Queens Park Bushland Night Stalk

I joined up with the Friends of Queens Park Bushland to go on one of their night stalks.  Sian, the organiser wasn’t sure if it would just be a couple of people.  It ended up being a rainy day that cleared later in the afternoon and there were maybe 12-15 people who joined.  I got there late after getting the kids in bed. I came with my friend Hodgey.

The Queens Park bushland is a number of reserves about 36 hectares in total with a number of different habitats.  The group has done a huge amount of work re-vegetating, weeding, surveying and even constructed a wetland where an old drain used to be.

When we got there the bigger group was already spotlighting and we looked at what had been attracted to a light trap that had been set up.  The trap was simple enough – a tall clothes airer draped with a fine white mesh with a UV light inside.  All the local bugs flocked to it!

I am not so great on my bugs – but the community at iNaturalist have been helping me get some ID’s – see all my observations from that night.

The group came back and enjoyed drinks and fruit mince pies – the night stalks are really well organised and I encourage you to to go to one.  Join up the mailing list to find out when the next one is on – or you can ask me 🙂

A few of the group stayed on for more spotlighting and we headed out – 6 in all.  Almost immediately I spotted a Southwest Spiny-tailed Gecko.

resize-6445resize-6447

This was a much paler specimen from the one I found with my bro Joel a few weeks back.  The eyes are so amazing.

The reserve doesn’t have many large animals but it does have really cool invertebrates as above.

resize-6452

Moaning Frog

This moaning frog just sitting on the side of the track.

We disturbed a Collared Sparrowhawk from a tree near the path but was able to get this shot when it landed nearby – a lifer for me!

resize-6455

Collared Sparrowhawk

Sian showed us this little hole in the sandy path which I never would have noticed.  With a little encouragement from a twig – out popped a huge black wish-bone spider – a type of trap door spider but it has a web like a sock around the top of the hole.

We then found this little banjo frog – another lifer for me – I have heard them but have never seen one before.

resize-6467

Banjo Frog

We then found another black wish-bone spider also in the middle of the sandy path.  They get their name from the shape of their burrows.

resize-6473

All in all a great night – new species of vertebrates for me and heaps of inverts too!

Turtle Frog Mania!

My wildlife buddy Jimmy and I had been watching the weather for a few weeks.  Jimmy had researched that in October to November after a day of pour rain means turtle frogs come out to find a mate.  He had seen them twice before.

Turtle frogs spend most of their life underground in burrows and they mainly eat termites.  They come to the surface for a short period to find a mate and then spend 4 months of foreplay whispering sweet nothings to each other.  Then in Feb they mate, eggs are laid in the burrow and they turn into frogs – effectively bypassing the tadpole swimming stage.

Anyway back to the weather – we had made plans twice already but the rain either didn’t happen or just wasn’t enough.  Anyway this Wednesday had 10-15mm+ rain and it had dried up a little in the arvo but things were still damp.

Jimmy did a recce and sent excited texts that he could hear them calling and that he had found one.  I left home later as I was getting kids in bed, etc but it looked like I was going to see my first turtle frog!

I drove to Reabold Hill carpark – parking about halfway up Scenic Drive – not going past the bollards which go up at about 8pm.  I could hear the frogs and Jimmy wanted me to find my own.  The tips were – use their calls to triangulate and narrow down their location (as you get closer they stop calling so you have to remain with headtorch off just waiting for them to call again) and they were often on the slightly more cleared sandy patches under the Banksia trees.

I heard quite a few and picked one to focus on finding.  It took me a while to get my ear in and I went a fair way into the bush – I could hear one calling really close but I couldn’t spot it!  Then there it was – just under a few pieces of dried grass were two – maybe they were a pair?

resize-5963

The photos make them look much larger than there are – these shots will help get an idea of the scale in my hand.

I found about 6-7 that night which I was so pleased at – all the build up and two failed plans made this night more awesome!

These shots give an idea of the habitat they are calling from.

And a few more photos for good measure.

resize-5998-2

I also spotted this insect – I think it might be some sort of native cockroach.

resize-5990

Well another species found – now onto the next target – what might that be?

More urban possuming.

My wife’s cousin Elise was visiting from the UK and was keen to see some Aussie wildlife.

We headed to my possum spot in Gosnells (John Okey Davis Park – end of Prince St, Gosnells) – this was my third visit see here and here for previous reports.  Elise spotted the first two which is great for a first time possum hunt!

There seemed to be quite a few pairs – I assume these are the babies that are out and about for spring.

20161020-102a5751-2

20161020-102a5748-2

We also spotted a nice moaning frog – it only had one eye but seemed ok.

20161020-102a5756

20161020-102a5757

It was a great night – 15 odd possums all up and Elise was so pleased to see her first wild possums.

 

Frogs and Possums..

 

An old friend of mine had expressed an interest in frogging as he has been encouraging Motorbike frogs in his garden for many years.  I had a free night and wanted to get out again before the birth of baby number 2 – I might not get a chance for a little while after!

It was a wet night in late September so still good frogging weather and I thought we could head back to a spot I had been before and blogged about but hopefully find my friend some different frogs that he hadn’t seen before.  The other blog will help you find it.

We didn’t initially see any possums but could hear Slender tree frogs calling along the Canning River – they have a harsh sounding “Grrkkkkk”.

We spotted a couple of possums.. this place is full of them!

And then I luckily spotted this Slender tree frog calling from some reeds above the river.

20160924-102a5487

It was a pretty cold night so he didn’t move at all and allowed himself to be repositioned for some more photos.  He was put back onto the reeds and immediately started calling again for a girlfriend!

As my friend is interested in fish as well we looked in the water which I hadn’t done last time.  We saw quite a few pesky Gambusia (another failed Aussie introduction – meant to eat mossies but doesn’t but eats native fish which do eat mossies!) but noticed some freshwater crayfish and this small catfish like fella.  We also saw some nice freshwater shrimp.

20160924-102a5505

We walked over the boardwalk still looking out for different frogs and then saw this creature that causes so much damage to our environment.

20160924-102a5516

While I don’t hate individual cats, I hate their impact on the native fauna.  They are born predators and I wish pet owners would be responsible and keep them in at night.  Not sure if this was a roaming domestic or a feral?

Not long after seeing the cat we saw these Moaning Frogs through their eyeshine.  Awesome little frogs – often burrowed down in the ground.

My friend took this shot of me in action taking photos of the frogs!

20160925-img-20160924-wa0000

Another awesome night seeing all sorts of wildlife and so close to suburbia and the city.  I want to keep working my way up the Canning as their is a bush corridor – to see if the wildlife is still their closer to Perth.  Total possum count approx 25 – a few more than last time..

 

 

 

Possums in Perth!

I recently saw that someone had posted a possum sighting on one of my favourite websites iNaturalist.  It was in Gosnells which is only a 20 minute drive from my house but pretty much in central suburban Perth.  This pricked my interest so I invited a friend to come and explore.  We travelled to John Okey Davis Park which backs onto a bush corridor on the upper reaches of the Canning River.

I am always optimistic prior to exploration but just as we got there, I thought – how likely are we to see anything?  Well 3 minutes later we had seen our first brushtail possum!

20160804-102A4840

We also heard something large dash away on the ground – possibly a cat or maybe a fox?  We walked a little further and saw our second, then a third!  There were possums everywhere..

The best technique for spotlighting is to either have a good headtorch or a place the torch on the side of your head near your eyes, as then you can pick up eyeshine of the nocturnal animals.  You need to scan the trees and the undergrowth looking for a little double glow!  With possums and many mammals it is orange/red colour.  After a while you get your eye in – my friend didn’t spot the first few but then was finding his own.

We also were able to get very close to a few to get some really nice photos.  They must be pretty used to people as their is housing all around outside the bush strip.

20160804-102A4877

20160804-102A4848

I also managed to find a Moaning frog – just for the dual white eye reflection on the ground.  Cute little guy (Not sure if its a guy or gal though).

And then not far from the Moaning frog – this Slender tree frog hiding in some vegetation.  The only frog heard calling was Squelching Froglets but we never found any – but they are pretty small.  I have heard these Moaning frogs can drive people mad.  If you live near a wetland and they burrow into your grass near your bedroom window – they can call all night long – listen to one here.

20160804-102A4867

What an amazing evening – I think probably 20 possums or so all up and 3 moaning frogs and a slender tree frog.

20160804-102A4895

The following image is a rough map of where the possums where and the crosses where the frogs where found.

Spotlighting Map

Taken from Google Maps