It was great to be back in Tasmania for the new year, especially with a fantastic bunch of students from Griffith University’s Honours College. Since there was an early start in Launceston on the journey out to the north west, we decided to venture inland to discover some of the hidden spots Tassy has to offer. The first being the Allum Cliffs with a view down to the Mersey River, continuing on to a lookout with views of Mt Rolland and a Wedge Tailed Eagle flying overhead. We stopped for lunch at the Leven Canyon with a spectacular lookout 275m down to the Leven River.
On our previous project to the Arthur-Pieman Conservation Area, we placed cameras at various sites south of the Arthur River to detect feral cats. Using this information we set a few cat traps supplied by the rangers and also placed some cameras nearby to monitor animal activity. Ranger Jaime also chatted to the students about the problem with feral cats in the area.
Luckily the weather treated us and the camping equipment well and Tim managed to have early risers for the daily bird walks. We managed to complete a shore bird survey on the spectacularly rugged coastline from West Pt to Bluff Hill Pt spotting Red Capped Plovers, Hooded Plovers, Ruddy Turnstones, Sooty and Pied Oystercatchers. Since the water looked so inviting, the students had a chance for a lovely swim at Sarah Anne Rocks.
We were lucky enough to have time to complete the maintenance of Slender Thistle and Sea Spurge weeding at King’s Bay. It was pleasing to only need an hours work at this site due to the native vegetation starting to outcompete the weeds. As the Shack wasn’t too far away, we recalled nights on previous trips waiting for Tasmanian Devils to come to feed at Geoff’s Shack and checked out the natural history sites nearby.
Fortunately for the students, a researcher from UTAS was trying to trap radio collared Spotted Tailed Quolls as part of their PhD Research and were invited to help out. It was a great experience to see these animals up close and the additional spotting of Tasmanian Devils. The Devil spotting didn’t end there as on a night of spot lightening the students got to see a Devil feeding on a carcass at the side of the road. Further down the road we spotted a few wombats and many dark brush tail possums.
We also squeezed in a fun trip to the Tarkine Rainforest and The Nut at Stanley where we spotted many short-tailed shearwater burrows and a lone Australian Fur Seal in the water. On the final day, we packed the camping gear early to make the most of a walk around Dove Lake at the Cradle Mountain National Park.
As always we would like to give a special thanks to all the students and Kim for their great company and enthusiasm in the field and around camp.