Its on my wildlife bucket list to see a wild numbat. I get out wildlife watching fairly often in the Perth region but numbats live that little bit further away, they are diurnal (out during the day) when I am normally working or with the family and also they are listed as endangered as there are probably less than 1000 left. There are only 2 natural populations left – Dryandra and Perup, with Boyagin a site where they have been reintroduced. They used to cover most of the southern region of Australia before the introduction and spread of foxes.
My wildlife buddy Jimmy and I planned a Saturday night away at Boyagin Nature Reserve – out in the wheatbelt not too far from Brookton – about an hour 45 mins from Perth.
I had seen quite a lot of facebook activity with people spotting numbats on The Dryandra (Incl Boyagin/Tutanning) – A South West Australian Safari group – so that made me really want to get down and see my first one. Jimmy had warned me it can be a slog sometimes but that just makes it all the more rewarding when you see one. I studied these tips from Sean van Numbat (van Alphen)!
I met Jimmy at Boyagin as he had already been at Tutanning Nature Reserve looking for Thorny Devils – an amazing lizard that can be pretty hard to find. On my way off Brookton Hwy I saw a beautiful Wedge-tailed eagle being harassed by a mob of ravens.
We dropped a car off and started the numbat hunt – driving slowly scanning the woodland in likely habitat. One of their prime habitats is Wandoo woodland with its hollow fallen logs for cover and plenty of wood on the ground for their food – the termite.
The countryside was spectacular with lots of wildflowers – especially the orangey Gastrolobium shrubs.
We found some probable evidence of numbats in terms of a burrow and diggings but none of the elusive critters. They dig following the underground termite galleries. We did see 3 awesome echidna and I was able to get very close to two of them.
We searched for about 3 hours and then headed to Pingelly for a pub meal. We then came back after dark for some spotlighting – hoping to see some nocturnal marsupials and perhaps a Western spotted frog. Jimmy had seen Tammar wallaby and the frogs at Tutanning the night before so we were hopeful. We spent 3-4 hours spotlighting but the only marsupials were common brushtail possums and Western grey kangaroos. We did find some Western spotted frogs – this is a burrowing frog and it was a dry night, not sure why they were around? I did also hear a White-striped freetail bat flying above us and caught a glimpse of a bat fluttering in the headtorch beam.
The possums posed for shots but the roos were pretty skittish.
We also saw this awesome Tawny frogmouth.
The next morning we headed out numbat spotting again – we put in another 3 hours or so but no luck – not even echidna today but saw a few lovely birds and heard many calling.
It was a great time but I will have to put more time in before I get my first numbat. I need to start making plans to be back during the day!
I headed for home and saw this little guy on the road and helped him to safety..