Connections, skills and the potential for ongoing involvement at Walker Swamp through bird monitoring

Beginning in September 2018, Greg taught a Bird Monitoring Course to 30 keen participants in Dunkeld. Once a week for ten weeks Lu-Wei and I travelled to Dunkeld for the course and to undertake various flora and fauna monitoring tasks at Walker Swamp.

Each session started with a field trip where we got first-hand field experience in bird identification in a wide variety of habitat types. The second part of each week’s workshop took place in the Town Hall where we learnt to ID about 300 bird species by sight, calls, behaviour and habitat use; we also covered avian classification, anatomy, ecology behaviour. All participants developed field journal skills, practiced protocols for bird surveys and data handling. During the final field trip earlier this month, we conducted two hectare/20 minute surveys at at Walker Swamp and the results were then used to practise on data entry on the Birdata app.

Course participants familiarising themselves with the use of a GPS to conduct 2 ha/20 min searches.

The enthusiasm and commitment of the participants, who came from a broad range of backgrounds, was great to witness, as was Greg’s passion for sharing his knowledge and engaging citizens in science – this was certainly a major reason for the success of the workshop series.

Evening walk to gain experience in identifying birds in the field.

Although the official program has come to an end, we are hoping that some of the participants will be keen to use their new found skills and knowledge to assist with bird surveys at NGT Reserves, and hopefully become an important part of long-term bird monitoring and data collection around the Walker Swamp area.

We would like to thank all the participants and Greg for the time, passion and commitment that went into this program.

This project was part of NGT’s Educational and Citizen Science Project at Walkers Swamp funded by the Australian Government – National Landcare Program

Nicole Mojonnier