Tarra-Bulga National Park: A Work in Progress.

Renowned for its stunning cool-temperate rainforest, luxuriant tree-ferns and towering Mountain Ash trees, Tarra-Bulga National Park is cherished by Gippslanders and enjoyed by visitors from all over the world.  The original separate small, but significant, Bulga and Tarra Valley Parks were reserved just over a century ago while the giant forests surrounding them were being laboriously hand cleared by selectors to turn into farms. Clearing this land turned out to be folly, the terrain, cold winters, bushfires, weeds and rabbits all contributed to the farmers giving up and walking away, leaving scrub and noxious weeds in their wake. Forestry and sawmilling in the area for timber and pulpwood also led to the loss of more of the original giant trees.

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Bulga Park Entrance Circa 1930

In recent years Tarra-Bulga National Park has expanded. New areas including abandoned farmland have been added with the goal of physically linking Tarra Valley and Bulga Parks as well as to reduce visitor pressure on significant sites, provide greater recreational opportunities and protect additional vegetation communities representative of the Strzelecki Ranges. It is recognised that Tarra-Bulga National Park has the potential to become even more spectacular and significant as cleared land is successfully regenerated.

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Monitoring past  work by the Friends of Tarra-Bulga National Park

To this end the Friends of Tarra-Bulga National Park are seeking volunteers interested in helping with the regeneration process. The group holds occasional work days on weekends, undertaking activities such as planting over-storey trees and controlling noxious weeds. The next activity is scheduled for Saturday July the 23rd  30th and will focus on removing tree guards from successful new plantings. The meeting point will be at 9.30am at the Visitors Centre Car Park. For further details or to register your interest in helping out Friends of Tarra-Bulga with any of their activities email friendsoftarrabulga@gmail.com  or phone 0488 035 314.

How our Lyrebird Count Operates

The Annual Lyrebird Survey at Tarra-Bulga National Park has been carried out for the last 20 years as a means of detecting any changes of the population of the birds, within an area of the park covering from around the visitors centre area to the rainforest gully at the headwaters of Macks Ck. Although Lyrebirds are not considered endangered, they are at risk from natural disasters such as bushfires, habitat decline and attack from foxes, feral animals and domestic cats and dogs. The annual survey contributes to long term data on the density of the local population and helps park management plan their future management actions.

Superb Lyrebird
Superb Lyrebird calling from a tree branch.

The Lyrebirds are counted not by attempting to spot them visually, but by listening out for their song. (Sometimes you may be lucky enough to see a bird but often they are out of sight perched in a tree canopy or in ferny understorey). The survey is undertaken during the Lyrebirds’ breeding season. At this time mature male Lyrebirds are all actively searching for females to mate with and it is during this time when they are reliably singing for much of the day. The survey is consistently undertaken at dawn (when the wind is often calmer and the Lyrebirds begin their morning calls, usually while perched up in a tree).

The count is carried out by distributing groups of volunteers across the survey area at

Pre Count Briefing
Volunteers gathering before the count.

established monitoring points. Each of these points is marked with a numbered sign so that they can be found in the pre-dawn light. As the sun rises and the Lyrebirds start singing their varied repertoire, the volunteers use a compass to establish the direction the calls are coming from and estimate the distance (close, medium or far) that the call is coming from. The survey lasts for approximately 30 minutes, after which the volunteers generally go off and enjoy breakfast at the aptly named Lyrebird Cafe.

Once the survey is completed survey sheets are collected and the direction the calls were coming from are plotted as lines onto a map, where lines coming from several surrounding monitoring points meet, we can be confident that it is a location where a male Lyrebird was calling from.

Lyrebird count 2015 results
Volunteers gathering before the count.
Lyrebird count compass bearings
Instructions on how to use a compass to find the direction the Lyrebird is calling from. 

 

The Expansion of the Park Over Time

The reservation of Tarra Bulga National Park began as two separate Rainforest parks over 100 years ago, (Bulga Park and the Tarra Valley). Thanks to the foresight of a few enlightened folk these magnificent areas were spared from the almost complete removal of the towering forests that once dominated the Strzelecki Ranges. From tiny beginnings the Park has grown and although much of the area, that has been added to the park was significantly degraded, the park will continue to recover and become even more of a magnificent nature asset in the future. The two parks were first joined in name as Tarra-Bulga National Park in 1986. In 2001 the park boundaries were increased and at last the two sections were physically joined.

Parks Week Walks

Its Parks Week next week and the Heart Foundation are running two guided walks , first one is this Sunday March the 2nd and it will be at the Tarra Valley at 10am.

Next one will be around the Bulga Park area and is on Wednesday (March the 5th).

Anyone interested should register at http://www.heartfoundation.org.au/active-living/walking/Pages/events-and-park-walks.aspx or phone 1300 362 787

Green Walk - 2nd March
Green Walk – 2nd March

Green Walk 5th March

Green Walks

First in a series of “Green Walks” in Tarra Bulga coming up on Monday Feb the 17th. Friends of Tarra Bulga are helping out as guides, so anyone in the Friends Group that  wants to come out is more than welcome (as are all members of the public who will need to register here) http://www.heartfoundation.org.au/active-living/walking/Pages/events-and-park-walks.aspx or phone 1300 362 787

Green Walks Flyer i

Other walk dates are:

Sunday 2nd March (in the Tarra Valley)

Wednesday 5th March

Friday 28th March

Fungi Season

This time of the year (Late Autumn) is the best time for seeing the interesting array of Fungi present in Tarra Bulga National Park. A diversity of fungi species (in addition to the towering trees and lush ferns and mosses and the wildlife) make a visit well worth the effort.

Most of the photos shown in the gallery below were taken in two recent strolls around the Rainforest walks at both Bulga Park and the Tarra Valley, with the latter site having the most fungi on show. Tarra Valley has had a long history of being an interesting destination for fungi observation, Back In the 1950’s, Kara Healey (Victoria’s first female ranger) collected around 160 species of fungi from the Park area, two previously un-described species she collected were even named in her honor.

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Fungi Map are holding their 7th Biennial iNational Conference in Gippsland later this month and the participants are spending a full day at the Park on Monday May 21st. More information can be found via this link.  https://www.fungimap.org.au/index.php/fungimap7fullproginfo Maybe you can go along and   learn a few things and then be able to assist us with identifying some of the species feature in this gallery!