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Annual Koala Survey. June 17, 2023      

The Friend’s Annual koala count this year was held at the usual site at Grey River Road. Ten people signed on for the walk, and we drove to Kennett River for morning tea. We then drove up Grey River Road where the walk commenced at the National Parks sign.

Group with sign
Ready for start of survey

The group then walked along the road searching on both sides for koalas

Walking along track

Looking up

We noticed however that an area along the right side of the road had been burnt as part of the forest fuel management program. The burn was mainly confined to the undergrowth, so there was minimal fire damage to the tall trees.

Signs of recent burn
Signs of recent burn

The weather was mainly sunny but with strong, gusty winds which persisted for the most of the walk.  But the weather had little bearing on the fact that we did not see any koalas except for one just above the carpark where we commenced the walk.  By the time we turned to go up onto the powerline ridge, we had seen only three koalas.




After lunch on our return walk we managed another three sightings, giving us a grand total of six.

One very surprising observation occurred along the Grey River Road portion of the walk.  A Blue Gum growing close to the road, had numerous cuts made by Yellow-bellied gliders resulting in a flow of sap.  We watched as Eastern Spinebills kept flying to the cut and feeding on the sap. We have known that New Holland Honeyeaters make use of the sap flow, and it was interesting to see that Eastern Spinebills also derive nourishment from this source by the same means.

Eastern Spinebill
Eastern Spinebill

It is interesting to speculate on why the numbers are so low.  We did notice that the trees along the ridge on the coast side have very dense foliage making is almost impossible to see koalas, so it is very likely we missed some.   However it appears that the numbers are generally well down on past years.

It was a good day out, and everyone enjoyed activity.

Report by Kaye Traynor