Category Archives: Bird surveys

Health Checking our Key Biodiversity Areas: 12 April 2019

(shared from Connecting Country)

BirdLife International has identified areas of conservation importance around the world as Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs). This includes KBAs right here in our region – the Bendigo Box Ironbark area. Our KBAs were designated especially for their importance for two special birds, Diamond Firetail and Swift Parrot, and cover both public and private land.

Our three KBAs in the Mount Alexander Shire (VIC) are:

  • Clydesdale-Strangways.
  • Sandon-Strathlea.
  • Muckleford-Newstead – our Muckleford Forest Friends Group bird survey areas!

Birdlife’s Easter health check takes an annual snapshot of the threat and conservation actions of the areas that matter most to birds. BirdLife compares results between KBAs across Australia and around the globe. The results are extremely valuable, especially for identifying species decline and targeting conservation work. For more information on the KBA and the Easter health check process click here.

BirdLife is looking for local people to complete a 2019 Easter health check for each KBA. To assist, Connecting Country is running a workshop on Friday 12 April 2019 in Newstead.  We’ve invited Greg Turner from BirdLife Victoria to take us through the process for our part of the Bendigo Box Ironbark area. Geoff Nevill from the Muckleford Forest Friends Group will also talk about his group’s work in the region.

This annual check is all about assessing habitat and its threats. Anyone with an interest in landscape restoration is most welcome to come along and get involved, whether you’re a beginner or an experienced birdwatcher.

Volunteers Eleanor and Jenny surveying the Muckleford KBA (photo by Connecting Country)


Please come along to this workshop to learn how you can participate in the Easter Health Check for our local KBAs:

  • Learn about the KBA’s in the Mount Alexander Shire.
  • Find out about KBA Easter Health Check – what it is and how to do it.
  • Meet other people working with KBAs.

Where: Newstead Community Centre Mechanics Hall, 9 Lyons St, Newstead VIC

When: Friday 12 April 2019: 9.00 to 11.30 am

Bookings: Please click here

This is a free event, with morning tea and refreshments provided.

If you have any questions, please contact Ivan Carter at Connecting Country on (03) 5472 1594 or ivan@connectingcountry.org.au.

This event is supported by funding from the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning.

 

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Biodiversity and planned burns – DELWP Meeting – Thurs 18 Oct, Castlemaine

DELWP is holding a Joint Fuel Management Program meeting (what was called the FOP) in Castlemaine at the Ray Bradfield rooms on Thursday 18 October between 4:00 and 7:00 pm.  Invitations have been sent to various groups and individuals, so please feel free to attend this forum.

We are keen to have more discussion about the proposed Bruce’s Track burn in the Muckleford Forest. Hearing that the burn was about to happen this spring (not 2019 as scheduled), got us in action, sharing our concerns with DELWP about biodiversity impacts.

The Bruces Track planned burn is located in the bushfire moderation zone (BMZ) which has a fuel management objective of reducing bushfire speed and intensity with the focus on reducing impacts on life and property. The zoning scheme was developed as part of the former West Central Bushfire Risk Landscape and was subject of engagement including a meeting in Daylesford in 2016 that Muckleford Forest Friends and FOBIF were involved in. As a result the BMZ (then called NEW03) in the Bruces Track area was reduced in size.

That’s good news – but what about the mitigation measures for specific species – especially during spring breading and nesting? The ‘sudden’ outset of the burn was a serious worry. Based on our advocacy about known bird species active in the area, the DELWP biodiversity assessment staff have been asked to consider our advice and make recommendations on what DELWP should do reduce impacts. Their initial advice is to delay the burn until autumn, minimise canopy scorch and leave unburnt patches in the burn unit. The burn will now be  postponed until autumn 2019.

We have been asked to add our records to the Victorian Biodiversity Atlas (VBA) – which really highlights the poor state of knowledge that DELWP have about species present in the Muckleford Forest (and other areas too of course).  As readers would know from earlier posts, we have a series of 20 minute, 2 ha bird transects set up in the forest which we are monitoring quarterly and importing our data via BirdData.

Much of the data for the Bruce’s Track area has been collected through other forms of observation. Any volunteers out there who could help enter this data into VBA or BirdData?

 

 

Hear more about Yellow Robins!

Come along to the talk at Newstead Community Centre – Thursday 31 May – 7pm – all welcome and it’s free.

Details on Connecting Country website

Yellow Robins

(from the Connecting Country website)

Eastern yellow robins. A common woodland species. Not endangered. No fancy breeding displays. Easy to spot. So why is Monash University putting so much effort into following every move of these birds?

Well, it turns out they are more remarkable than once thought.

Recently we discovered two unexpected genetic lineages in our familiar robins. These lineages lie neatly to the east and west of the Great Dividing Range. While they are genetically distinct, even with the best pair of Swarovski binoculars the two lineages look exactly the same to the human eye.

Here’s where it gets really interesting. Along the east and west boundary there are sites where the two genetic lineages coexist (e.g., Muckleford State Forest, Crusoe Reservoir, Bendigo). So, they are hanging out together but maintaining ‘genetic purity’. This means that while we can’t see the difference, the birds can.

We are witnessing the Eastern yellow robins split into two species!

This raises some interesting questions. How do the robins know that a potential mate is the same genetic lineage? What happens when they mate with a different lineage? Would they prefer to mate with a different lineage, or not at all? How successful are the hybrid offspring?

Later in May (date being finalised), Lana will be giving  a presentation  as she unpacks what is known (and not known) about the Eastern yellow robin. Volunteers are most welcome to join the field team from the 5-10 May on their colour banding project. Email lana.austin@monash.edu for more information.

For info on the Eastern Yellow Robin Project website click here 

 

Birds and more birds


Over the last few weeks, Muckleford Forest friends have been out doing bird surveys, based on our newly established 2ha 20minute survey areas.

Geoff Nevill has been coordinating this mighty effort, and the rest of us have been exploring and learning by trying – the best way to learn really.

Read about the collective efforts of birders across our area here, and the great leadership offered by people like Tanya Loos and Geoff. This link explains more of what they have all been up to https://connectingcountry.org.au/birds-get-a-boost-in-the-goldfields-region/

 

Birds in the Muckleford Forest

We’ve just started ten bird survey transects in the Muckleford Forest!

There is a new page on our website with all the details. Let us know if you want to join in! We’ll report on results via the website and posts.

Good ‘swiftie’ news from Tassie too – Birdlife Australia is reporting that the Tasmanian Upper House has voted down the proposal to allow logging in 356,000 hectares of forests including 12,000 ha of Critically Endangered Swift Parrot habitat.