Survey results summary
|Ancient Greenling Damselfly - endangered|
We all like to know what's going on so on this page you can share survey results to help others either simply through interest or building knowledge so that we can collectively contribute to improve biodiversity conservation.
Please contact SWIFFT so that we can place your survey results summary here - that way you can maximise the knowledge gained from survey efforts.
Species: General fauna survey in Surf Coast Shire - Rice Reserve survey 30 April - 3 May 2015, Geelong Field Naturalists Club
Species: General fauna survey, Floating Islands survey 7-10 Nov. 2013 Geelong Field Naturalists Club
Species: Southern Brown Bandicoot - During 2013 and into 2014 Basalt to Bay Landcare has used remote camers to confirm the presence of SBB at St Helens Reserve. More info...
Species: General fauna survey Grampians Bioscan 11 November - 29 November 2012. More than 85 bird species, 23 reptiles, 22 mammals and 9 frog species were recorded and documented in the Grampians National Park and nearby State Parks. More details
Corangamite Water Skink
All sites within the Corangamite and the Glenelg Hopkins catchments were visited in 2011 / 2012; overall numbers of Corangamite Water Skinks were similar if not greater than those observed in the previous year, however many populations are low, some with less than 10 skinks detected.
In March 2012, five new sub-populations of Corangamite Water Skink were discovered near Mt Elephant in the Derrinallum area. Also over the 2001/12 summer, four new populations were confirmed in the Glenelg Hopkins catchment in the Lake Bolac - Nerrin Nerrin vicinity.
- December 2011 to early January 2012 up to 50 Golden Sun Moths were seen flying at the Hamilton Parklands Golf Course. Report via Liz Fenton, Hamilton FNC.
- 4th November 2011 at Belcher St. Nhill, 278 individuals counted in a mass emergence.
- 4th November 2011, 303 individuals were counted at Salisbury Bushland Reserve.
Note: Males are most often seen because they fly over the grasslands in search of the females, which rarely fly.
Species: Australian Mudfish In May 2011 researchers discovered the presence of this species at a new location in the Barham River valley at Apollo Bay. This is a significant find.
Species: Growing Grass Frog 2012 Update
Recovery update 2016
- Werribee Open Range Zoo - completion of predator proof fencing which now provides opportunity for 190 Ha of secure predator free habitat. Also houses 36 breeding enclosures.
- Hamilton Community Parklands reserve - upgrade to predator proof fence with 100 ha fenced off fox proof area. 20 Eastern Barred Bandicoots were released into the reserve in 2016.
- Mt Rothwell - major rabbit control program undertaken. The 2016 estimates are around 600 Eastern Barred Bandicoots.
- Woodland Historic Park - population growth retarded due to hot 2015/16 summer and heavy grazing pressure from rabbits and kangaroos. Estimates around 250 bandicoots. Habitat restoration underway.
- Serendip Sanctuary - a small number of bandicoots held as part of the captive breeding program.
- French Island- a successful trial was completed in 2014 and any surviving bandicoots were captured and returned to Zoo's Victoria. Decisions on further releases to be determined in conjunction with community.
- Churchill Island - Since the original release of 20 bandicoots in 2015 the population more than doubled in size within a year.
Population variations - during the cooler months there is a peak in the number of pouch young, this declines as the weather gets warmer. It is now thought this peak is due to the longer nights in the cooler months and high energy food items such as beetle larvae being more available due to the less compact soils. Previously it was thought that increases in pouch young were due to rainfall alone but results of research do not support that theory.
2015/16 - at Philip Island the summer was a record year, with a total of 17 chicks fledging this season, from both the North and South coasts of the island.
Hooded Plover Results from the 2015 count;
- 585 Hooded Plovers (569 adults and 16 juveniles) counted; The highest densities were;
- Warrnambool to Yambuk (2.44 birds/km).
- Mornington Peninsula (2.15 birds/km).
- Bass Coast, between San Remo and Inverloch (1.63 birds/km).
- Phillip Island (1.19 birds/km).
- Between Princetown and Warrnambool (1.14 birds/km),
- Venus Bay (1.04 birds/km).
Hooded Plover November 2012 Biennial count. This was a highly successful count with 84% of potentially suitable habitat in Victoria surveyed and 568 Hooded Plovers counted across Victoria. The combined total for Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia was 1248 Hooded Plovers. This compares favourably with the 2010 count of 1231. Some locations experienced a decline in numbers and some locations had higher counts.
The highest densities of Hooded Plovers were recorded on the Mornington Peninsula, Bass Coast (San Remo to Inverloch) and between Warrnambool to Yambuk, in Victoria, and Kangaroo Island in South Australia.
A worrying outcome is there appeared to be significantly fewer Hooded Plovers between Warrnambool and Swan Lake in Victoria.
Results from the 2012/13 breeding season indicate there were in the order of 60 fledglings produced in Victoria, which is a significant improvement on other seasons. Further details contact: Dr Grannie Maguire, BirdLife Australia 03 9347 0757
Orange-bellied Parrot 2015/2016
The 2015-16 breeding season at Melaleuca (southwest Tasmania) which is the only known wild breeding population produced 18 fledglings. The population was supplemented with the release 13 captive-bred adults at Melaleuca in November 2015. Only 4 Orange-bellied Parrots were observed over the 2015 winter period, all being at Werribee.
Orange-bellied Parrot 2012 local sightings of interest in the Geelong area. In April 2012 a juvenile (banded at Melaleuca from breeding season 2011/12) was seen and photographed near the main bridge over Painkalac Creek at Airey’s Inlet. Two adults were observed in saltmarsh near Breamlea, in July, a week before the official survey. One adult observed at Swan Bay in September. Reports from other areas to be added soon.
Orange-bellied Parrot 2011 - it is estimated there only about 30 birds remaining in the wild. Zoos Victoria has 75 birds in a captive breeding program. Overwintering record sightings of the Orange-bellied Parrot during its time on the mainland recorded 26 separate sightings of these threatened birds. While three sightings (each of two birds) were in South Australia, the other 23 sightings were all between Queenscliff and Werribee.
Orange-bellied Parrot 2010 mainland surveys. The elusive and critically endangered Orange-bellied Parrot is in serious danger of extinction in the wild. Monitoring by volunteers and researchers at key sites indicates that there are now only about 50 wild Orange-bellied Parrots remaining, and that the species is likely to go extinct in the wild in the next three to five years. There is a captive population of around 160 birds; however the genetic variation (gene pool) of these birds is likely to be too small for long-term survival of a healthy captive population.
2018 Victorian brolga census
On 14 April 2018, observers spread out across Victoria and south-east South Australia to count brolgas at their summer-autumn flocking sites. The count this year had two aims: to get an estimate of the population size through a population census, and to estimate the level of successful breeding from the previous two years through the proportion of young birds counted.
Estimating population size is difficult in nomadic species that range over large geographical areas such as brolga. This is because these species tend to be hard to detect i.e. may be dispersed over numerous locations, and hence large portions of the population may not be counted in one census. This has been evident in the large fluctuations in estimated brolga population size from censuses in the past. The results from a population census are therefore only a ‘snap-shot’ of the population at the time of the count.
This year a team of 15 experienced counters searched known brolga flocking sites in south-western and north Victoria and south-east South Australia including: Willaura, Penshurst, Lake Bolac, Streatham, Darlington, Camperdown, Strathdownie, Bool Lagoon, Rutherglen, Nagambie and Corop.
Unfortunately, 14 April was most memorable for its terrible weather, as a very intense cold front drove very strong winds and heavy rain across south-east South Australia and Victoria. Brolga flocks which had been reported regularly just prior to the count vanished or fragmented and the count results suffered. For example, 150 birds had been reported from Penshurst, but only 54 were found on the day. One hundred and fifty-seven birds were then detected at the same site in the week following the census. Similarly, a reported flock of 100 birds at Bool Lagoon disappeared on the census day, with only six birds detected. The weather also made visibility to see brolgas poor and access at some sites difficult.
In total 377 birds were counted on the day. This figure is well below the last population estimate recorded, however it’s also below or similar to the total birds counted in recent annual recruitment counts, which are only taken from a subset of flocking sites in south-western Victoria (449 birds in 2015 and 348 in 2016). The best explanation for this small population estimate is that the very poor weather meant that many birds were not detected on the day. Poor weather, particularly rain and wind, are recognised factors that impact and reduce detectability during monitoring for many types of birds and hence the outcome here is not surprising.
The results of the breeding estimate (taken from a subset of birds counted where the counter was experienced and confident of identifying different age groups) from the day were encouraging with 13% (32 out of 247) of birds either juveniles or sub-adults (less than two years old). This figure is a relatively high value for Victorian flocks, suggesting that there has been good breeding success over the past two years.
In conclusion, although the population estimate was much lower than expected, it isn’t evidence of a significant reduction in population size, but rather a direct result of the very poor weather. As such, the population census will be repeated in autumn 2019. The positive news from this count is that the Victorian brolga population appears to have again had good breeding success.
Flocking counts 2016 & 2017
In late April 2016 and again in 2017, experienced counters visited the main brolga flocking sites in south-western Victoria. The purpose of these visits, which have been repeated annually since 2008, is to estimate the amount of successful breeding and recruitment that has occurred in the previous two years by documenting the proportion of juvenile and sub-adult birds in the flocks.
In 2016, a total of 348 birds were detected on one day. From a subset of these birds where age structure could be determined, 8% were juveniles or sub-adults. In contrast in 2017, the estimate of recruitment was taken from 278 birds, with 18% of birds being juveniles or sub-adults. The contrast in these two results is consistent with the belief that rainfall is a major driver of breeding success with the 2016 breeding season being a very wet year with many wetlands filling and holding water throughout winter, spring and into early summer.
Of particular note from these counts was the very large flock of 373 birds recorded in the Strathdownie/Mingbool area on the Victorian/South Australian border the day before the 2016 count. Due to logistical issues this site could not be visited on the day of the formal count.
Brolga Flocking 2015 Season Report
Brolgas flock count in south-west Victoria 2015. In late April this year, ecology student and PhD candidate with Federation University Inka Veltheim, and DELWP Senior Biodiversity Officer Richard Hill, visited key Brolga flocking sites in south west Victoria. The objective was to determine the proportion of juvenile and sub-adult birds within the flocks to provide an estimate of the amount of successful breeding that had occurred in the previous two years. This work has been undertaken annually since 2009.
Large flocks of Brolgas were found at regular sites at Strathdownie west of Casterton, north-east of Penshurst, south of Willaura, Darlington, and Lake Wongan while surveys in South Australia failed to detect any flocks.
A total of 449 birds were observed on the one day. The largest flock recorded was of 130 birds north of Penshurst. Of the 449 birds observed, ten percent were juveniles (birds born in spring 2014) or sub-adults (birds born in spring 2013).
In 2014, seven percent of flocks contained juveniles or sub-adults. The lowest estimate since the counts began was three percent in 2009, while in 2012 seventeen percent of flocks were sub-adults or juveniles.
These age structure counts are useful in gaining a better understanding of breeding success in the south-west Victorian population and are considered a better indicator of long term population trends than annual population size estimates.
From these results we are slowly building up a better picture of the population trend and status of our iconic Brolga population and the factors that influence breeding success. This will help in making better informed decisions for their conservation in the future. Source:Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, Barwon South West Region.
Brolga 2014 Flocking Season Report - to be added.
Species: Brolga Flocking 2013 Season Report
The 2013 counts were conducted in late April and all on one day to avoid double counting or confusion in case the flocks moved location.
A total of 907 birds were counted which is a significant increase on previous years.
The following table only includes large flocks. There were several other locations with smaller flocks which are not included here.
|Month max no’s recorded||Location||Est. max. No’s|
Large numbers of young birds in flocks in the past three years and highly unusual sightings of several flocks of sub-adult Brolgas during the breeding season of 2012 both support the conclusion that there has been a substantial increase in total Brolga numbers in south-west Victoria in this period. Recent results suggest that breeding success is markedly increased in years of good winter-spring rainfall.
Species: Brolga Flocking 2012 Season Report This table represents maximum Brolga numbers at flocking sites in south-west Victoria and Boole lagoon South Australia with 448 being counted on 28 April 2012. Boole Lagoon is included here because the South West population is continuous with the Boole Lagoon/Naracoorte population. Notable counts included one large flock at Strathdownie. Numbers for Penshurst were considerably down on the count day, with considerably larger numbers reported before and after this date, for example 187 were counted on the 10 May. Considerable numbers of juveniles and sub-adults were found, with an estimated 16% of all birds counted being either juvenile or sub-adult (less than two years old) which indicates that there has been good breeding success over the past two years.
|Month max no’s recorded||Location||Est. max. No’s|
|28 April 2012||Dundonnell||37|
|28 April 2012||Penshurst||73|
|28 April 2012||Streatham||35|
|28 April 2012||Strathdownie||172|
|28 April 2012||Willaura||62|
|28 April 2012||Lake Bolac||39|
|28 April 2012||Boole Lagoon||30|
Based on flocking counts over the past few years it is difficult to determine trends in the SW brolga population. The smallest number reported from a survey of flocking sites was 402 by Phil Du Guesclin from 2002 (reported in Sheldon 2004), and the largest number of 675 from the year 2004 (Sheldon 2004).
Species: Brolga Flocking 2011 Season Report This table represents maximum Brolga numbers at flocking sites in south-west Victoria. A maximum of 250 birds were recorded during counts in March and April, including 50 young birds (1 & 2 year old). At Penshurst (sites 1 & 2) 6 sub-adults and 15 juveniles were counted which is good news. Unfortunately many of the previously known Brolga sites were not counted due to lack of observers.
|Month max no’s recorded||Location||Est. max. No’s|
|31 March 2011||Penshurst - Sub site 1 Ritchie||121|
|1 April 2011||Penshurst - sub site 2||121 (different count of sub-adults compared with sub site 1)|
|3 April 2011||Willaura||53|
|12 April 2011||Kaladbro Swamp||76 |
Brolga Flocking 2010 Season Report This table represents maximum Brolga numbers at flocking sites in south-west Victoria. A maximum of 401 birds were recorded during counts in May, including 39 young birds (1 & 2 year old).
|Month max no’s recorded||Location||Est. max. No’s|
|12 May 2010||Carranballac/Streatham||44|
|13 May 2010||Darlington||19|
|13 May 2010||Lake Minangil||2|
|13 May 2010||Lake Tooliorook||2|
|14 May 2010||Kaladbro Swamp||154|
|17 May 2010||Penshurst - Blackwood Estate||95|
|17 May 2010||Penshurst - Rentsch's||109|
|18 May 2010||Minhamite||2|
|19 May 2010||Lake Bolac vicinity||17|
|21 May 2010||Willaura||44|
|11 May 2010||Darlington||6|
|24 May 2010||Foxhow/Leslie Manor||2|
There were no brolgas recorded at Lake Bookar, Lake Colongulac, Lake Kariah, Lake Round, Penshurst - Blackwood Lake, Lake Gnarput, Lake Terangpom, Lake Punpundal, Lake Koreetnung and Lake Weeranganuk.
Species: Ancient Greenling Damselfly Transect lines to monitor Ancient Greenling adult damselflies were placed at Long Swamp in Discovery Bay Coastal Park December 2009. In excess of 40 adults were noted at this site. Assistance from Portland DSE and community members has located another two wetlands within the southwest region where the damselfly has been sighted. Surveys will continue to February 2011.
Anyone who has sighted the Ancient Greenling adults at any wetland is asked to contact Di Crowther on 039450 8613.
Results from Pilot remote camera survey in the Grampians 2010
2018 Annual count on 4 May 2018, 839 Red-tails were counted across the cockatoo’s range in the South East of South Australia and South West Victoria.. The count was slightly more than the 810 birds recorded last year. More than 175 volunteers participated in the annual count.
The distribution of sightings was again widespread with one flock seen as far north as McCallum (40km NE of Keith). Flock sizes were also smaller than usual with only four large flocks (greater than 80 birds) recorded.
Weather conditions also played a big part in the number of birds counted on the day due to less than ideal conditions (wet and windy) in both the lead up to the count and on the day - across most parts of the range. Windy conditions make hearing birds difficult particularly as you’re more likely to hear a Red-tail before you see one.
Although total numbers are down, it’s unlikely the population has suffered a mass decline since our biggest count of over 1500 birds back in 2015. Its more likely that birds were scattered widely across their range and simply missed on the day.
In summary, the overall prognosis for the population is far from good. Flock counts, which are undertaken after the annual count and provide the best indication of breeding success. There is a disturbing trend with declining numbers of females and juveniles recorded in flocks over time. Fewer adult females means fewer breeding pairs and thus fewer offspring; fewer juveniles means less birds available to replace present breeding pairs in future. Unfortunately, the last good breeding event was more than 10 years ago. Breeding success is strongly linked to stringybark food availability, with more successful breeding in years of plentiful food.
Source: Birdlife Red-tail Newsletter Issue 47 December 2018 (pdf)
2017 Annual count on 6 May 2017, 810 Red-tails were counted across south-western Victoria and the South East of South Australia. The count was lower than previous years but it is unlikely that the population has suffered a significant decline over the last 12 months. It is more likely the birds were simply missed on the day as they were widely dispersed and flocks considerably smaller than the previous year. Only one flock of more than 100 birds was recorded, east of Edenhope.
Source: Birdlife Red-tail Newsletter Issue 45 December 2017 (pdf)
The annual Red-tailed Black-cockatoo count was held on 7 May 2016. In total 901 birds were counted which is a decline since the previous year's count of 1545 birds. The greatest concentrations of Red-tails (just over 60 per cent of all birds recorded) were found west of Casterton.
This type of count is only possible through volunteers. 77 groups spent over 360 hours searching more than 4,000 sq km of Stringybark forest across the cockatoo's range.
Monitoring of flock counts in 2016 has found that either no young from the past three years have survived to join flocks or that there has been an increase in the death rates of adult females.
Monitoring of Stringybark seed crop across the Red-tail range in 2015 found no new seed crops. In seven years of detailed monitoring of Stringybark seed production the recovery team has never seen a year with so little food for Red-tails.
2016 Annual Count results
Further details see Red-tail newsletter Issue 43 November 2016
More than 135 volunteers participating in the range-wide search for the endangered SERTBC have helped to locate over 1500 birds in stringybark country across the South-east of South Australia and South-West Victoria.
The count, which was held on Saturday 2 May, has proved to be a big success with 38 sightings of birds and eight large flocks ranging in size between 75-349 individuals located. In total 1545 birds were counted which is seventy seven more birds than our previous best tally of 1468 recorded back in 2012.
The result is particularly pleasing given the lower number of birds recorded in the two years previous. This confirms our suspicions about birds being missed in previous counts, rather than the population suffering a rapid decline.
Although the number of birds recorded is the best yet it should not be interpreted as a population increase. The critically small population is believed to be still in decline based on the ongoing loss and deterioration of the species’ key habitats.
This year the birds were again dispersed widely, with sightings from as far north as Mt Charles in South Australia to Rennick State Forest in the far south-west of Victoria.
By far the greatest concentrations (over 67%) of Red-tails were found in the southern part of the range, with large flocks found near Rennick, Comaum, Nangwarry, Digby and Roseneath State Forest. As in 2012, many of the larger flocks were recorded coming in to drink at farm troughs, making for accurate counting.
The largest flock encountered this year, totalling a staggering 349 birds, was found coming in to drink on private property to the east of Rennick State Forest in the days following the count.
The most birds counted on the day (Saturday 2 May) went to the Lord Family, who counted a whopping 272 birds over the course of the day.
Over 70% of the birds found on the day were recorded in or adjacent to tracts of Brown Stringybark forest. An abundance of Red-tails in a particular area generally coincides with the fruiting patterns of the stringybark. Based on this knowledge, it would appear that the Brown Stringybark is carrying the most recent seed crop.
Several mid to large sized flocks were also encountered in the northern parts of the range. Of particular interest were the 100 birds feeding in Mt-Arapiles – Tooan State Park around 20kms south-west of Natimuk. Although the park is within the cockatoo’s range the birds are not commonly recorded in this area.
Other areas in which Red-tails were recorded include Meereek State Forest, Yallakar State Forest, Clear Lake, Frances, Powers Creek, Penola West, Naracoorte Ranges and Lucindale.
Again, there was an absence of birds recorded around Casterton (where two years ago 233 birds were recorded) and around Lower Glenelg National Park. Both areas have, in more recent years, been largely affected by fire.
The success of this years’ count has been attributed to the large number of pre-count sightings and information received in the weeks leading up to the count. In particular, information with regard to drinking sites has enabled team members and volunteers to be strategically placed at watering points where birds have been recently seen drinking.
In addition, the weather conditions on the day where in general far more conducive to searching for Red-tails than last year.
Information gained from the annual count is used to determine patterns of habitat use, the minimum number of birds and most importantly the number and location of large flocks. This information is critical for project staff to be able to carry out annual flock counts (counts of males vs barred birds - females and juveniles), which provide the best and only indication of breeding success.
Volunteer effort was again outstanding with 69 groups spending over 275 hours scouring more than 2,800 kms of stringybark forest for the cockatoos across the range.
The SERTBC team extends a special thanks to Evan Roberts, Felicity Lord, Ros Bradey and Kerry Gilkes for their assistance with promoting the count and getting local landholders involved on the day and Tim Burnard for running the training session in Casterton and organising the campsite at Baileys Rocks and all the wonderful volunteer observers.
Survey results from the May 2013 Annual count. 1118 birds (excluding double counts) were counted in Stringybark forest across the species range in South East of SA and South West Victoria. The count was down by 350 birds on last year’s 1468 birds but it is likely that birds were just missed on the day, rather than the population suffering a significant decline over the last year.
Reports derived from reports provided by Mandy Watson, Senior Biodiversity Officer - Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, 78 Henna St Warrnambool 3280.
A total of 31 whales were photo-identified from Victoria and New South Wales during the 2018 season.
8 cow:calf pairs were recorded (6 from western Victoria, 1 from Gippsland, 1 from New South Wales).
Southern Right Whale sightings 2018 includes weekly summaries.
2017 was one of the biggest years on record for both Southern Right Whale and Humpback Whales in western Victoria with sightings reported from early May through to late October. 28 new whales were added to the catalogue and 4 re-sights (identified in previous seasons) added to the catalogue. Six cow:calf pairs recored.
Southern Right Whale sightings 2017 includes weekly summaries.
Only two Southern Right Whale females with calves were recorded in Victorian waters this season. Both of these were matched with previously identified females in the SE Australian photo-ID catalogue. Also up to 7 adult southern right whales appears to have moved up and down the coast through the season.
Southern Right Whale sightings 2016 includes weekly summaries.
Results from the 2016 photo-ID matching for the South East Australian Photo Identification Catalogue (SEA SRW PIC) project.
A total of 23 photographed sightings 'events' were received from different 14 contributors from Victoria and NSW during the 2016 season. From these 23 events, 14 different whale IDs were obtained. Of the 14 IDs, twelve were whales which are new to the catalogue and two were whales from previous years. Both of these re-sights involved cow and calf pairs, one known as 'Bonnet' a regular from Logans Beach and one which spent this season at Portland was first identified in Tasmania in 2013. The remaining 12 whales were adults without calves.
19 of the 23 photographed sightings events involved the remaining 12 IDs, which means that some whales were photographed on more than one occasion at more than one location. One whale photographed near Gabo Island in far East Gippsland was photographed again off Kilcunda in South Gippsland 8 days later. 5 whales ID'd this year were part of a large mating group which moved west along the Victorian coast from Anglesea to Apollo Bay to Port Fairy then Yambuk over a 3 - 4 week period.
This photo-ID research provides valuable insights into habitat use and population trends within South East Australia.