Superb Lyrebird survey

Sat 12 June 2021 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.


Register with Chris Davey ( MOB 0418679 847, providing your name and mobile number, and the name and number of an emergency contact.

Post event report

The eighteenth annual survey of the Superb Lyrebird, designed to provide an index of population numbers within the Reserve since the 2003 bushfires, was run under perfect conditions with a cool morning, no wind and clear skies. From memory, the first time the survey was run on a Sunday, having cancelled the day before due to strong winds


Thirteen COG members and friends assembled at the car park by 8.00 am with one late-comer managing to link up with the team covering Fishing Gap. After breaking up into the allocated teams we soon started to survey the six main walking trails. This included the Lyrebird/Cascades trail which was 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, 25 individual Superb Lyrebirds were recorded within the Reserve (Gibraltar Rocks -1 (1), Devil’s Gap -2 (3), Fishing Gap – 3 (2), Ashbrook -3 (3), Camel Back -16 (4)). Figures in brackets are numbers reported last year; twelve more than in 2020; see Figure 1. Six birds were recorded from the Lyrebird/Cascades trail of which one was also recorded from the Camel Back Trail and one from Ashbrook Trail leaving four sighting allocated to the Lyrebird/Cascades trail and not included in the totals.


Lyrebird numbers from all trails, apart from Camel Back, were similar to the last few years. The number of reported Lyrebirds from the Camel Back Trail was similar to 2017, 2018 and 2019 with the unexplained drop in numbers in 2020 appearing to have recovered.




Figure 1. Numbers of Superb Lyrebirds recorded from walking trails at Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, 2004-2021. GR-Gibraltar Rocks, DG-Devils Gap, FG-Fishing Gap, AT- Ashbrook Trail, CB-Camel Back, Tot- Total number of birds.


During the survey 38 bird species were recorded with the number seen depending very much on the trail walked; Gibraltar Rocks-26, Devil’s Gap-26, Fishing Gap-20, Ashbrook-15, and Camel Back-9 with 10 species reported from the Lyrebird/Cascades Trail. There was similar to the total number of species last year but with a decrease from Camel Back and Lyrebird/Cascades.


There were three species reported from all six trails, Superb Lyrebird and Striated and Brown Thornbill. The Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Crimson Rosella, White-throated Treecreeper, White-browed Scrubwren, Spotted Pardalote, Grey Shrikethrush and Eastern Yellow Robin were reported from five of the trails.


Species seen from one track only included a single Wedge-tailed Eagle (FG), Satin Bowerbird (GR), Pilotbird (LY), Yellow-rumped Thornbill (GR), Red Wattlebird (GR), New Holland Honeyeater (GR), Spotted Quail-thrush (DG), Grey Currawong (DG), Little Raven (DG),  Grey Fantail (AT), Scarlet Robin (GR), Silvereye (DG) and Red-browed Finch (FG).


Many thanks to all of the volunteers.


Chris Davey

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