Strathbogie Nature Atlas Project
In the 1980’s, the Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus funereus), though a resident species on the Strathbogie Tableland, was considered “Rare within the catchment.” according to a long-time, local birdwatcher, the late David Noonan (in ‘Flora & Fauna of the Seven Creeks Catchment’, Ed. F.A.M. Mackay 1993 – see below). In the 30 years since, the population of this large, highly visible parrot has exploded.
Most residents of the Tableland are very familiar with this bird; they are easily identified by their size, long tail and buoyant flight. Flocks of up to 30 birds are commonly seen across the district and occasionally, especially in Summer several hundred birds will congregate to form massive and impressive flocks.
Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos are long-lived birds that nest in the hollows of large, old eucalypts. Research in Victoria found “Nest trees had a mean diameter at breast height of 2.5 m, a mean estimated age of 221 years, a mean height of 58 m and for live nest trees a mean crown diameter of 22 m.” (Nelson & Morris, Wildlife Research 21(3) 267 – 278). There can’t be too many of these giants left in the Strathbogie Ranges.
Breeding pairs usually raise one young per year, so population build up is very slow.
It’s unlikely that all the birds we now see were born and bred here. So, what’s changed? Where have they all come from? Perhaps the establishment of thousands of hectares of pine plantations, a vast and reliable food source, has drawn them here, or is there some other factor at play? And what is happening to populations in other parts of the region?
This is just one example of how the natural history of this district is changing and the only reason we know it’s changing, is because of the observations of a few enthusiasts in years gone by.
The Strathbogie Tableland Landcare Group initiated a project to collect and collate information from residents about the flora, fauna and natural history of the Strathbogie Tableland, in order to better understand the health of our environment and how best to manage and preserve our native biodiversity. With the support of the Strathbogie Ranges Conservation Management Network, this project is expanding to include all areas of the Strathbogie Ranges.
We are starting off with fauna lists, particularly birds, and hope to generate a comprehensive, annotated fauna species list over the next few years.
If you wish to contribute to the project, contact either:
Bertram Lobert 5790 8606
Janet Hagen 5790 4268
(1993, Ed. F.A.M. Mackay, J. Lightfoot, D. Noonan)
We are very fortunate that the Seven Creeks Catchment Landcare Group published this booklet. It reports the observations of several Tableland residents, particularly the late David Noonan, and Jean Lightfoot, among others. The information in the book gives us a snapshot of the flora and fauna present on the Tableland in the 1970’s and ’80’s and a valuable insight into how things have changed since then. Readers will notice that some species have had name changes. The booklet has been out of print for some years, but you can download the Flora & Fauna of the Seven Creeks Catchment booklet (2.2 MB).
Two Biodiversity Action Plans have been developed by the Department of Environment for the Strathbogie Ranges. Though now out of date, these documents collate available biodiversity information, examine threats and issues and suggest actions.