From Bryan Haywood:
Wasn’t the weather amazing over the Easter long weekend? Sunshine, warm and calm conditions, then came the rain on the Monday, what more could you ask for? A team of 35+ volunteers camped out and explored two conservation reserves up in the heart of the Bangham district from Thursday April 2nd to Monday April 6th. This activity forms part of the Restoring Under-represented Ecological Communities project being delivered by NGT on behalf of Natural Resources South East.

The survey team consisted of three partnering organisations, Nature Glenelg Trust, the SA Field Naturalists Society and the SA Herpetology Group, with scientific approvals and survey support provided by Natural Resources South East.

Led by Peter Matejcic and Graham Medlin (SA Field Naturalists) the crews headed out to ‘dig in’ 8 pitfall trap lines using six 20L buckets placed 10m apart, then joined with 60m of wire mesh fence (20cm high) to facilitate capture of reptiles, insects and small mammals.

Fifteen elliott traps and two cage traps were set adjacent to the pitfall lines, baited with oats and peanut butter to entice small mammals.

Daily checking of pitfall lines

Flagging tape showing location of Elliott trap

Ants were captured in small test tube pitfall traps placed out in transects of 10 (per line) at numerous sites on both properties. Five roofing tile grids (50 tiles each) which had been placed out months ago on Eaglehawk Waterhole were checked for reptiles, insects, spiders and scorpions during the weekend.

Checking tiles for reptiles

The sites chosen for all survey sites in Eaglehawk ranged from restoration areas to good quality bush.

Nocturnal surveys were also a favourite with spotlighting for possums and gliders most nights, Harp traps were placed along tracks to catch bats after dark and a UV light trap was switched on using a 12V battery to attract insects to a sheet strung between two trees.

Cath Dickson talks bats

The early morning risers each day were asked to count birds for 20 minutes along twenty 400 metre transects in both reserves previously set up by Cassie Hlava (Natural Resource South East) to find out what birds are living in remnant Blue Gum and Stringybark habitats. Sites chosen ranged from good quality bush to areas being restored through revegetation.

And last, but certainly not least, ‘The Plant Nerds’ or ‘botanists’ were treated with the chance to revisit vegetation plots set up some years ago and re-survey them for any changes or improvements in plant diversity.

So ‘what did you find’, I hear you ask? Well, let me tell you. The results certainly exceeded expectations in almost all aspects – most especially the number of volunteers!

Although the numbers of species need to be finalised over the coming weeks, a rough tally of the different animals groups came to: sixteen mammals (incl 3 bats), eleven reptiles, over fifty birds, over fifty invertebrates (including moths, butterflies, spiders, scorpions and ants), and one frog.

List of vertebrates below:

Common Name

Geegeela

Eaglehawk

Mammals
Common Brushtail Possum

Y

Y

Common Ringtail Possum

Y

Echidna

Y

Y

Gould’s Wattled Bat

Y

Little Forest Bat

Y

Red-necked Wallaby

Y

Sugar Glider

Y

Swamp Wallaby

Y

Western Grey Kangaroo

Y

Y

Western Pygmy Possum

Y

White-striped Free-tail Bat

Y

*House Mouse

Y

Y

*European Hare

Y

*European Rabbit

Y

Y

*Fallow Deer

Y

*Red Fox

Y

Y

Birds (highlights only)
Black-chinned Honeyeater

Y

Y

Blue-faced Honeyeater

Y

Chestnut-rumped Heathwren

Y

Y

Diamond Firetail

Y

Y

Hooded Robin

Y

Red-tailed Black Cockatoo

Y

Restless Flycatcher

Y

Southern Scrub-robin

Y

Southern White-face

Y

Tawny-crowed Honeyeater

Y

Reptiles
Jacky Lizard

Y

Eastern Three-lined Skink

Y

Marbled Gecko

Y

Eastern Striped Skink

Y

Y

Spotted Ctenotus

Y

Garden Skink

Y

Eastern Brown Snake

Y

Dwarf Skink

Y

Mallee Snake-eye

Y

Y

Bearded Dragon

Y

Sleepy Lizard

Y

Frogs
Burrowing or Trilling Frog

Y

Y

The highlights included Marbled Gecko, Western Pygmy Possum, Sugar Glider, Jacky Lizard, Blue-faced Honeyeater, Hooded Robin and Ringtail Possum.

Marbled Gecko

Western Pygmy Possum

Interestingly, the frog called the Burrowing or Trilling frog (Neobatrachus) had only recently emerged from its underground sleeping place and found its way into our pitfall buckets.

A final copy of the list for the biodiversity blitz weekend will be made available soon. If you’d like to receive a copy of our findings let me know. Overall, a fabulous weekend, both socially and scientifically. On behalf of the Nature Glenelg Trust team we thank all that attended, helped in organising the trip, and lead various activities during the four days.

And for the pet lovers, Oscar (the Border-collie) had a fabulous time, he was the social butterfly of the camp, and plate cleaner extraordinaire!! Thankyou to all that looked out for him and gave him a ‘pat’ and your left overs. On the drive home, Oscar had a back seat all to himself, so I didn’t hear a peep.

Bryan Haywood, Senior Ecologist, Nature Glenelg Trust, 0427 001 853, , PO Box 2177, Mt Gambier, SA, 5290

 

 



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