Victoria

Wombat out walking

by on Feb.20, 2013, under Fauna, Mammals, Victoria

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In Central Victoria our creekbeds are dry – and then after a day’s rain – perfect for tracks! Pictured here are the heavy, flat-footed tracks of the Common or Bare-nosed Wombat. They have a distinctive, pigeon-toed gait, and you can clearly see their digging claws. Sometimes the hind-foot track overlaps that of the front-foot track, creating a large composite footprint – is it bigfoot? A yowie!? No – a Wombat! (continue reading…)

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Wildlife Secrets Magazine : Vol 2 No 4

by on Feb.01, 2013, under Birds, Invertebrates, Magazine, Mammals, New South Wales, Queensland, Reptiles, Uncategorized, Victoria

AWSvol2no4_Cover_283x400This month’s features – out now in newsagents or subscribe online for just $55.00 for six issues a year!

The Gulf Snapping Turtle

Isolated and under threat, researchers in Queensland are working hard to give these charming turtles, which can be traced back to prehistory, a chance at survival. The extraordinary efforts being done are inspirational and this is a truly uplifting story.

Secrets of the Mallee

When you drive by scrubby bushland in semi-arid areas of Australia, do you ever stop to explore further? You’d be surprised by what is contained within the mallee. Simon Watharow and Steve Cook dive in among the bushes and discover a whole host of intriguing wildlife and surprising habitats.

Smash and Grab, bam, Splat and bluey

‘Hoot, hoot’ . . . or should we say ‘who, who’? Frank Harrison set up his hide to watch and photograph a couple of Barking owls make their nest to rear some chicks. He got an amazing surprise as one by one little heads popped up out of the hollow, and his images are just stunning.

Hidden tropical wonders

Parts of the Atherton Tablelands in far north Queensland are well known, but look a little further and you’ll find incredible and diverse wildlife scattered in stunning landscapes all over the plateau.

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Dinosaur hunting at Inverloch

by on Dec.29, 2012, under Dinsoaurs, Information, Location, Victoria

The Flat Rocks fossil site at Inverloch is located approximately 150 km south-east of Melbourne, on the south coast of Victoria. The area has special significance to Australia’s fossil history as the discovery of Australia’s first dinosaur bone, the Cape Paterson Claw, was found at a nearby site in 1903 by William Ferguson. The currently active site was discovered in 1991 when a group of researchers from Monash University and Museum Victoria were prospecting that part of the coastline for suitable locations for potential fossil dig sites. The dinosaur dreaming project annually does fossil hunts. According to the museum Victoria website they are no longer taking volunteers.

On a whim I took my daughter who is dinosaur mad out to the region.

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Mystery Skull

by on Oct.13, 2012, under Location, Mammals, Uncategorized, Victoria

This animal skull was collected near a cliff face near Inverloch. This skull, could possibly provide  evidence of a marsupial mystery. it is similar to a dingo, Tasmanian Devil and even the Thylacine.

While awaiting advice from the museum vicyoria, what guess’s are out there. Does anyone know any secret skull fanciers?

 

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Fighting Snake Style

by on Sep.14, 2012, under Fauna, Magazine, Reptiles, Victoria

Fighting or Mating? secret sighting Vol 1 no 1

Sharon Small

 

While sometimes seen snakes rarely mate in the open, However boys will be boys, they can often be seen to take their fights outside!  Ritual combat is seen in various species of venomous snakes but also amongst some pythons.

We all know snakes have evolved without legs and arms, so how does naturals selection work? What do snakes do to eliminate weaker snakes from the gene pool?

 

These two Highland Copperheads Austrelaps ramsayi were observed from near Bendoc, Gippsland Victoria in April 2011. Copperheads and Tiger Snakes may often engage in autumn breeding, this of course means ritual combat may also be seen during this period. While classed as dangerously venomous these snakes are relatively placid and rarely do bites occur due to their temperament. These two snakes were seen first entwined but then broke apart slightly when photographed to eventually going back into it again.

 

 

When two male snakes follow female pheromone trails, they can inevitably come across other males following scent if these snakes are of similar size they will be drawn into the battle by using their bodies to slowly entwine lengthwise along the way to 60 -70 % of length.

 

 

 

This struggle may last for an hour or more. The coils tighten and the heads involved in a struggle of strength to force one aside and away from the females trail. The winner then pursues the female hidden somewhere nearby.

 

 

 

 

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Spring: What to watch for

by on Sep.12, 2012, under Birds, Fauna, Information, Invertebrates, Location, Magazine, Mammals, Media, New South Wales, Queensland, Reptiles, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, Western Australia

 

Spring brings the amazing wildlife more in contact with humans than any other time of the year. Help is available for many of our injured or nuisance wildlife.

Birds will be breeding, building nests rearing young, reptiles slithering about and marsupials active from dusk to dawn. So what are some of the key things to watch for this spring.

Gang Gang Cockatoo - Steve McNeil

Birds

 

Nests

Bird nest – Tania Begg

Nest building animals, collecting hair, fibrous, leaves, twine are often collected and cause havoc for adults and often young birds caught around the nest. remeber to keep string, twine and fishing line in the bin not on the ground. Why? Adults and young birds often get entangled when they use it around the nest. When parent birds are building the nest keep a low profile try to avoid the arae of that tree and keep all domestic animals from being a threat especially that fat cat!

 

Fledglings

Tawny Frogmouth fledgling – Tania Begg

With all the strong winds several eastern states have had already. Many reports of nestlings and baby birds are flooding in. Mortality is high as nests have been blown out of their trees or shrubs.

In late spring beware the fledglings, often seen on the ground rather adult looking, I describe them as like human teenagers adult like but without their drivers license or in the birds case a flight license. Adults will feed them on the ground in many cases e.g. Magpies, Noisy Miners,

 

Swooping birds

Magpie breeding season is well under way. Swooping magpies seem to be in every town. Usually associated with nests in high traffic areas, typically the more harassed or in conflict the more intense the swooping.

 

The other swooping bird the Plover will be seen swooping people. They nest in yards with long grass or around roundabouts, park lands and within water ways. The hatchlings are remarkable once free of the egg, will quickly be able to walk and follow the parents to a new feeding site. They remain close to the parents for several weeks.

 

The very important facet to understand is to limit the aggression by avoiding conflict. Magpies in particular get more prone to swooping if there is regular conflict daily. Some magpies will actually target a type or size of person that travels near rhe nest if there has been a direct confrontation in the past e..g. Adult men who have kidnap a fledgling in the past. That magpie then targets men while less hostile toward women. Swooping birds can often be more apparent when there is a fledgling bird on the ground. Often fledgling birds are fine t be left alone in the care of the adults. See volume 1 no 2 Australian Wildlife Secrets “Don’t be a birdnapper”.

 

Echidna burrowing

 Montreme

Echidna

The warm weather stimulates the inerterbrates including the massive armies of the ants. Warm weather is also a precursor for the Echidna to begin his wide searching of ants. Wandering widely often get bailed up by dogs or can be seen in yards wandering around. Trick is to leave them alone let them wander and leave on their own even in dense suburbia yes.

Swamp Wallaby

 

Marsupials

Kangaroos and less so wallabies will inevitably graze along roadsides at dusk. Drive safely and sow down around grazing roo’s. Pouch checks of dead macropods,  are critical for the joeys at this time of the year. Report all dead roos to your wildlife groups. most dead inspected/pouch checked macropods will have a marking like an X spray painted on them.

 

Possums and gliders, its time for large amounts of babies or joeys more accurately. Ringtail possums can carry up to 3 joeys usually 2 on average and are very prone to losing one or two through misadventure. Brush tailed possums usually carry one sometimes two joeys.  This leads to a large amount of joeys being reported from the ground. Predators like cats and dogs are also a major problem during spring. Orphans are rescued by most wildlife groups and always ring your hotline when a joey is found on the ground during the day or signs of injury.

 

Reptiles

Diamond Python

Snakes

Spring is a time to slough the skin, for boys to chase the ladies for kilometers, feed as much to replenish lost fat stores from winter dormancy. Snakes can be sluggish in spring on mild sunny days, snakes are often slow to move away and confrontations may occur. Be alert while hiking, working along bush lands or in gardens. Always get professional help to deal with regular snake appearances otherwise develop a tolerance and safety plan for a snake visit.

Blotched Blue Tongue

 

Lizards

Found basking in yards or around parks and large native gardens are very common in spring. The enormous amount of lizards that emerge in spring, basking along fences, roads and moving in search of mates. Care is needed when mowing especially as the lizards may be sluggish in the first few weeks. Wandering monitors are more likely when weather is over 30 degrees. Watch out for basking lizards on roads.

 

Red - eyed Tree Frog

Frogs

If good rains continue we will see an emerging bonanza of frogs this year, calling incessantly often driving some people to lose sleep! This can be remedy by playing your favorite music softly to offset the frog chorus. However the frogs after many years of drought and poor breeding while resurge, tadpoles will appear in many dams, ponds and roadside ditches. Please remember not to move tadpoles or frogs from one location to another. As this can cause disease to be spread from one region to another, cause imbalance and reintroduction of cane toads.

 

 

Marine Mammals

Yearlings are often reported in seal prone areas of bays, coastlines and estuaries. Often around piers where often fisherman feed them scarps or they feed on discarded off cuts. Tired New Zealand fur seals, leopard seal and Sub Antarctic seals can rest along the coastlines. While distressed public feel sorry for them it usually is only a wait and see approach before they wander back.

 Mammals

 

Microbat FNQ hangs from ceiling.

Microbats

The warmer months also means more microbat activity. These winged wonders are silently racing through the night grabbing millions of insects. It may occur that colonies roost in your roof space. The high pitch squeaks may be heard by those with very good hearing. Not to be confused with the rats or possum that are very noisy to pretty much all.

 

Contact your state body conservation department or local wildlife shelter or rescue group for assistance and advice.

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