(by Kerry Oates)
The results of our fantail monitoring over the 2014/2015 season show we started the season with 17 pairs, two more than at the end of last season.
Six months later after a long dry summer we had 17.5 pairs and 7 singles. This is our best season yet, showing a 24% increase and at least six pairs successfully fledged young during the season. One pair fledged two young.
Fantail monitoring is another method of checking how good our trapping effort is, technically referred to as non-target impact monitoring.
The first seasons data set a benchmark from which future comparisons can be made, and the longer we do this the more value the data has.
Now after three years we know that there is room for fantail numbers to keep increasing and the overall trend is one of expansion. This strongly indicates that our trapping efforts are assisting fantail survival and breeding success. It is also starting to show up that those pairs breeding in native vegetation gullies around the northern boundary of the Reserve, tend to be more successful than those around the southern fringes, particularly the River Walk area where there is high public use. It will be interesting to see if this trend continues.
Fantail numbers can fluctuate considerably from year to year depending on how severe the winter is. Young birds often succumb to the cold, so the number of pairs present at the start of next season (September 2015) should really tell us something.
Keep up the great work!