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Project - Animal Identification Advanced

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Henry Arthur Readford
May 23, 2011
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Author/Instructor: auscraft

Demonstrate the ability to observe and record the wildlife in your immediate everyday environment. This will be done within an area covering 1 block of your residence however if you are on acreage of 5 or more acres you will only observe within your property. If you live in an appartment building or similar you may use local park for this activity.

Disclamer it may not be possible to use parks during certain times, also do not put yourself in harms way at anytime carring out these tasks.

Tools Required:
- Bincoulars or similar (not essential)
- Camera (not essential)
- Torch
- Note pad and pencil.

- taking a photo of an animal gives a good reference which can be looked up, rather than relying on memory or notes alone.
- You may also find helpful creating a species list from your state environmental Department for example the DPI in Qld.

- If you already own some binoculars, start by using them. If you think you would like to buy some then consider, binoculars are described with two numbers with an "x" between them such as 7x35or 10x42. The first number refers to the magnification power of the binocular. The second refers to the diameter of the front lens (in millimetres). A larger diameter lens means more light can enter the binocular and the image should be brighter. For example a 35mm lens will let in 3 times more light than a 20 mm. You may be tempted by the highest magnification binoculars you can get, but the down side to high magnification is that you will have a smaller field of view. This small field of view (especially over a relatively short distance) can make it more difficult to locate and follow animals, compared to a wider field of view. High magnification will also exaggerate any hand shaking or instability, unless you use a tripod or stand. Some high magnification binoculars can be quite heavy making them tiring to hold.
Size is another consideration. If you want to be able to hike and take binoculars with you, smaller and lighter will be easier to carry. Some binoculars offer coatings on the lenses, these are designed to improve contrast and reducing glare; however they are not all the same and some may not be effective at all (buyer beware)! These are some of the considerations when choosing binoculars. The best approach is to get as much advice as possible and try out as many different types as you can before you buy.

-There are many excellent books available at reasonable prices. Choose a book with clear pictures. Often books with skilfully drawn illustrations are better for identification than books with photos, because the illustrator can clearly emphasise the key identification points of a species. The book should have a brief written description of each species and indicate the areas where that bird is commonly observed.

- Also look for traces that may prove the animal exists even if not seen.

- Outdoors

Reference Materials:
- BushcarftOz flora and fauna threads.
- Any of the current Australian animal field guides including state specific.
- The internet

Skills required:
- Patience,
- concealment,
- observation,
- photography and
- Identification.

Time needed: 24 hour period of time to complete task.

Learning Outcomes:
Animal identification is a useful skill and rewarding activity. This Project seeks to build knowledge about and become familiar with what is actually living in your local area. This Project shows how to gather the tools and skills necessary and learn about identifying your local species.

Assessment Criteria:
To successfully complete this project you must present:
- A written list of species found and includes any photos.
- Photos of the subject itself or traces of the animal will be used as evidence.
- You must include the date on which the task took place
- A general location.
- A list of references must be done including web links
- Animals that are listed should also be linked to BushcraftOz database for flora and fauna
- Any newly discovered animal not yet listed in BushcraftOz database should be added with note stating it is now added.
- Time the animal was observed (you may see an animal more than once. You can record the time or simply: dawn, morning, evening etc)
- A few words about what it was doing (eg foraging on the ground, walking along a fence etc)
- A few words about what traces the animal may have left behind (disturbed leaves, chew marks, scats, fur caught etc)

- To be completed within a 24 hour period
- To be done within 1block of residence, except if you live on 5 acres or more.
- Record any relevant information and observations made.
- DO NOT interfere with the wildlife in any way.
- Look for any traces that prove an animal is present but not seen.
- Record native and introduced species
- To observe animals you should choose a location which is concealed or unobtrusive (you may able to sit inside)
- Find a comfortable location and sit quietly, no sudden movements or sounds.
- Remember to spend some time at night as well as during the day. Many species are active only after dark. Often the first hour (or two) after the sun sets is a good time to observer these species.
- Pre-dawn is a great time to listen for a bird chorus. This is a time when many birds announce their presence to the neighbourhood.
- Sometimes you may hear the sound of animals, but not be able to see them (eg scurrying in leaves after dark, or bird calls). Record this information too.
-Look up ! Check for birds flying overhead during the day, and bats at night.
-At night possums may climb through trees, often (if it is still) you can hear branches gently shaking as they move about.
Tip: Using a red filter on torch will help with night observations also not harming or scaring the wildlife. Red coloured spot/Sensor lights can also be helpful around the house

IMPORTANT The BushcraftOz members and Moderators do not expect you to interfere with the wildlife causing unnecessary stress or affect its wellbeing in any form including interference with nests, bedding areas or altering in any shape or form of the habitat they exist within.

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Henry Arthur Readford
May 23, 2011
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Sample Assessment for : Animal Identification Version Home Advanced

Student :

Date: This project was completed on 17/5/2013

Location; Wide Bay District Queensland

References Used:

  • Field Guide to the Birds of Australia, Simpson & Day
  • Field Guide to Australian Birds, Michael Morcombe
  • Wildlife of Greater Brisbane, A Queensland Museum Wild Guide
  • Australian Mammals, Steve Parish
  • Kangaroos & their relatives, Steve Parish
  • Frogs of South-east Queensland, A Queensland Museum wild Guide
  • Spiders of teh greater Brisbane Region, A Queensland Museum Wild Guide
  • Kangaroos of Queensland, Peter Johnson A Queensland Museum Guide
  • A field Guide to Insects in Australia, Paul Zborowski/ Ross Storey
  • A field Guide to Reptiles of Queensland, Steve Wilson
  • The complete Field Guide to Dragonflies of Australia, C. Theischinger and J. Hawking
  • The Compete Guide to Butterflies of Australia, Michael F. Braby
  • Rators of Southern Queensland, A Queensland Museum Wild Guide
  • A field Guide to the Tracks & Traces of Australian Animals, RGB. Morrison
  • Pack Manual of Tracks, Signs and Nests, Harry Frauca
  • Animal Behaviour, Harry Fraucna
  • MAmmal Tracks and Signs. A field Guide for South-eastern Australia, Barbra Triggs
  • Tracks, Scats and Other Traces, A field Guide to Australian Mammals, Barbra Triggs.
  • http://www.birdlist.org/australia.htm
  • http://birdsqueensland.org.au/id_tables.php
  • http://www.birdsinbackyards.net/finder
  • http://www.ozanimals.com/index.html
  • http://www.ehp.qld.gov.au/wildlife/wildlife-online/ I generated lists for the South Burnett, North Burnett and Gympie Region as At one time or another my area was included in each area . and we are located at the point all 3 regions meet.
Common Name
Native/ Introduced
Observation Type (visual, heard, track, other)
Photo Y/N
What was it doing/ comments
Tree MartinNativeAll DayVisual, heardYOnly just discovered on property active flyers and darting in and out of hollows in trees. NEW ADDITION TO DATABASE
Black KiteNativeAll dayVisualYFlying about in search pattern
Whistling KiteNativeMorning , LunchVisualYFlying about in search pattern
Wedged-tail EagleNativeMorningVisualYFlying about in search pattern
Brown GoshawkNativeMorning, afternoonHeard, visualYActive searching has become use to our presents except when it is at our chook pens
Welcome SwallowNativeAll dayHeard, visual,nest,scatYActive all day nests on front deck
Rainbow LorikeetNativeAll dayHeard visualYNoisy and active
Grey FantailNativeMorningHeard , visualYSeems to present around winter months
Apostle BirdNativeAll dayHeard visual, nestsYAlways present in yard and active . scavenge food from our chooks
White Winged CoughNativemorningHeard visualYAlways around
MagpieNativeAll dayHeard, visualYAlways present and actively protects it territory
Pee weeNativeAll dayHeard visual, scatY
Double Barred FinchNativeAll dayHeard, visual, nestingYAlways present in numbers recently have nested and juvenilles still around
Plum headed FinchNativeMorningHeard , visualY3 or so feeding in long grasses
Brown honeyeaterNativeMorningHeard, visualYEating nectar from grevilleas
Willy WagtailNativeAll dayHeard, visual, nestYActive around house and hanging with cattle nesting around house
Superb Fairy WrenNativeAll dayHeard , visualYActive around house in bushes
Crested PigeonNativeAll dayVisualYAlways present perched on power lines and walking on ground
Eastern Pale headed RosellaNativeLunch, afternoonHeard, visualYOften seen in numbers flying through and eating
Grey-crowned BabblerNativeAll DayHeard, visualYOften seen
Australian White IbisNativeMorningVisualYLocal to our dam
Straw necked IbisNativeAll dayVisualYLocal to our dam, often in fields around cattle
Royal SpoonbillNativemorningVisualYIn our dam searching
Yellow Billed SpoonbillNativemorningVisualYIn our dam searching
White Faced HeronNativemorningVisualYLocal to our dam
Great EgretNativeLunchVisualYLocal to our dam
Australian Wood DuckNativeAll dayVisualYLocal to our dam
Australasian GrebeNativeAll dayVisualYSwimming and nesting on dam
Eastern Grey KangarooNativeMorning , eveningVisualYSunning on north face of hill
Red DeerIntroducedMorning, eveningScat, trackYActively looking for food water
RabbitIntroducedAll dayVisual, scat, burrows, chews and scratching’sYPlaying, eating.
Truly over run by these this year
Wanderer ButterflyNativeDayVisualYFluttering around flowers
Clear wing ButterflyNativeDayVisualYFluttering around flowers
Blue SkimmerNativeDayVisualYHovering around dams
Cane toadIntroducedNight/dayVisual, carcassYStill active at night
GalahNativeAll dayHeard, VisualYVery noisy and active
Restless flycatcherNativeMorning and afternoonHeard, visualyActive and vocal

  • Findings:
    Being in a rural area of Queensland we have a large variety of wildlife depending on seasons. Although my list appears long I am certain more wildlife is present but being only one person observing and being actively watching larger species many smaller wildlife would have been overlooked. Having been living in this area for a while I am still amazed by the abundance of wildlife within my area.
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