Superb Lyrebird survey

Sat 15 June 2019 08:00am

Chris Davey

Since the January 2003 bushfires Peter Fullagar and Chris Davey have been monitoring the return of the Superb Lyrebird to an area of the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve.  They wish to get an idea of the present distribution within the Reserve and are asking COG members to join them for a morning’s survey.  They are calling for expressions of interest to join them at 8.00am at the Reserve car park to walk the trails and to record the location of calling birds.  Depending on the trails walked the survey should take about three hours.

This outing will be a repeat of the very successful surveys conducted at this time of the year since 2004.  For previous survey results see Gang-gang p7, July 2018.

Chris Davey ( MOB 0418679 847

Post event report

The sixteenth annual survey of the Superb Lyrebird was run under perfect conditions with a cool morning, no wind and clear skies. The survey is designed to provide an index of population numbers within the Reserve since the 2003 bushfires.

Ten COG members and friends were assembled at the car park by 8.00 am and after breaking up into teams we soon started to survey the five main walking trails. Although volunteer numbers were down and two of the trails were surveyed by single observers it was still possible to also survey the Lyrebird trail.  The trail is not part of the original five because it was not until sometime after the 2003 fire that the trail was reopened.

Taking a minimum count, 28 individual Superb Lyrebirds were recorded within the Reserve (Gibraltar Rocks-1 (1), Devil’s Gap-1 (1), Fishing Gap-6 (3), Ashbrook-4 (4), Camel Back-16 (16)). Figures in brackets are numbers reported last year, in total three more than in 2017; see Figure 1. Five birds were recorded from the Lyrebird/Cascades trail of which four were also recorded from the Camel Back trail leaving one sighting allocated to the Lyrebird/Cascades trail and not included in the totals.

During the survey 33 bird species were recorded with the number seen depending very much on the trail walked; Gibraltar Rocks-26, Devil’s Gap-9, Fishing Gap-18, Ashbrook-12, and Camel Back-7 with 10 species reported from the Lyrebird/Cascades trail. There was an increase in the total number of species from 29 last year with an increase from Gibraltar Rocks and Fishing Gap and a decrease for the remaining trails.

There were two species reported from the six trails, Superb Lyrebird and White-throated Treecreeper.  Sulphur-crested Cockatoo and Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo were heard from all trails except Devil’s Gap.

Species seen from one track only included Galah, Little Raven, Wonga Pigeon, Superb Fairy-wren, Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike, Spotted Pardalote, Spotted Quail-thrush, Weebill, Buff-rumped Thornbill, Grey Currawong, Australian King-Parrot and Grey Fantail. Of additional interest was a flock of 22 Gang-gang Cockatoos on the Ashbrook trail.

Many thanks to all of the volunteers.

Chris Davey


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