Exploring Ferguson Valley

My family took a short farmstay in Ferguson Valley in the aptly named Ferguson Farmstay.  We wanted to do something special for Liam my 2 year old – just before his baby sister arrives in Oct.  He loves animals and is an up and coming twitcher – he can identify 7-8 different birds but everything black and white is a Magpie.  It makes me pretty proud when he points and says IBIS!

Liam had a great time with the animals and experienced a little of the farm life.

I managed to get out a couple of nights.  The first night I went spotlighting around the farm – they said there was some wildlife around but it was a cold, wet night – perfect for frogs but not really appealing for mammals.  I heard heaps of Quacking Frogs with the odd Clicking Frog as well.

It took me a little while to find them but they were hiding in a roadside ditch right next to the farm!  I think the top left image might be a Clicking Froglet but I didn’t get a shot of its belly to tell it apart from the Quackers..

I found heaps of frogs that night – most of them where near  where the farm leaves a lot of junk and machinery – not entirely pristine frog habitat!

On the middle day I had a great time watching a Nankeen Kestrel soaring over the valley below our shallow – later I saw a Black-shouldered Kite but wasn’t able to get a shot.  I was pleased with the kestrel!

20160723-102A4660

On the 3rd night I went into the start of Wellington National Park just near the parking for the Mt Leonard Mountain biking.

I managed to spot a nice brushtail possum.

I also saw 3 Western Grey Kangaroos but they were too far off to get a decent shot.  I also spotted this motorbike frog with just eyeshine.

20160724-102A4784

On getting towards the end I saw another possum that I managed to get a little closer to before it went high into the tree.

I then left did some more frog recordings where there must have been water on private land – this was from the road.

I finally then looked for more frogs at the farmstay.

On the last day we had a little visitor to our chalet outdoor area – a Welcome Swallow (though not that welcomed here!) – ignoring the fake kite that was meant to scare them away!

20160725-102A4839

All in all a great few days away – next time I will have to put in some more research into where in the national park to go – the mountain bike trail was right at the edge of the NP and probably had fewer animals than somewhere deeper in.

 

Advertisements

Spotlighting in Sydney

I had to go to Sydney for a work trip so I thought I needed to squeeze in a quick bit of wildlife watching.  I don’t really know any good places there so I posted on the Australian Mammal Watching facebook group a request for info.  One of the members Jayden kindly offered to take me to his local wetland saying he had seen 10+ mammal species there and could almost guarantee spotting a Common bentwing bat – cool!

I flew from Perth beyond early and got into Sydney at lunchtime.  I then headed on a bus an hour North to Warriewood Wetlands.  Jayden met me and we walked straight into the wetlands.  They have pretty much surrounded by housing but there is a lot of wildlife for a pretty small area – most of it has boardwalks and also dirt paths.

We immediately saw new birds for me – Eastern Yellow Robin, Brown Gerygone and even a Topknot Pidgeon which was supposedly rare for the region – we also saw a fair few Australia Brush-turkeys which I had seen in previous trips to Queensland.

We then went to the Common bentwing roost which was a under road stream crossing where the bats had taken up home in cracks between the large concrete pipes – you would never find them without local expert advice!  It was fiddly to get a shot and we really didnt want to disturb them before it was wakeup time! The bodies were mouse sized and there was 10-12 that we could see.

20160710-102A4372-resize

Roosting bentwing bat

We then kept walking and then saw that the bats about 4-5 all up had woken up and were feeding with some Welcome Swallows – awesome to see with still some light in the sky.  It tried my bat detector a cheap one the “Bat Seeker 2”- I hadn’t been that happy with it previously but we could clearly hear the calls from the bats and also their call change when they had found some bug to target and catch.

20160710-102A4390-resize

Common bentwing bat feeding

We then heard something crashing in the undergrowth and saw a juvenile swamp wallaby leap across the path and then stop to check us out.

It was getting darker and we saw a brushtail possum come of of its hollow and also a grey-headed fruit bat in the same tree – they were too far off for a photo.  We then spotted this Common (Eastern) ringtail possum that looked like it might be carrying young as the pouch looked full.

We kept walking looking for long-nosed bandicoot but only saw some feral rabbits.  We kept walking and then spotted this shy little long-nosed bandicoot – another new species for me!  We had also seen a domestic cat with a bell – sure it was up to no good in the reserve.

 

20160710-102A4410-resize

Along another path I spotted a small grey mammal shoot up a tree – we got the light on it and Jayden said it was a Sugar gilder – Wow! It didnt stick around for a photo – I just got a empty tree trunk 😦 but we got 2 views of it gliding between trees.

We kept going looking out for rats to add some extra mammals and saw a little brown rat like thing jump from the ground onto a tree trunk – its body shape was all wrong for a black or brown rat – it was a Brown Antechinus!  No photos again as it hid itself very well.

We had checked out a few of the lakes there as Jayden had seen large-footed Myotis there before – its a type of fishing bat with big feet to catch fish off the water surface.  We hadn’t much luck at a few of them but then saw a fluttering kind of like a large moth but flying more like a bird – it was a Myotis – it didn’t catch anything from the surface but it was obviously catching insects on the wing.  Using the detector we could hear their calls and again the change when they had located something as they narrowed in to get its exact location.

I made a couple of recordings of the frog calls – mainly Common Eastern Froglets another Crinia species but also occasional Striped Marsh Frog we we saw some later on.

We spotted a black rat scurrying in the undergrowth and that was 11 species for the evening – the only one that Jayden had seen before that we missed was a Brown rat – which I didn’t mind missing.

This was another ringtail we saw that let us come very close.

Our list for the evening was (* show new lifers for me)

  • Common bentwing bat*
  • Large-footed myotsis*
  • Long-nosed bandicoot*
  • Swamp wallaby*
  • Sugar glider*
  • Brown antechinus*
  • Feral Rabbit
  • Domestic cat
  • Black rat
  • Brushtail possum
  • Common ringtail possum* – its a different species from the rarer west-coast one.

Just to round the evening off we saw a few Striped Marsh Frogs at the end of the evening – what a night – 4 hours of walking and I was stuffed but so many new things!  I then caught the bus back to my Sydney hotel…

20160710-102A4419-resize

Striped Marsh Frog

Snakes on a ….

My brother sent me an email this week that I thought was worth sharing..

I have titled it Snakes on a plane server!

Our servers at work have been a little temperamental recently.

Ron thinks he’s found the problem.

python

From my little bit of research it is a Stimson’s Python.

So Ron and I carefully used a broom and a bucket to catch him and released him into the bush-land next door.

It was actually a south-western carpet python (Morelia spilota imbricata) and its a pretty strange spot for one to be in industrial Welshpool.  Hopefully it has a good life.. and turns from its life of criminal server damage!