Last weekend we went away as a family for a few nights to Busselton, about 3 hrs south of Perth. I took the opportunity to take my 3 year old son spotlighting for possums now that its getting dark earlier and the weather was fine. My son Liam was super excited to finally be going out with his Dad to hunt possums! He was rugged up and had his own head torch – just like me!
The Busselton region is one of the strongholds of the vulnerable Western ringtail possum however the Peppermint tree habitat is being lost due to lots of development. I have blogged about ringtails before here when I found them near Mandurah. On this occasion I was heading to a purpose built possum spotlighting trail located within the Tuart forest with reflective markers on the trail.
Its near Wonnerup House on Layman Rd, Wonnerup (about 10km east of Busselton) next to the Malbup bird hide. Its pretty hard to find at night – many of the signs leading to it are not reflective. We drove past it a couple of times but finally got there (there is a small gravel track off Layman Rd) and geared up. In just the first few minutes we spotted our first ringtails!
Liam was so happy to see them – he said he loved them and wanted to touch one! We also saw a few Common brushtail possums, lots of spiders and a solitary Western grey kangaroo.
I was really impressed how Liam coped with being out in the dark and cold – he collected plenty of sticks as ‘guns’!
All in all we saw approx 15 ringtails, 10 brushies, heard a White-striped freetail bat and saw a kangaroo. The trail is pretty easy to follow and there are plenty of informative signage along the way. An awesome night with a 3 year old! He kept talking about how much fun he had but did want to see another kangaroo which unfortunately didn’t happen. I recommend taking your family of an evening to the trail to see possums for yourself!
In addition to our spotlighting night, the following night we heard crashing on the side of our cabin…. we had a visitor – another ringtail in Broadwater, East Busselton region.