Skip to content

Uncovering Brogo's secrets

Amelia Caddy
Published 08 Dec 2021 by Amelia Caddy

On New Year’s Eve 2019, the fast-moving Badja bushfire came within kilometres of Brogo Reserve, Yuin country in the Bega Valley of New South Wales. A sudden wind change saved Brogo and its neighbours, but the surrounding region was decimated; the fire burnt through over 315,000 hectares, destroying 422 homes and much habitat. In the weeks and months that followed, Brogo likely became a refuge for birds and other animals that managed to escape the flames.

First purchased in 1995, Brogo was one of Bush Heritage’s earliest mainland acquisitions. At 120 hectares, it is a small but significant reserve, protecting what is likely the largest remaining patch of Brogo Wet Vine Forest – a threatened ecological community – in existence. With steep slopes, dry ridgelines, deep gullies, large granite outcrops, pockets of temperate rainforest and even a couple of hundred metres of frontage onto the Brogo River, it contains diverse habitat types suitable for a huge variety of species, many of them threatened. However, while comprehensive surveys had been carried out in the past, none have been undertaken in recent years.

Now, thanks to bushfire recovery funding from the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, we’re uncovering Brogo’s secrets for the first time. This Spring, Brogo Reserve Project Officer Josh Wellington was joined by local contract ecologists Sam Patmore and Vanessa Place to conduct fauna surveys on Brogo with a focus on identifying threatened species.

Over three trips in September, October and November, the team used a range of different survey methods: ground-based remote sensing cameras for terrestrial (ground-dwelling) mammals such as quolls, tree-top cameras for arboreal (tree-dwelling) mammals such as possums and gliders, call playback and spotlighting for forest owls, acoustic monitoring for bat calls, and diurnal (daytime) bird surveys.

So far, with only preliminary results in, they have detected Gang-gang Cockatoos (Callocephalon fimbriatum), a Powerful Owl (Ninox strenua), Varied Sittellas (Daphoenositta chrysoptera), Dusky Woodswallows (Artamus cyanopterus), and two threatened bats – the Large Bent-winged Bat (Miniopterus orianae oceanensis) and the Eastern Coastal Free-tailed Bat (Micronomus norfolkensis). This, on top of many other non-threatened species including wombats, Brush-tailed and Ring-tailed Possums, Sugar Gliders, and a series of bush rats and antechinus.

The data from these surveys will allow us to better target our management so these species are looked after for the long-term. At the moment, Josh’s days are filled with weed control and feral animal management, focusing on deer, foxes and rabbits. There are also plans to begin cultural burns in the new year, and to deepen our relationship and engagement with Yuin people.

It’s now almost three years on from the bushfires and Josh says the burn areas are recovering well, helped along by good rains. Hopefully, that means native species aren’t having to rely on the reserve quite as much as they may have done immediately after the blaze. But if ever again they need a refuge, Brogo will be there, protected forever.

This project received grant funding from the Australian Government’s investment in bushfire recovery for wildlife and its habitat.

Ecologist Vanessa Place surveying the tree tops on Brogo Reserve, Yuin country in NSW. Photo by Michael Blyde

Brogo Wet Vine Forest, a threatened ecological community. Photo by Michael Blyde

Brogo Reserve offers potential habitat for many different species. Photo by Michael Blyde

Contract ecologists Sam Patmore and Vanessa Place with Bush Heritage's Brogo Project Officer Josh Wellington. Photo by Michael Blyde

Ecologists Sam Patmore and Vanessa Place set up a remote motion sensor camera. Photo by Michael Blyde

The Brogo River running through Brogo Reserve, Yuin country in Bega Valley of NSW. Photo by Michael Blyde

Stories from Brogo

Ferns and rock orchids

19/07/2023 19/07/2023

First time on Brogo

Brogo Reserve is on Yuin Country – so every visit is an opportunity to get to know the lands and waters that my Ancestors knew like the backs of their hands. I'm based in Sydney - it's hard for me to live so far away from Yuin Country. This is something that Aboriginal people feel deep in their spirit and blood, like something tugging you back in that direction, back where you belong.

Read More
Rock Orchids and ferns. Photo by Michael Blyde

BUSHTRACKS 14/01/2022

A closer look at Brogo

Two years on from the Black Summer, bushfire recovery funding is allowing us to survey for threatened species on Brogo Reserve for the first time.

Read More

BLOG 08/12/2021

Uncovering Brogo's secrets

Almost three years on from the Black Summer, bushfire recovery funding is allowing us to survey Brogo Reserve's threatened species for the first time.

Read More

BLOG 31/01/2020

Bushfires update

As we enter a new month, I would like to take a moment to update you on recent developments towards our post-bushfire recovery. The devastation wrought has been confronting. My heart remains with those affected, those still fighting fires and those on the ground beginning the long process of recovery.

Read More

BUSHTRACKS 20/03/2015

The volunteers next door

Twenty years ago, when Bush Heritage supporters helped to purchase and protect beautiful Brogo Reserve, little did we know that two very firm friends of the organisation – and future volunteers – lived just next door.

Read More
{{itemsInCart}} Items - {{formatCurrency(grandTotal)}}