Finally headed back up to the Tablelands to start my official data collection on the 13/6/16. Saw nothing but rain for the first 4 or 5 days but eventually this cleared and we were able to get transects decided on and start surveying! At this stage, I was completing on-foot surveys for Lumholtz’s tree-kangaroos using three different methods – daytime, spotlighting at night and spotlighting with the aid of a thermal scope. The drone gear is still being finalised and customised to get what we need.
I was well aware that we may be up against it to get our required surveys completed in the time that I had in the field – 30 surveys for each method in less than six weeks. By the time we actually started observations there was less than five weeks remaining to notch up 90 surveys (60 at night time). With a run of good weather and the help of Roger Martin and a number of volunteers we managed to get ahead of schedule around the 60 survey mark, and were seeing plenty of tree-kangaroos, possums, frogs, birds, reptiles and invertebrates.
My partner, Eliane, came up to volunteer with my project and she proved more than capable, spotting plenty of tree-kangaroos for us! When she went back home, the end was in sight, but the weather turned against us and we were struggling to find suitable opportunities to go out surveying. As the end of my stay approached it became quite clear that I was not going to be able to see out all of the surveys. Thankfully, Roger and a couple of volunteers put their hands up to offer to finish up the work, meaning our 90 surveys would be completed. I left to come home to Melbourne with 83 of the surveys completed and 56 sightings of tree-kangaroos.