Tip for koala spotting

If you happen to see a tree which has a lot of scratches on the bark, look up! Especially if it is a Messmate tree but not necessarily. Koalas often use the same tree for sleeping in and will scratch the bark as they climb up with their big claws.

Owl trees often have regurgitated food at the base of the tree as they splat it down, such as possum bones or whatever they didn’t digest. A Powerful Owl is big enough to take feral cats! I think that when you are in the forest, looking at the ground occasionally can yield more interest than looking up. The animals may hide, but their traces don’t.

Heat sensor camera

Here are a few pictures taken in Wombat Forest by night vision cameras. This is part of a project cataloguing the animals living in this part of the woods. My friend David (who also does guided forest walks, see other my wildlife posts about that) is one of the volunteers who checks on the cameras. All images copyright Wombat Forestcare in conjunction with VPNA Naturewatch.

Here is a wombat, very curious.

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Koalas are best at climbing trees, not walking. Their gait always looks pretty awkward.

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So when you walk around the forest, look very carefully indeed. There are animals out there… Went for a bushwalk around Badger’s creek (or so David said, I never have a clue where we are) this morning, saw kangaroos but nothing else.

This project is funded through the Australian Government’s Caring for Our Country, the R.E. Ross Trust and the ANZ Staff Foundation. You can keep up to date with what is happening and see latest photos on the VNPA Facebook page.

Hello koala

The koala is one of the rarest animal sightings here, not because of lack of numbers, but because of being still and high up in a tree during the day. And who wants to be on a bush track in the middle of the night? My walking companion David from Daylesford Forest Strolls sent me this picture from yesterday’s walk.  Though he can’t promise sightings, at least he knows where the best chances are.

Call David on 0428 112 378 or email asic45(at)gmail.com if you want to find out more.

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A surprise in the birdbath

I have a birdbath. Nothing unusual there, birds come and drink, have a splash.

birdbath2When I noticed a while back that there was a full slice of pizza in the birdbath I naturally assumed some idiot had thrown it there from the street. I removed it, cleaned up the oily water and bobbing bits of salami only to find another slice appearing later. This was left for a while, until a raven came to eat it. Give the ravens some credit, they have learnt to use the birdbath as a softener of hard baked goods! This is definitely recently learnt, as it never happened before, but happens every week now. Here is half a muffin.

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The raven arrives.

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We also get cake, half loaves of bread, a croissant or two… This is what happens when you live in the cafe district surrounded by churches. An ideal raven environment.

Meanwhile, the sparrows have to put up with baths in sometimes greasy water.

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Did you know that raven youth leave home to live in gangs, before they pair up and live in more respectable ways? Well they do. Every year, gangs of feisty ravens amuse themselves by divebombing the birdbath on a hot day.

Guided forest strolls

For the last couple of years I have been walking occasionally in the forest with a friend of mine, David. He really knows the area, and it is a great thing to do. Recently he has decided to do it in a professional way, and is offering guided forest walks (or strolls, if that is more your thing). The rate is a flat $50 regardless of if it is just the one of you, or more. Walking in the forest is another world. You are extremely likely to see kangaroos and wallabies, and likely to see wombats too. And if the wombat is not at home, he can most certainly show you their lair. On occasion the odd echidna or koala will be around as well. One fell off his tree right in front of David once. A koala, not an echidna. They don’t favour trees. Well, it was a very windy day. All the pictures in my bushwalking section and wildlife section on this blog are taken from walks with David. If you want to see old gold mines, he can take you there as well.

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Below is his brochure, it’s a little hard to read so I have typed it out for clarity. I really recommend this as an activity whilst visiting Daylesford! David is the one with the snow covered hat, taken this winter.

Daylesford Forest Strolls

The Wombat Forest is one of the jewels in Victoria’s crown. With surrounding parks, it provides over 900 square kilometres of native vegetation, rivers, hills and animal habitats. Having explored the forest over the past 16 years, I have selected a series of walks which best display the forest and the history of the region.

A walk typically consists of a half hour drive from Daylesford in my vehicle, in to the bush, a guided walk of between 1,5-2 hours, and then the return drive. You will have the opportunity to learn about the events which have shaped the region, to enjoy our beautiful plant communities, and with luck, observe some of the wonderful native animals which abound in the forest. All walks contain some gentle slopes, and forest tracks can be a little muddy, but no special level of fitness is required, only a pair of good walking shoes. Walks are $50 total regardless of numbers, single walkers welcome. Cash payment only.

Call David on 0428 112 378 or email asic45(at)gmail.com.

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A little wombat

Here is a well nourished little wombat to encourage you to take a bushwalk. You never know who you will come across! Did you know that wombats mostly communicate with each other through smell, but also have a little coughing noise when they pass each other? Very polite.

”Cough, cough. Ahem. I am just passing through, don’t mind me!”

”Cough, cough. That’s alright, just keep moving now! Cough, cough.”

Sunny with a chance of snakes

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Today’s weather prediction: Sunny with a chance of snakes. Photographed outside Daylesford today, heading away from us with any luck.

Can I recommend postponing hiking on narrow tracks until autumn? If you are a walker, I can point you in the direction of firetracks which are wider, so that you can clearly see where to put your feet. Or just go with the excitement and danger. Whichever way you are inclined, be careful please.

What to do if you see a snake: stand still or move slowly away. It has probably seen you too, knows you don’t love it and wants to get away from you.

Koala!

This is just one of the reasons why you should slow down at night. Just look at who is awake… Photo taken by friend in Lyonville last night.

Keep it to 70, tops. Much less if foggy or icy. The animals are around, you are driving in their living room. Should you hit anything, don’t forget to check the pouch. We have a local self funded shelter in Hepburn, they are always looking for donations. link here: http://www.hepburnwildlifeshelter.com/

ring 13000 WILDLIFE for roadside emergency rescue.

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STOP sitting in the middle of the road! It is not safe! It’s cute, but NOT SAFE.

Meet one of the locals

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Bushwalking in the area is excellent, with many tracks and little roads leading who knows where. Here are some pics taken this week by my neighbour whom I sometimes walk with. When the echidnas start to move, so do the snakes. Walkers beware!

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Look carefully and you will see the wallaby looking back. Just before jumping off, most likely. If you see any wildlife, just enjoy the encounter. They will want to get away from you as fast as they can. If you have dogs, keep them on a lead. Even if you think your dog is reliable, it may well give chase and that could be the last you see of it. My neighbour also came across a dog which looked well cared for but totally lost. What did the wild animals do to deserve that in their forest, I ask? Keep them leashed. Natives get easily stressed.

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And a wombat, looking endearing. You can very easily tell if there are wombats around by their scats. They are SQUARE. Yup, no kidding. How this is possible, I have no idea. You will see little piles everywhere. My neighbour tells me this is how they mark their territory. They will defend it, too. I feel I need a special soundtrack to wombats, they are kind of lumbering. Dum-ti-dum-ti-dum-ti-dum… Just crossing the path here, dum-ti-dum-ti-dum. Did you know the wombat pouch is back to front? This is so that when they dig, the joeys don’t get a pocket full of dirt. Dum-ti-dum-ti-dum…

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I have learnt something very interesting about wombats. As they are prey to dingos (and wild dogs) they have a defence which actually kills the dingos. Here’s how: The dingo chases the wombat. The wombat runs for its lair, and slips in but waits just inside, rock hard backside to the entrance. Dingo arrives, sticks head in, the wombat crushes the head of the dingo towards the roof of the lair but quickly lifting its rear up to the lair roof, and there it is, dead dingo. Then they push the dingo out and sometimes drape it across the top of the lair as a warning to other dingos. Incredible. I hope it is true, I read it on the internet and I might just be perpetrating a myth. A good story, either way. I like to think they can protect themselves as they are so wonderful.