Our landcare group cameras are out again in an attempt to capture a glimpse of phascogales as they disperse over summer. The cameras will be out for several weeks so we decided to check that they were positioned correctly and working.
Looking at the photos shows that the camera was bumped and needed to be realigned so I am glad we didn’t leave it too long. In this round the cameras will only record between 8pm and 6am to save the batteries and they only need to work when the phascogales are likely to be out and about.
Guess who was first to check out the peanut butter aroma?
(Note that this monitoring is carried out with the relevant ethics approvals and permits)
a quick sniff
now hold it securely
now for another go
or perhaps a side on attack this time
the tail is an indication that this animal is not a phascogale but a brush-tailed possum
If you don’t make a lot of noise when you take a walk in the bush you may be rewarded by seeing a bird using a hollow. In this case it was a young Crimson Rosella. Quite a few birds need hollows to raise their young so it was pleasing to see this hollow being checked for size.
Young Crimson Rosella
At this time of year Logan’s Beach, Warrnambool, is the place to go to see Southern Right Whales. It is where this species of whales comes to each year to calve and this year has been a bumper year. The site is easily accessed by tourists and the whales come in close to the shore.
The best view is gained from overhead, however visitors have to make do with a viewing platform and binoculars. Last Friday there was a special project underway using unmanned aerial vehicle (drones) photographing the whales.
Southern Right Whale
Southern Right Whale
There is strict legislation controlling activity around whales but Threatened Species Initiative Funding was made available from DELWP, to undertake the photographing of the markings on the new calves. This research required a special permit to be issued to allow the flights over the whales and their calves.
Each Southern Right Whale has its own unique pattern of markings covering the head and once recorded, it makes the tracking of the individuals easier in the future. These whales are listed as Critically Endangered and being able to track them assists in knowing how the population numbers are progressing. Here is a link to more information.
There are also birds and plants to see.
Clematis microphylla Small-leaved Clematis
Tetragonia implexicoma Bower spinach
Acacia sophorae Coast Wattle
If you are quiet in the bush you may come across a wallaby and have a chance to observe it before it sees you. They are quite flighty animals and take off at the slightest movement or sound.
Male Spotted Pardalote
In the Brisbane Ranges National Park on Sunday, I noticed a Spotted Pardalote busy on the ground. They are one of our smallest birds and the male is brightly coloured and as they spend most of their time high up in the tree canopy searching for insects we don’t often get a good look at them.
Female Spotted Pardalote and the male is in the hole
Next there were 2 birds and they were busy excavating for a nest. It was very strange to see a small bid disappear into the ground and then see a lot of soil coming out of a hole. They build a nest at the end of a horizontal tunnel dug into soil, in places such as creek banks or a quarry wall. Some people also find them nesting in a pile of sand left over from a building project. They will also nest in a specially made nest box if it has a pipe leading into the entrance.
Pardalote hole that may be a decoy nest site
Both birds share the nest excavation, the incubation of the eggs and the feeding of the young.
Phascogale photo by Bianca Fammartino
Recently Wombat Forestcare hosted a talk about Brush-tailed Phascogales, Phascogale tapoatafa tapoatafa, at Trentham. by La Trobe University student Jess Lawton. Jess is conducting research on this threatened arboreal mammal, which inhabits dry eucalypt forests and woodlands.
They are secretive animals but easy to identify due their small size and big brush like tail. Continue reading