A survey conducted by volunteer bird-watchers near Goulburn is aiding the conservation and management of National Parks.
In particular, catching a glimpse of the vivid red plumage of the Scarlet Robin is helping efforts to protect the Kanangra-Boyd to Wyangala Link (K2W).
Volunteers from the Goulburn Field Naturalists Society (GFN) are tracking and monitoring bird numbers and species in the reserves around Crookwell, 40 kilometres from Goulburn.
Members of the GFN are conducting monthly transect surveys in Keverstone National Park, Razorback Nature Reserve and Burwood Creek Nature Reserve over two years.
At around 13 centimetres, the tiny songbird can be difficult to spot and volunteers spend hours combing the trails for signs of the bird often detecting them by their unmistakable song.
Though the bird was sighted it was only in small numbers; it is listed as vulnerable in NSW and is facing a high risk of extinction. The mostly black bird with its blazing scarlet and white chest, and white-tipped wings and tail is being threatened by habitat degradation and overgrazing.
During winter, covid-19 restrictions halted the volunteers conducting the survey which meant it could not be determined if the bird was breeding in the area.
GFN member, Greg Warden said that the results showed how important wildlife corridors are for linking the remaining natural areas across the K2W.
“This enables smaller birds to traverse the land in relative safety from predators by being able to take refuge in the corridors,” Greg said.
“We have enjoyed being a part of the K2W process and hope our small contribution will help in some way.”
By tracking the animals and birds the volunteers from GFN are aiding efforts to protect and preserve species of flora and fauna.
Mary Bonet, project officer of the K2W Glideways the Petaurus Connections Saving our Species project was/wasn’t surprised by the numbers.
“The K2W corridor has lost a large percentage of its habitat biodiversity which is so important for species such as the Scarlet Robin.”
How will this information be used to ensure the species is saved?
The results of the survey will be used to help protect the Scarlet Robin species before they are entirely squeezed out.
“Partnering with volunteer environmental organisations such as the GFN allows us to save these birds and more species. If volunteers can continue to help by completing survey tasks then I am hopeful that we have a chance,” Mary said.
The Southern Tablelands is particularly vulnerable to habitat loss with much of the area used for agriculture and infrastructure, which is stripping the land of nest sites, food sources and foraging substrates.
In NSW, the robin is found in the north-eastern parts along the coast and inland to the western slopes of the Great Dividing Range near Crookwell. The bird lives in open forests and woodlands, and during winter some birds will visit more open habitats such as grasslands and will be seen in farmland and urban parks and gardens.
Volunteers of the GFN help to conserve the local flora and fauna by supporting and promoting ways to safeguard the natural environment. Including participating in local conservation projects around the Goulburn area.
GFN in association with the NSW Government Saving our Species initiative, the Kanangra-Boyd to Wyangala Link (K2W) and Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife (FNPW).