Lyrebird Survey 2018 Results

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

 

 

Year

 

Number of Males Calling

Monitoring

Points

Covered

(out of 16)

 

 

Weather Conditions

2010 4 9
2011 9 13 Windy making it hard to hear calls, especially in the more exposed sites.
2012 9 12 Still and Calm
2013 3 10 Wet, may have discouraged birds from calling. Several males sighted feeding but not calling.
2014 14 15 Perfect calm morning
2015 6 12 Windy
2016 9 15 Ideal – slight wind, relatively warm
2017 11 16 Ideal – slight wind, relatively warm
2018 8 16 A little overcast with a slight breeze.

Lyrebird Count 2018 150 dpi

2017 Lyrebird Survey Results

271A4102 copya
A bumper crew  for this years survey.
  • We had a fantastic turnout of volunteers, which meant that all 16 sites could be covered with at least 2 volunteers at each site. (This is the first time we have covered all 16 sites since at least 2010).
  • Weather conditions were ideal (2nd year running) with little or no wind to muffle the sound of calls and it was not really all that cold!
  • Everyone got out to their respective positions in time; the earliest call was heard at 6.49am and by 6.55am every monitoring station had Lyrebirds calling.
  • The official sunrise time for Saturday Jun 3rd at Balook was 7.23am and first light was scheduled to appear at 6.53am. So, it seems Lyrebirds are fairly well tuned to begin calling at first light.
  • From our results, we detected 11 male birds calling, (not sure if it would be possibly with our method to detect two birds calling in close proximity to each other, but a couple of stations noted the possibility that they could possibly hear multiple birds calling from around the same direction.
  • Note: we only count birds that are detected by at least 2 monitoring stations.
  • This is our second highest number of birds recorded since at least 2010.
  • Thanks to AGL who helped to pay for the breakfast.

 

  • Results Tablea

Summary of results for the last 8 years.

Lyrebird Count 2017 150dpi

2016 Lyrebird Survey Results

In the pre-dawn darkness on Saturday the 18th of June, twenty-five volunteers and one Park Ranger were greeted with perfectly calm conditions for Tarra-Bulga National Park’s Annual  Lyrebird Survey. Overnight showers had passed by leaving moist dripping foliage in their wake.

The survey is designed to monitor the density of Lyrebirds living in 60ha comprising of wet sclerophyll and cool temperate rainforest immediately to the east of the Tarra-Bulga National Park Visitors Centre. There are sixteen monitoring points strategically placed throughout the site and volunteers move to each site before adult male Lyrebirds start their morning calls at dawn. Volunteers then use a compass to record the direction and proximity of the Lyrebird calls. This year we had enough volunteers to cover all but one of the monitoring points.

2016 Lyrebird Survey
2016 Lyrebird Survey crew ready for action.

Following the survey, lines representing the direction of the calls are plotted onto a map, and triangulation is used to establish the spots where birds were calling from. This year the results indicate we had at least nine (male) Lyrebirds calling in our 60ha zone. This corresponds to a density of one adult male Lyrebird per 6.7 ha. You can also assume that there will be female lyrebirds and immature males or non-calling males within our target area. To account for this to get our overall population of Lyrebirds we multiply the number of calling males by a factor of 2.5. It is believed that male Lyrebirds do not begin to breed until they are around 6 or 7 years old.

Summary of Tarra-Bulga National Park Lyrebird Surveys

Summary of Tarra-Bulga National Park Lyrebird Surveys

2016 Survey Map
Map showing bearings taken from monitoring points and the estimated location of calling male Lyrebirds from the 2016 survey.

 

 

Feral Cat with a Sugar Glider

Remote Camera Results Updated to include 2015

Overall total number of species sightings – all cameras

2012201320142015
Antechinus791068659
Bassian Thrush198198934719
Brown Gerygone0012
Brown Thornbill0305
Brush Bronzewing3215901356
Common Blackbird2716183145
Common Bronzewing0150
Common Brushtail Possum751305
Crimson Rosella782845
Cuckoo Fantailed0002
Dog0110
Eastern Whipbird3120143137
Eastern Yellow Robin341112
Echidna242463107
Fantail, Grey0300
Fantail, Rufous3370
Feral Cat24499599
Fox191323336140
Grey Currawong716237
Grey Shrike-Thrush3380
Human0010
Koala31411875
Kookaburra09417
Large Billed Scrubwren0002
Long Nosed Bandicoot287119270652
Lyrebird4869021809973
Magpie3000
Mountain Brushtail Possum181235243289
Olive Whistler715710
Pied Currawong36108
Pilotbird2150136217
Rabbit191583490
Rattus Species120213222189
Raven Species0140
Ring-tailed Possum7852967
Satin Bowerbird21835
Sugar Glider0410
Superb Fairy-wren35667
Swamp Wallaby74913821112677
Tawny Frogmouth0030
Wedge-tailed Eagle3000
White-browed Scrubwren8971264130
White Throated Tree-creeper0043
Wombat202234176130

Without any advanced statistical scrutiny strong trends include:Our remote camera monitoring has now reached four solid years of records. Although not a flawless scientifically planned project there are still be some interesting developments. The table above shows the total sightings of each species combined across all of the camera sites. There are many variables in these results, the main one being that cameras have been moved around different habitats at different times, so have not constantly been in the one place.

  • A massive rise in the number of Brush Bronzewings every year.
  • A rise in the number of other ground dwelling bird species including Bassian Thrushes, Pilotbirds, Eastern Whipbirds and Common Blackbirds.
  • An increase in the number of Long-nosed Bandicoots (although this may be explained by moving cameras to areas where habitat is more suitable).
  • Crimson Rosellas had a huge spike in numbers in 2014 (maybe because there was a lot of wattle seed on the ground?)
  • An upward trend in Echidna and Feral Cat numbers.
  • A drop in Fox numbers in 2015.
  • 2014 had double the amount of Lyrebird sightings than other years.

Several cameras have been left in the same spot for several years and it is possible to compare the results of these sites with the overall figures.

Site: Tarra Bulga – North East

Habitat: Mountain Ash forest with an open understorey consisting of scattered shrubs, ferns and grasses:

Species201320142015
Antechinus0233
Bassian Thrush36298209
Brown Gerygone010
Brush Bronzewing1121102
Common Blackbird510341
Common Bronzewing100
Eastern Whipbird47998
Eastern Yellow Robin012
Echidna5811
Fantail, Rufous100
Feral Cat3616
Fox406817
Grey Currawong100
Grey Shrike-Thrush110
Koala1102
Long Nosed Bandicoot38138
Lyrebird106145159
Mountain Brushtail Possum81016
Pied Currawong200
Pilotbird12311
Rabbit351114
Rattus Species104465
Ring-tailed Possum402
Satin Bowerbird210
Swamp Wallaby553017
White Throated Tree-creeper002
White-browed Scrubwren33924
Wombat275329

Site: West of Balook

Habitat – Forest with an open understorey, canopy consists of mature Silver Wattle.

Species201320142015
Bassian Thrush0726
Brown Thornbill001
Brush Bronzewing1045272
Common Blackbird651
Common Bronzewing040
Crimson Rosella01223
Eastern Whipbird106
Eastern Yellow Robin012
Echidna3102
Fantail, Rufous010
Feral Cat272217
Fox6411153
Grey Currawong351
Koala07930
Kookaburra1039
Long Nosed Bandicoot1703
Lyrebird237510116
Mountain Brushtail Possum46117
Olive Whistler001
Pied Currawong143
Pilotbird057
Rabbit602
Raven Species110
Rattus Species001
Satin Bowerbird002
Sugar Glider010
Superb Fairy-wren010
Swamp Wallaby955374179
Tawny Frogmouth020
White Throated Tree-creeper010
White-browed Scrubwren3183
Wombat541620

Comments: The open nature of this site means it is less suited to small mammals. Popular site for Swamp Wallabies to congregate. Openness also suits many ground feeding birds scratching around or eating fallen seeds. Foxes and cats often pass through. Has been a Koala habitually passing the camera every few days between its favourite trees.

Site: Balook Area

Habitat: Open forest with regenerating Mountain Ash, Ferny understorey with some thick scrubby patches near by.

Species201320142015
Antechinus059
Bassian Thrush9276222
Brush Bronzewing0101303
Common Blackbird03865
Cuckoo Fantailed001
Crimson Rosella0710
Dog010
Eastern Whipbird01913
Eastern Yellow Robin043
Echidna412
Feral Cat42917
Fox136385
Grey Currawong030
Grey Shrike-Thrush010
Koala032
Long Nosed Bandicoot6149168
Lyrebird12314545
Mountain Brushtail Possum957379
Olive Whistler044
Pied Currawong002
Pilotbird251117
Rabbit171445
Rattus Species117923
Ring-tailed Possum1901
Satin Bowerbird601
Superb Fairy-wren014
Swamp Wallaby136184151
White-browed Scrubwren01921
Wombat1082514

Comment: Good site for a diversity of species, some scrubby ground-cover in the area makes it a good spot for Bandicoots, with a high proportion of our Bandicoots sightings recorded here. Also good for introduced Common Blackbirds and Rabbits that like to hide in cover. Like other sites had a big spike in Crimson Rosella numbers in 2014. Interestingly large drop in Fox numbers.

Monitoring Station #4

2015 Lyrebird Survey Report

We always cross our fingers and hope for favourable conditions on the morning of our annual Lyrebird Survey which this year was held on Saturday May 30th.  This year there was no rain but unfortunately the wind was up and noisy gusts were swirling through the canopy.

The logistics of getting a large crew of volunteers up and ready to participate at 6.15am means that we can’t afford to be flexible with our dates so it is a matter of carry on regardless. This year we had 22 volunteers turn up for the count, with most people pairing up, we were able to cover 12 out of our 16 monitoring stations, as is often the case the 4 stations in the southern section of our count area were left out.

Volunteers did a great job of arriving by 6.15 and by the time instructions were given and stations allocated it was still a rush to get into position. I found that the sun was rising and some birds had started calling a few minutes before I made it to my monitoring point at 6.55am.

Monitoring Station #4
Monitoring Station #4

The next ½ hour was spent listening out for birds, at our site we could hear calling from three directions and once bearings were taken and noted we just settled in and enjoyed the surrounds. I noted some noisy Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos moving in the canopy overhead as well as the odd loud crack from randomly scattered Eastern Whipbirds may potentially cause confusion for novice counters. Once our time was up we headed back along the track and soon came across a live sighting of a female Lyrebird (or perhaps a juvenile male?) wandering along the path.

Back at the guest house we once again had a great breakfast (thanks to Torben and Pam). After all the monitoring sheets were handed in it was time to analyse the results. The number of birds detected this year was down, although hopefully this is not cause for alarm; the survey relies on hearing the calls and the background noise of the wind makes them more difficult to detect. We definitely had 4 male birds calling in the survey area with one other likely one. Instances where it was noted that birds were calling very close to monitoring stations, helped to identify some of the Lyrebird locations with certainty.

A big thank you to everyone who made the effort to drag themselves out of bed so early and travel up to Balook to help out, your efforts to help conduct our annual surveys and monitor the local Lyrebird population is very much appreciated.  Also thank you to our Ranger Craig who does a fantastic job setting up the monitoring stations and organising the troops. At the start of the count Craig pointed out that this was our 20th Annual Lyrebird Survey and that he had attended every one. Next year will be a big one (our 21st).

Clink on the link for a pdf map of the survey results.

Lyrebird Survey 2015 results

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