Research Branch Report No. 273

A survey of the mammals, birds and vegetation of Compartment 3 and the Errinundra Flora Reserve, Errinundra Plateau, East Gippsland.  G.C. Suckling, R.H. Loyn and I.O. Cook.  December 1984.  26 pp.  (unpubl.)


This report contains the results of surveys of mammals, birds and vegetation in Compartment 3 and the nearby Errinundra Flora Reserve, on the Errinundra Plateau in East Gippsland. The surveys were made from April 30th to May 4th and May 10th to May 14th, 1984.

The results showed that both areas contained extensive areas of mixed forest and cool temperate rainforest with similar associations of plant, bird and mammal species. Some outstanding individual rainforest trees were found and an area within Compartment 3 containing the most extensive occurrence of these is recommended for exclusion from harvesting. It is expected that more subtle differences would be revealed with further examination.

The bird community was typical of wet mountain forests with rainforest vegetation; the total bird populations were similar in both areas. A significant feature was the abundance of fruit-eating birds, especially satin bowerbirds (Ptilonorhynchus violaceus), which also fed in the eucalypt canopy. Sooty owls (Tyto tenebricosa) were found in Compartment 3 and, although they occur elsewhere on the plateau, they are rare, and recommendations are made for their protection.

Although populations of some common ground mammals were higher in Compartment 3 than in the Flora Reserve, they are unlikely to be seriously affected by harvesting. Arboreal mammals are likely to be more affected by harvesting and were substantially more abundant in the Flora Reserve, where greater gliders (Petauroides volans) were found to be extremely common in cut-tail (Eucalyptus fastigata H. Deane & Maiden). Three species of bat were found in Compartment 3 and not the Flora Reserve and three other species of mammals (short-beaked echidna (Tachyglossus aculeatus), feathertail glider (Acrobatus pygmaeus) and long-nosed bandicoot (Perameles nasuta)) were found in the Flora Reserve and not Compartment 3. However, it is considered all species of bird and mammal recorded (plus some others, especially bats and summer-visiting birds) would be found in both areas with further searching.