Lesson 5
Content Review Test

 

OVERVIEW:

Guide for bird outings

The Terrick Terrick National Park

  History of the Park
•  Flora & Fauna of the Park
•  When do you visit?
•  Plains Wanderer Monitoring in the Terrick Terrick National Park
•  Bird Listing for the Terrick Terrick national Park 1990 -1999

Guide for bird outings

It is good to be well prepared when bird watching. Have good walking shoes, your binoculars and/or Telescope, one or more Field Guides, any provisions you need for your sustenance. Be sensibly dressed (Sunscreen and hat when appropriate); wear clothes that blend in with the habitat. Be quiet and observant. Keep your eyes and ears open and seek out the jewels that are to be found!

Take note of Habitat, what kinds of birds can be found in which Habitat. Get to know your trees and flowers and it will help you choose likely spots to search for particular birds.

Study your Field Guides, check up on the birds you think you see. Take note of the shape of the bird and it’s special markings and colours. The shape and length of the beak, the colour around the eye, on the wing, under the wing, etc. When you think you know which Family your bird belongs to, turn to the Field Information section in your Field Guide. Look for the bird on the colour plates. Read the text carefully, then check the distribution map to make sure the bird you have seen is likely to be found in the area in which you have seen it. If all the information provided corresponds with what you have seen, then you have probably identified your bird correctly.

It is good to have some idea of the area, the habitat, what birds that may be seen so as you may take advantage of the opportunities you have to view the marvelous creatures of the air. One special area, if you every have the opportunity to visit, is the Terrick Terrick National Park in Northern Victoria.

The Terrick Terrick National Park

Terrick Terrick, a little gem of a National Park, is in central northern Victoria near the town of Mitiamo . While not a large National Park (about 5000 ha), it is big in terms of the range of rare and interesting fauna and flora it contains. The flowers in spring are a picture, and the birds a delight and well worthy of a visit!

The Park is rich with a selection of rare botanical species. Over thirty plant species of conservational significance are found in the Park, including more than twelve that are listed as nationally threatened. Most of the Cypress-pines are over a hundred years old.

The region is drought-prone, receiving between 250-500mm of rainfall a year, mostly falling in the winter months. The hot northerly and westerly winds of summer mean that annual evaporation exceeds precipitation. Soils are generally poorly drained, and are brown and red clays and clay-loams of alluvial origin, with occasional sandy areas associated with old sand dunes. There are granite gravel deposits around the rocky outcrops. Especially in summer this country can appear very dry, barren and desolate. You may well wonder if anything could live in such a place. Yet is surprisingly rich in flora and fauna.

  • History of the Park

    Declared a National Park only in 1998, it contains the largest standing White Pine (Cypress-pine) forest in Victoria . It also includes stands of Buloke, Grey and Yellow Box, and a fragmented understorey of remnant and often isolated woodland plants (plants such as Hopbush, Gold-dust Wattle and Deane’s Wattle). The inclusion, only in 1998, of a grassland section has added the last significant remnant of native grassland in Northern Victoria, the only such remnant in Victoria protected within a National Park. Plants such as Annual Buttons, Plains Leek-orchids, Murray Swainson-pea, and the Red Swainson-pea flourish in this new section. It also adds other vegetation types, such as Lignum swamps and Black Box woodland, to the range of flora protected by the Park.

    The original Terrick Terrick Reserve was created from Crown Land in 1988. Prior to that time it was grazed periodically by sheep and was mined for gravel and kaolin. Trees, particularly White Cypress-pine, were also selectively harvested, mainly for fence posts. Evidence of these activities can still be seen. In the original Cypress-pine section of the part of the Park, impressive granite outcrops rise above the surrounding woodlands. From their heights there are spectacular views of the surrounding woodlands and farming areas of the northern plains. These outcrops form Mount Terrick Terrick, (known locally as Mitiamo Rock), Bennett’s Rock and Reigel Rock. They are covered in lichens and associated granite shrubland, dominated by Deane’s Wattle and herbs such as Rock Correa and Cherry Ballart. All these places are good birding areas, with Black Honeyeaters observed nesting there in 1999.

    The grassland section was, up to recent times, owned by the Davies family. They used the property for low-density grazing of sheep for wool and fat lamb production. Historically, the farm was managed on a "low-input" basis, grazing stock at conservative stocking levels and thus requiring little need to increase production through the use of super phosphate and other fertilizers, herbicides, bigger and faster machinery and increasing cropping and stocking rates. Other properties in the region that have not followed this way of life have become botanically poor. The Davies’ pastures however, were managed in such a way as to allow a very significant and species-rich grassland to develop. It is of immense conservation value because of the plants, animals and habitats it supports.

    Interestingly, research has shown that a sudden cessation of grazing leads to a change in vegetation structure and a reduction in the abundance of native species, as introduced annual grasses take over the pastures. The new National Park is continuing to allow sheep to graze the pastures, while further research is conducted to see if other techniques such as burning can be developed without negatively affecting conservation values.

    There is evidence of past Aboriginal occupation with midden sites, rock wells, burial sites and scarred trees. The name Terrick Terrick is of Aboriginal origin, although its meaning is not clear.

  • Flora & Fauna of the Park

    There is a sizeable population of Eastern Grey Kangaroos, and other mammals such as Common Brushtail Possums, Swamp Wallaby and several species of bats. Gould’s Sand Monitors and several species of snakes, including a rare Carpet Python, may be found as well. Of course, you cannot get away from the feral animals such as Foxes, Cats, Rabbits, Brown Hares and European Bees, and you will come across introduced exotic plants, such as Paterson’s Curse, Horehound and Cape Weed!

    The Davies’ pastures provide a botanically rich habitat for the rare Plains-wanderers and other birds such as Banded Lapwings, Little Button-Quail, Stubble Quail, Brown Songlarks, Singing Bushlarks, and Richard’s Pipit. In the lightly wooded sections, you may be able to find Bush Stone-curlews, Grey-crowned Babblers, and various species of open woodland birds such as Black-faced Woodswallows. Such marsupials and reptiles as the Fat-tailed Dunnart and the Hooded Scaly-foot are also to be found in this section of the Park.

  • When do you visit?

    Spring is probably the most interesting and attractive time to visit the park but anytime of the year is worthwhile. For example, a couple found a Painted Honeyeater at Mt. Terrick Terrick in the summer heat of January 1998.

    A local Birdo spent an idyllic spring day in Terrick Terrick NP a couple of years ago. The following are some of his impressions...

    The birds were thoroughly enjoying the day too, and the bush rang with their calls everywhere. The park was full of birds, many giving evidence of breeding activity. I was atlassing mainly in the Pine/Box area of the Park, but made a brief foray into the grassland section of the park too.

    Highlights were probably two separate sightings of male Black Honeyeaters and a Spotted Harrier. It was also good to pick up a flock of seven White-bellied Cuckoo-shrikes. Cockatiel were very common, several pairs entering or leaving hollow tree limbs. The usual local birds were plentiful too, with Gilbert’s Whistlers present in most sites, making the bush ring with their calls. The Rufous Whistlers were good competitors though. Black-chinned Honeyeaters were around as were Crested Shrike-tits. Australian Ringnecks were often seen. Diamond Firetails turned up in quite a few places. One of the small number of resident Eastern Yellow Robins also showed itself. (There are not too many west of this area - we are just about on their western boundary). Hooded and Red-capped Robins were plentiful.

    Patches of the Park were full of White-browed Woodswallows, though the resident Dusky Woodswallows were around too. In the open country small flocks of Black-faced Woodswallows were hawking and roosting on dead trees and fence lines. Over the winter months we had an eruption of Black-tailed Native-hens, and some were still to be seen: there was a flock of about 50 near a dam. Cuckoos were very common (a lot more than usual) with Horsfield’s Bronze-Cuckoo being the most common, followed by Pallid Cuckoos. There was one Black-eared Cuckoo. The Rainbow Bee-eaters had also arrived, as had other migrants such as the Brown Songlarks, White-winged Trillers and Olive-backed Orioles. About 85 species were seen in all that day.

    Some local birders carry out periodic surveys for the Plains-wanderers in the grassland section. They work in with the ranger in charge.

    There is a network of roads that take you through the wooded section of the Park. A map and details are available. The official map does not include the grassland section that is on adjoining land to the wooded area. Maps and further information can be obtained from the local ranger in charge, Mark Tscharke. He is based at Kerang, and can be contacted on (03) 5450 3951.

  • In Summary...

    This Park is important in that it protects some of the last remaining native vegetation of the northern Victorian plains as well as the habitat of a range of significant fauna, especially birds. It is a haven for some of our most rare birds and flora.

  • Plains Wanderer Monitoring in the Terrick Terrick National Park

    Special monitoring of the rare Plains Wanderer is carried out throughout the year. The best time to see this elusive bird is at night, under a spotlight. Generally a survey is carried out over two evenings to cover the designated areas (there are fourteen transects in all). See spreadsheet for an example form that is completed for each survey. Notice that specific information is recorded. Things such as Date of survey, Location, Survey Leader’s Name, Other Observer’s Names, Start and Finish Times, Season of the Year, the distance traveled during the search, the Weather (Temperature, Rain, Cloud Cover, Moon Phase), Comments, Wind Strength, Grassland Category, Birds and any Animals seen. A particular note is made of the GPS location for any Plains Wanderers sighted. At times at night at the Survey will reveal no Plains Wanderers, and at others there is elation over 2 or 3 birds found. Once, on a wet rainy night, a male was discovered just standing still with it’s wings outstretched over a couple of its young. What a joy it was to all the observers!

  • Bird Listing for the Terrick Terrick national Park 1990 -1999

    The listing below was prepared from the observations of birders local to the Terrick Terrick National Park and includes several unusual records from visitors (migrant birds), in roughly taxonomic order.

    Stubble Quail Brown Quail Black Swan Australian Shelduck
    Australian Wood Duck Pacific Black Duck Grey Teal Australasian Grebe
    Little Pied Cormorant Little Black Cormorant Great Cormorant Australian Pelican
    White-faced Heron White-necked Heron Great Egret Australian White Ibis
    Straw-necked Ibis Yellow-billed Spoonbill Black-shouldered Kite Black Kite
    Whistling Kite Spotted Harrier Swamp Harrier Brown Goshawk
    Collared Sparrowhawk Wedge-tailed Eagle Little Eagle Brown Falcon
    Australian Hobby Peregrine Falcon Nankeen Kestrel Brolga
    Purple Swamphen Black-tailed Native-hen Little Button-quail Painted Button-quail
    Plains-wanderer Bush Stone-curlew Red-capped Plover Black-fronted Dotterel
    Red-kneed Dotterel Banded Lapwing Masked Lapwing Rock Dove
    Common Bronzewing Crested Pigeon Diamond Dove Peaceful Dove
    Galah Long-billed Corella Sulphur-crested Cockatoo Cockatiel
    Crimson Rosella (Yellow form) Eastern Rosella Australian Ringneck Blue Bonnet
    Red-rumped Parrot Budgerigar Blue-winged Parrot Pallid Cuckoo
    Fan-tailed Cuckoo Black-eared Cuckoo Horsfield’s Bronze-Cuckoo Shining Bronze-Cuckoo
    Barking Owl Southern Boobook Barn Owl Tawny Frogmouth
    Spotted Nightjar Australian Owlet-nightjar White-throated Needletail Laughing Kookaburra
    Rainbow Bee-eater Brown Treecreeper Spotted Pardalote (Yellow rumped form)
    Superb Fairy-wren Striated Pardalote (Both red & yellow spotted forms) Weebill
    Western Gerygone Inland Thornbill Chestnut-rumped Thornbill Buff-rumped Thornbill
    Yellow-rumped Thornbill Yellow Thornbill Southern Whiteface Red Wattlebird
    Noisy Friarbird Little Friarbird Blue-faced Honeyeater Noisy Miner
    Singing Honeyeater White-plumed Honeyeater Black-chinned Honeyeater Brown-headed Honeyeater
    White-naped Honeyeater Painted Honeyeater Eastern Spinebill Black Honeyeater
    White-fronted Chat Jacky Winter Scarlet Robin Red-capped Robin
    Hooded Robin Eastern Yellow Robin Grey-crowned Babbler White-browed Babbler
    Chestnut-crowned Babbler Varied Sittella (race pileata ) Crested Shrike-tit Gilbert’s Whistler
    Golden Whistler Rufous Whistler Grey Shrike-thrush Restless Flycatcher
    Magpie-lark Grey Fantail Willie Wagtail Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike
    White-bellied Cuckoo-shrike White-winged Triller Olive-backed Oriole Masked Woodswallow
    White-browed Woodswallow Black-faced Woodswallow Dusky Woodswallow Pied Butcherbird
    Australian Magpie (Two races: tibicen and hypoleuca ) Pied Currawong Australian Raven
    Little Raven White-winged Chough Singing Bushlark Richard’s Pipit
    House Sparrow Zebra Finch Diamond Firetail European Goldfinch
    Mistletoebird White-backed Swallow Welcome Swallow Tree Martin
    Fairy Martin Little Grassbird Brown Songlark Rufous Songlark
    Silvereye Common Blackbird Common Starling  


Review

It is good to prepare yourself when going bird watching. Wear suitable attire, take your Field Guide and binoculars. Be observant not only of birds - their voice, shape, size, silhouette, voice, flight pattern, behaviour and plumage - but also of the habitat and terrain.

The Terrick Terricks National Park is a unique park in Northern Victoria and well worthy of a visit.

So...

Open your senses, your eyes and ears, and take in the wonder of the bush and its animals - especially birds. Take a quiet walk. Breathe in the good it does us. It brings you near to wonderful things - I believe it brings you near to God. We are more than material and physical beings. We are also spiritual beings, and in the wonder and beauty of the world around us, we glimpse the Creator, and find our souls being led. We need to remember the words of Jesus of Nazareth;"Man cannot live by bread alone".

 



Test

The test is comprised of two practical exercises and an online test.
  1. On an outing, make a Species Survey List.
  2. On an outing, make a Habitat Description List.
  3. The online test Test for Lesson 5
 
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