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18th May 2019
Congratulations NatureTrackers! The first survey weekend (10-12 May) was a great success. Records from all over Tasmania - from Three Hummock Island to South Bruny - have been streaming in - so far from around two-thirds of the 95 squares booked for that weekend.
A high proportion reported at least one of the target species, but we also celebrate our 'Zero Heroes' - including the eagle-eyed Nick Mooney himself, who took this photo of his team out on Harlequin Hill overlooking Lake Pedder. Reports from Zero Heroes are at least as important - they help us figure out which areas are home to fewer raptors, and how much fewer (don't worry! - the maths takes into account the fact that sometimes even in good areas we don't see birds).
So, if you - or someone you know - are still deciding where to survey - what's the biggest difference you can make?
FREE FOR AT LEAST TWO DAYS. While bookings are quite widely spread across the state, we are still missing surveys from some critical multi-thousand square kilometre areas. Can you - or others you know - help shrink these gaps? This could transform the quality of the science, giving us a measure of population size throughout Tasmania rather than just parts of it. Here's a list of some relatively feasible squares which could split these big gaps...
NW - Anywhere on King Island; NW coast - especially south of Arthur River; and inland, for example 4118 (Roger River), 3911 (Holder Plains), 3443 (Sumac Road), 2999 (South of Savage River).
Central bushwalking areas: 1797 (Calders Lookout track/McKays Peak off the Lyell Hwy), 2177 (Overland Track section just south of Lake Marion), 2380 (Lake Myrtle) - more routes just waiting to be figured out by keen walkers!
SW - 125 (Melaleuca)! Also, bushwalkers: 46 (New Harbour), 49 (Louise Bay), 52 (south of the Ironbound Range), 322 (Port Davey Track, just north of Lost World Plateau). 216 (the North Inlet of Bathurst Harbour) might appeal to kayakers? Eagle-loving boat-owners could also make a huge contribution reaching a SW coastal square... (e.g. 589, Elliot Bay; 740, mouth of Mainwaring River).
Midlands: 1448 (NE of Ouse); 1634 (NE of Bothwell - Denisons Plain); 2404 (W of Campbell Town on Macquarie & Valleyfield Roads). In fact, there are lots of areas generally around Campbell Town, Avoca, Rossarden, Royal George for anyone that knows local landowners, as many are on private property.
NE: Anywhere on Flinders Island, 3269 (Burns Creek), or 3050 (Ben Lomond - in a big gap but especially challenging to access!), 3494 (Tayene).
FREE FOR JUST ONE DAY. All other things being equal, if we surveyed 100 squares for one day each year, we would pick up a change in population size only if it was really large - at least 70%. If, however, we surveyed 100 squares for two days each year, we'd pick up a change as small as 30% (and of course three days of surveys are even more sensitive). So - you can make a big difference if you can add an extra survey to a square that's only being surveyed once. Here's a list of some of the most lonely squares (ie in undersurveyed areas) - we'll try to keep it updated:
NW: 4391 (nr Smithton), 4109 (nr Arthur River), 3227 (Philosopher Falls nr Waratah).
Central Highlands: 1807, 1810, 1992 (Bronte/Lake Echo area), 2001 (Steppes near Interlaken)
NE: 3278 (Mathinna), 3500 (west of Mt Albert)
And here's a list of ALL squares booked for only one day so far: 231, 776, 937, 1092, 1119, 1286, 1298, 1451, 1454, 1604, 1628, 1640, 1807, 1810, 1825, 1834, 1841, 1992, 2222, 2802, 2811, 2814, 3017, 3026, 3032, 3257, 3263, 3278, 3284, 3500, 3506, 3691, 3694, 3697, 3739, 3958, 3961, 4109, 4154, 4391, 4542.
Do please note that safety and permissions to survey any of these squares are - as always - your responsibility. They are likely to depend very much on your team's capabilities and relationships in the areas, and in some cases may require use of a 4WD and/or sturdy walking boots. But hopefully surveying in these areas will involve some rewarding adventures!