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Published September 14th 2016
Lyrebirds Are Not As Elusive As You Might Think
Lyrebirds have long captured our imagination. A lyrebird is featured on our ten cent coin and a stylised lyrebird features on both sides of our one hundred dollar note. A lyrebird was the subject of a one shilling postage stamp first issued in 1932 and the New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Services has a lyrebird as its logo.
Lyrebird by convict artist Richard Browne painted in 1813 (State Library of New South Wales CC BY-SA 3.0 au via Wikimedia Commons)
The male superb lyrebird has a magnificent lyre-like, lacy, plumed tail which he fans out and raises above his head during his courtship dance. In the early 1800's lyrebirds were known as peacock-wrens and Australian birds-of-paradise.
About the size of a pheasant or a rooster, the bird is renowned not only for its beautiful tail but for its ability to mimic the calls of other birds. Lyrebirds roost in the trees but build mound shaped nests on the ground. They can fly but spend most of their time scratching about on the forest floor and this is where you are most likely to see them.
A male superb lyrebird (Photo by Melburnian CC-BY-SA-3.0 via Wikimedia Commons)
The joy of seeing a lyrebird in the wild may not be as elusive a dream as it first sounds. The superb lyrebird is commonly found in Eastern Australian native forests in Victoria and New South Wales. Melburnians are spoilt for choice as there are a number of places in the Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges and in South Gippsland which are known for lyrebird sightings.
A lyrebird features on a postcard c1920 - 1954 (Photo in the Public Domain via the State Library of Victoria)
1. The Eastern Sherbrooke Forest Walk is an easy to moderate 7.1km, 2 hour loop walk through an area boasting the highest density of superb lyrebirds. The walk begins and finishes at Grants Picnic Ground at 70 Monbulk Rd, Kallista, which is itself quite an attraction as it has a bird feeding area. Visitors can purchase appropriate feed and a token for the feeding area where they can get close to wild birds such as sulphur crested cockatoos, rosellas, and lorikeets. The walk passes through forest and cleared areas and initially follows Lyrebird Track. For more information download a Parks Victoria Fact Sheet.
Sherbrooke Forest (Photo by Patche99z Public domain via Wikimedia Commons)
2.Eagles Nest Walk is a 3km, 1 to 2 hour loop walk commencing at the Valley Picnic Ground via Boundary Road (off Silvan Road), Olinda. It proceeds via the Eagles Nest Picnic Ground, Hermons Track and Georges Track. Visitors often see the superb lyrebirds here along with gang-gang cockatoos and perhaps even wedge-tailed eagles. The walk traverses messmate and eucalypt forest, fern gullies, footbridges, and skirts around the Lyrebird Creek gully.
Lyrebird scratching in Sherbrooke Forest (Photo by Rexness CC BY-SA 2.0via Wikimedia Commons)
3.The Olinda Creek Walking Track is a moderate walk of 5.6kms and 2 hours one way from Silvan to Mount Evelyn. At the Silvan end the track begins Stonyford Road, Silvan, in the Overflow carpark opposite Silvan Reservoir Park. At the Mount Evelyn end it is accessed via Tramway Road after parking at Mt. Evelyn Recreation Reserve. If the full walk isn't your cup of tea two shorter loop walks can be taken from Mount Evelyn, The Messmate Walking Track and the Grey Gum Walking Track. Scratchings at the edge of the track may hint at the presence of the Superb Lyrebird. Walk quietly to increase your chances of seeing lyrebirds, echidnas, wallabies and other wildlife. For more information download a Parks Victoria Fact Sheet.
The lyrebird (By Internet Archive Book Images No restrictions, via Wikimedia Commons)
4.The Lyrebird Forest Walk is in the Mirboo North Regional Park off the Strezlecki Highway just north of Mirboo North on the way to Morwell. This signed easy 4.8km walk which begins and ends in the car park takes about an hour and a half. The track follows the little Morwell River for around a kilometre where you will be walking among eucalypt, scrub and ferns. It then skirts the edge of the forest before linking with the track to Coral Fern Gully and finally back to the carpark. Lyrebirds thrive in the native forests in the Mirboo North area; look for them in the dense scrub along the track. Keep an eye open for other native birds and animals such as kookaburras, rosellas, kangaroos and echidnas. For more information check the website or ring Parks Victoria in Traralgon on (03) 5172 2111.
A female lyrebird (Photo from Parks Victoria Facebook Page)
5.The Badger Weir Walks commence at the Badger Weir Picnic Grounds on Badger Weir Rd, Badger Creek. Parks Victoria notes the superb lyrebird is easily seen in this area. There are two easy 1.1km, 30 minute walks, Badger Weir via Lyrebird Track and Badger Weir via Coranderrk Track and a moderate 1.4km, 30 minute walk, Badger Weir via Slip Creek Track.