VMRG Reporting Back Weekend
The Victorian Malleefowl Recovery Group will hold its annual Reporting Back Weekend on Saturday 5 April. One big topic for discussion will be the recent fires that destroyed so much Malleefowl habitat.
The Reporting Back Weekend will be held at the Tooleybuc Sporting and Recreation Club, Lockhart Road Tooleybuc NSW, followed by a field trip to O’Brees (Trust For Nature property) on Sunday 6 April, led by members of the Mid Murray Field Naturalists.
The Reporting Back weekend is the opportunity for members and friends to hear about the success of the VMRG’s annual monitoring program for 2013-14, where volunteers visit over 1200 malleefowl nest sites at over 40 sites across its range in northwest Victoria. It will once again feature Dr Joe Benshemesh to present the Annual Report on Malleefowl Monitoring in Victoria 2013-14. Joe will also provide an update on the motion capture cameras installed in Wandown. Other speakers will include Dr Kathryn Schneider of Parks Victoria on the impact of the Mallee fires, and Dr Ian Sluiter on Landscape Linkages for Malleefowl Conservation.
Anecdotally, 2013 malleefowl breeding results have been patchy in Victoria, but overall the number of active mounds was off the exceptional highs recorded in 2012. Moreover, the ongoing threat of habitat loss and climate change has been underlined in recent weeks, with the near-complete loss of Bronzewing and Paradise Flora and Fauna Reserves to bushfire, as well as impacts to sites in Wyperfeld and Murray Sunset National Parks. Bronzewing in particular will have a significant impact as it was home to one of the most successful breeding populations in the state. Birds inhabiting fire-affected areas now face displacement for a decade or longer, until suitable breeding habitat regenerates.
The Reporting Back Weekend will also discuss plans for the VMRG’s winter program of site searching. In the Wimmera, surveying of existing sites will continue, while in the Mallee VMRG intends to establish a new site in the vicinity of Patchewollock, possibly in the Bronzewing-Wyperfeld wildlife corridor. Thereafter our next big event will be the annual Training Weekend on 11-12 October.
The Victorian Malleefowl Recovery Group, Inc., is a volunteer conservation organisation dedicated to preserving and conserving the iconic Malleefowl, Leipoa ocellata, of the Australian inland. Monitors visit nest sites recorded on GPS and collect data on nest activity, vegetation, competitor and predator species presence (such as fox scat collection.) The information collected adds to a data set established by Dr Joe Benshemesh, which has been monitored annually in some locations for 25 years. It is widely recognised as one of the most significant and successful biodiversity research programs to be supported entirely by volunteer effort in the world.