Bird monitoring project
NTVLC conducted a Citizen Science workshop in October 2018, with an associated extra day workshop on Bird Monitoring funded by a Community Skills Development Grant from the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning. As a result of this training the group decided to undertake a bird monitoring project in the Black Spur Creek wetlands area.
The Black Spur Creek wetlands and associated area, is a 40 Ha publicly owned (but managed by multiple stakeholders) area that includes the ex-railway easement – now a rail trail, the wetlands at the confluence of the Tarwin River and Blackspur Creek, some remnant Strzelecki gum forest, a new roadway being built by Major Roads Victoria as part of a South Gippsland Highway realignment and grazing land that is privately leased.
We have been looking at ways we can conduct bird surveys that will help us understand if the considerable changes the area is going to be subject to over the next ten years and beyond has had an impact (hopefully for the better) on the wildlife. Using birds as signal animals we should be able to assess the impact of the road works and the associated offsets and habitat management programs. An associated benefit of monitoring birds is that there is considerable local interest in bird watching and it is an activity that rail trail users are already undertaking, albeit informally. There is also a method for record keeping via the Birdlife Australia survey app which will make our observations useful and available for others to access.
As the rail trail is the means of access to the area, it seems sensible to conduct our surveys along a select length of the track.
The group has had many meetings and discussion about where best to monitor. There are three historic railway bridges that have been restored and rebuilt to allow the rail trial to cross the Black Spur Creek, and the Tarwin River (twice) in the project area. The terrain that is observable from this route varies from wetland to riparian forest and open grazing besides the river. We will undertake regular 2 Ha, 20 minute searches. as per birdlife.org survey techniques. Birdlife Australia has helped us develop the three survey areas. They are
NTVLC-01 Blackspur Creek wetlands, Koonwarra
NTVLC-02 Tarwin River crossing (middle bridge), Koonwarra
NTVLC-03 Tarwin River crossing (Apple Tree wetlands), Koonwarra
Bird Monitoring dates
Our bird monitoring walks are held on the 3rd Wednesday of the month, but we wont be going if it is hot, smoky, super windy, stormy or extreme or above fire danger - so check our FB for updates if it looks squiffy.
Everyone is welcome to join our bird monitoring walk. Meet at our Bird Monitoring project sign on the rail trail at the Black Spur Creek bridge. Check the calendar on the home page for more details. Times depend on daylight saving, and sunset times. We try and give ourselves enough light to see the birds for proper I.D. purposes.
If you have them, bring your binoculars, camera, smart-phone with the the Birdata app installed and appropriate clothing, water, sunscreen etc.
This is a kid friendly activity and is suitable for people with excellent bird knowledge or none. Everyone welcome. If you cannot make our Wednesday outings, you are encouraged to take part independently, using the shared sites on the Bird Data app.
The Fairy Wren Project
Do you see fairywrens? The Fairy Wren Project is looking for citizen scientist partners across Australia to help them collect observations of fairywrens and their plumages. Whether you're a serious twitcher or enjoy seeing fairywrens in your garden, your observations help!
Contributing to the Fairywren Project is easy! You can become a citizen scientist by submitting sightings of fairywrens through eBird, a widely-used and easily accessible online birding platform. When you submit your sightings, include a little bit of extra information in the species comments about what you saw and together we can better understand these intriguing birds.
Useful links and apps
Some blogs you may find interesting...
http://avithera.blogspot.com/ This blog mostly contains notes and photos of birds and bird behaviour observed and photographed in John Hutchison's backyard patch, East Gippsland, and on birding journeys around Australia.
https://geoffpark.wordpress.co...Natural Newstead; Observations of flora, fauna and landscape in central Victoria
Apps available on the Google Play store. (suggestions only)
Apps available on the Apple app store. (suggestions only)