingly there was not one confirmed photo of an Antechinus on the Remote Camera that had been at that site for 2 months.

Remote Camera Species Count Camera 8
Remote Camera Species Count Camera 8

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Overall Counts

Overall Results
This table shows the combined number of species results for all cameras over 2 months.
Most Common Species - All Sites
Most Common Species – All Sites
Less Common Camera Sightings
Less Common Camera Sightings – All Sites

Remote Camera Monitoring March 2013

Camera 1- Has been repaired after Lyrebird attack and will be back in action ASAP.

 Camera 2 – is  still placed in an area that has quite prolific wildlife sightings.

This month it captured a variety of birds, which surprisingly is not always the case given the diversity of species in the park. Birds pictured were the Yellow Robin, Crimson Rosella, Grey Shrike-thrush, Satin Bowerbird, Lyrebird, White-browed Scrub-wren and the Bassian Thrush, Also picked up some nice photos of Some very active Brushtails, Antechinus, Wombats and Echidnas. On the down side there was a feral Cat sneaking Foxes around and no sign of any Bandicoots. Apologies to the Wallabies we spotted having a rather private moment.

Tarra Valley South West
Tarra Valley South West – Species Count

Camera 3 – Was on a steep slope and this month produced a lot more photos, probably due to just a slight change of position which was aimed at more level ground. Grey Currawongs were hanging around the site along with Antechinus, Lyrebirds, Brushtail’s and Echindna’s. This was a much better result than the last time where only Foxes, Wallabies and Lyrebirds were detected.

Tarra Bulga South Central
Tarra Bulga South Central – Species Count

Camera 4 – Was located at a site that was also surprisingly busy given that has a lower diversity because it is an area of shrubby regrowth forest with a ground cover of only bark, leaf litter and bare soil. Grey Currawongs again seemed to be active at the moment; Brush Bronzewings seem to like this area as well as Lyrebirds (sometimes in pairs). Crimson Rosellas, Eastern Whip-birds and Bassian Thrushes were also spotted. Wombats, Wallabies and Antechinus were the main mammals along with visits by two Feral Cats and a Fox. The results were similar to last time and the camera has now been moved into some different habitat.

Balook West - Camera 4
Balook West – Camera 4, Species Counts

Camera 5 This camera was located at the bottom of a damp fern gully, With only 400 photos in the six week period it was actually a bit quieter than some of the other locations, although there was a lot of Brush-tailed possum activity (Good spot for Powerful Owls to get some tucker!!) and a lot of Pilotbird activity. Other Mammal species were an unidentified rodent, Antechinus, Wallabies and the ubiquitous Foxes (which were seen at all 7 Camera sites scattered around the park).

Balook Gully
Balook Gully Species Count

Camera 6 – Is a site located close to old-growth forest, it has deep leaf litter on the ground. Surprisingly we haven’t been picking up a lot of diversity here. There has been lots of Lyrebirds photographed as well as Wallabies and Foxes but little else. Potentially the camera is too high to pick up smaller species. I have made an adjustment to see if it makes any difference.

Tarra Bulga North West - Species Count
Tarra Bulga North West – Species Count

Camera 7 – Was in the same place as last time and once again it was prolific even though the vegetation is mainly scrubby regrowth with no large canopy trees. Again there were lots of cute mother Wallaby and Joey in pouch photos. There were more good shots of Long-nosed Bandicoots and Lyrebirds. Other birds were Pied Currawongs and Grey shrike-Thrushes. There were some busy Wombats and some handsome looking but evil Foxes no doubt sniffing around for a meal of fresh Bandicoot.

Balook West - Species Count
Balook West – Species Count

Camera 8 –No sign of any snakes this time, but similar results to last time at this site which was on the Eastern edge of Tarra Bulga. Lots of Lyrebird activity, Wombats, Wallabies and Echidnas as well as some Long-nosed Bandicoots and Foxes.

Tarra Bulga North East
Tarra Bulga North East – Species Count

Remote Camera Monitoring – Update Summer 2013

This post is a summary of the Remote Camera Monitoring results over December and January 2012/13

Camera  1 – Still out of action after it was attacked by an aggressive lyrebird.

Lyrebird who got overly interested in one of our Remote Cameras
Lyrebird who got overly interested in one of our Remote Cameras

Camera 2 – Located in mature Wet Forest in the Tarra Valley was quite a prolific site, with the camera picking up lots of small birds e.g. White-browed Scrub Wrens and Bassian and Grey-Shrike Thrushes, as well as mammals such as Antechinus and Long-nosed Bandicoots, unfortunately there were plenty of Foxes and a Feral Cat present. Also plenty of Wombats, Wallabies and some Brushtails.

Remote Camera and the Fallen Tree

When we checked one of the cameras after some of the recent windy weather, we arrived at the site to find it had had a close call with the base of a fallen tree landing only inches in front of our precious camera.

Figuring the the tree would be completely blocking the line of sight for the camera it was thought that there was no point leaving it in its current position. So the camera was relocated. 

Later while checking the results computer we found there had been some interesting activity at the site with passing Echidna’s and Bandicoots and a Male Lyrebird strutting around and calling.

Nice shots of this male Lyrebird before the tree fell over and blocked the view.

After the tree fell we were not expecting much but the disturbance and obviously caused interest in feeding opportunities for some fauna. Antechinus and Eastern Whip Birds featured in a number of shots foraging in the rotten wood at the base of the fallen tree. As the tree was very close to the camera the shots are a little out of focus but they do give us a good look at the habits of species we would not have seen without the presence of the camera.

Antechinus Close Up
Antechinus Close Up foraging on newly fallen tree base.
Eastern Whip Bird - Psophodes olivaceus
This Eastern Whip Bird (Psophodes olivaceus) was very interested in the base of this newly fallen tree, it seemed to be having a feast.

Tarra Valley – Remote Camera Site

We recently moved one of our cameras down to a site in the Tarra Valley section of the park, to get a better idea of what wildlife is hanging around there. After the camera was checked the first time we had plenty of shots of Swamp Wallabies but nothing else apart from foxes. The camera was then moved a few metres to a new position where it could be set closer to the ground and the difference in the number of species photographed was quite remarkable. There are some great Long-nosed Bandicoot photos along with Antechinus and Rattus pictures, an Echidna and Possums (Not certain whether they are the Common Brush Tailed Possum of the Mountain Brush Tail (Bobuck) or whether we have both, The Bobuck’s have smaller more rounded ears.

Unfortunately there are still plenty of introduced predators at this site with Foxes and Feral Cats present. We have been recording quite a few cats with our monitoring lately.

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Agile Antechinus

This little critter nearly went by unnoticed until we went back through some remote picks and spotted it here. It is an Agile Antechinus – Antechinus agilis. They mainly feed on invertebrates such as spiders and beetles. Like all antechinuses, the Agile Antechinus has a short and violent breeding season, after which the males all die.

Agile Antechinus - Antechinus agilis
You might have to look closely to find this little Antechinus
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