Superb Lyrebird Survey – Tidbinbilla NR

Sat 13 June 2015 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 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.


Note that both outing leaders will be overseas between 9 May and 8 June. If interested and for further details please contact Sue Lashko on 62514485 (h), email


Post event report

The twelfth 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.
Twelve 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. In addition, because of the number of volunteers, it was 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 it was reopened. It was noted that there had been a relative recent control burn at the southern end of the Ashbrook trail.
Taking a minimum count, 23 individual Superb Lyrebirds were recorded within the Reserve compared with 6, 14, 12, 12, 19, 19-20, 20, 13, 22, 21 and 24 in previous years (Gibraltar Rocks-4, Devil’s Gap-4, Fishing Gap-2, Ashbrook-3, Camel Back-10); see Figure 1. The total number takes into account two birds counted from the Camel Back and the Lyrebird trails. These two birds were allocated to the Camel Back count. In addition a single bird was reported from the Ashbrook trail and the Camel Back trail. This individual has also been included in the Camel Back count. Three birds were reported from the Lyrebird trail and not included in the totals.

During the survey 33 bird species were recorded, similar to previous years, with the species seen depending very much on the trail walked: Gibraltar Rocks-24, Devil’s Gap-18, Fishing Gap-15, Ashbrook-16, and Camel Back-11, with 12 species reported from the Lyrebird trail. As usual, a greater number of species were recorded from the drier western-facing slopes. All species reports were similar to previous years except for the Fishing Gap trail where the number of species reported fell from 22 last year to 15 Including the Superb Lyrebird there were 3 species reported from the six trails: White-throated Treecreeper, White-browed Scrubwren and Brown Thornbill, with the Striated Thornbill being recorded from all trails apart from the Lyrebird trail.
Species seen from one track only included Common Bronzewing, Satin Bowerbird, Weebill, Yellow-rumped Thornbill, Golden Whistler, Scarlet Robin and Common Blackbird and, of particular interest, Spotted Quail-thrush, Eastern Whipbird and Pilotbird.
Many thanks to the participants and to the authorities for waiving the entry fees.
Chris Davey

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