Survey trip

Ravensbourne National Park

Black-faced monarch (Monarcha melanopsis) Photo: Tony Bond

Ravensbourne National Park consists mainly of rainforest with some sections of emerging eucalypt forest as well. This was our first group excursion into a rainforest area and it didn’t disappoint.

Fig tree in the fog at the Cedar creek day use area

It was a foggy day to start with, but the prediction was for it to lift and we assembled at the Blackbean picnic area.

Map at the Blackbean picnic area

Looking at the map before we left we had high hopes of making it all the way to Buaraba Creek, but the bird life was so thick we didn’t even get half that way – not that that worried us though!

We followed the Rainforest track and then Palm Creek track before stopping at a clearing part of the way on to the Buaraba Creek track.

Female Golden whistler (Pachycephala pectoralis) Photo: Tony Bond

Because we were covering such a large area we decided to make the first survey a 500 m radius (approx 79 Ha) search.

This is the bird list for this first survey

Australian Brush-turkeyAlectura lathami
Australian King-ParrotAlisterus scapularis
Bar-shouldered DoveGeopelia humeralis
Black-faced Cuckoo-shrikeCoracina novaehollandiae
Black-faced MonarchMonarcha melanopsis
Brown Cuckoo-DoveMacropygia phasianella
Brown GerygoneGerygone mouki
CicadabirdEdolisoma tenuirostris
Crimson RosellaPlatycercus elegans
Eastern KoelEudynamys orientalis
Eastern SpinebillAcanthorhynchus tenuirostris
Eastern WhipbirdPsophodes olivaceus
Eastern Yellow RobinEopsaltria australis
GalahEolophus roseicapilla
Golden WhistlerPachycephala pectoralis
Green CatbirdAiluroedus crassirostris
Grey FantailRhipidura fuliginosa
Grey Shrike-thrushColluricincla harmonica
Large-billed ScrubwrenSericornis magnirostra
Laughing KookaburraDacelo novaeguineae
Leaden FlycatcherMyiagra rubecula
Lewin’s HoneyeaterMeliphaga lewinii
Magpie-larkGrallina cyanoleuca
MistletoebirdDicaeum hirundinaceum
Pied ButcherbirdCracticus nigrogularis
Pied CurrawongStrepera graculina
Rainbow LorikeetTrichoglossus moluccanus
Red-browed FinchNeochmia temporalis
Regent BowerbirdSericulus chrysocephalus
Rose-crowned Fruit-DovePtilinopus regina
Rufous FantailRhipidura rufifrons
Russet-tailed ThrushZoothera heinei
Sacred KingfisherTodiramphus sanctus
Satin BowerbirdPtilonorhynchus violaceus
Scaly-breasted LorikeetTrichoglossus chlorolepidotus
Shining Bronze-CuckooChalcites lucidus
SilvereyeZosterops lateralis
Spangled DrongoDicrurus bracteatus
Spotted PardalotePardalotus punctatus
Varied TrillerLalage leucomela
Whistling KiteHaliastur sphenurus
White-browed ScrubwrenSericornis frontalis
White-headed PigeonColumba leucomela
White-throated TreecreeperCormobates leucophaea
Wonga PigeonLeucosarcia melanoleuca

Scot brought his audio equipment and recorded calls from

Brown cuckoo dove Rose crowned fruit dove
Wompoo fruit dove
Large billed scrubwren
Brown Gerygone
Green Catbird
Grey shrike thrush

to add to his collection of bird calls from the Toowoomba region

We did a 20 minute/2 Ha search along the middle section of the Buaraba Creek track and recorded the following 13 species

Crimson RosellaPlatycercus elegans
White-throated TreecreeperCormobates leucophaea
Lewin’s HoneyeaterMeliphaga lewinii
Brown ThornbillAcanthiza pusilla
Black-faced Cuckoo-shrikeCoracina novaehollandiae
Golden WhistlerPachycephala pectoralis
Grey Shrike-thrushColluricincla harmonica
Eastern WhipbirdPsophodes olivaceus
Rufous FantailRhipidura rufifrons
Grey FantailRhipidura fuliginosa
Black-faced MonarchMonarcha melanopsis
Eastern Yellow RobinEopsaltria australis
SilvereyeZosterops lateralis

By this stage it was pretty much time for lunch so we went to the Cedar Block day use area and had refresh then did the shorter Cedar block circuit, and these sightings were added into the first 500m radius search as they fell with in that 79 Ha region. Paradise riflebirds have been seen on this track but no luck today but it was still a fruitful little track to look through.

All up we counted 46 species and 182 individual birds in the 2 surveys we did. The full details of our surveys can be found here.

An interesting phenomenon we’re noticing with our surveys is Zipf’s law in the frequency rank distribution of the birds we’re seeing. Roughly if the most popular bird is seen n times, the next most popular birds are n/2 then the third most popular are n/3 etc. Here is all the birds we saw at Ravensbourne ranked by frequency (click to enlarge):

I’m not sure what the ecological significance of this is – it might be a sign of a healthy ecosystem, but remember these are only the birds we detect, not all the ones that are there.

The following are all photos that Tony took on the day

Grey fantail (Rhipidura albiscapa) Photo: Tony Bond
Spangled drongo (Dicrurus bracteatus) Photo: Tony Bonbd
Brown gerygone (Gerygone mouki) Photo: Tony Bond
Eastern yellow robin (Eopsaltria australis) Photo: Tony Bond
Large-billed scrubwren (Sericornis magnirostra) Photo: Tony Bond
Red-browed finch (Neochmia temporalis) Photo: Tony Bond
White-browed scrubwren nest
Lace monitor – (Varanus varius) Photo: Tony Bond