We have been fortunate to experience a wildlife survey first-hand over the past few months.
Associate Professor Barbara Wilson from Deakin University has been working in partnership with scientists from Parks Victoria and the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning to survey long-term mammal monitoring sites in the Otway Ranges. To understand the current wildlife population around Urquhart Bluff, we worked with Barbara to position two motion sensor cameras over a period of several months. The surveying examined both a gully and spur location, monitoring 24 hours a day, bringing some fascinating results.
After a period of fine-tuning we started getting some great photos. The curiosity of the Swamp Wallabies, intently looking into the camera as if knowingly being photographed, to the more cunning fox sneaking past the camera opportunity, the results were fascinating. The regular visit to the cameras became one of anticipation to check what new secrets the photos would uncover.
The spur location brought a regular Swamp Wallaby joey and mother, with an occasional Eastern Grey Kangaroo. The occasional fox was seen, with a more regular hare grazing in the camera’s view.
The gully location photographed a wider range of species, illustrating a higher concentration and variety of wildlife closer to the water course than in the drier, spur location. A Rufous Bristlebird appeared regularly, with a Superb Fairy-wren warily flying in for the odd insect, a bandicoot, dwarfing the separate shots of a smaller Bush Rat, plus a great sequence of an Echidna progressively raising its spikes.
The images of a Ringtail Possum were a terrific highlight.
With constant monitoring, the visitation patterns of the different animals at each site became quite predictable. While not in abundance, the cameras did demonstrate a variety of native species in co-habitation, particularly at the gully site.
Janice and Davin Hopper