Liam, my 4 year old son and I, went to stay with my good old friend Daz & family – mostly to see them but also to look for Western ringtail possums (Pseudocheirus occidentalis) they have in their garden and the adjacent remnant Tuart (Eucalyptus gomphocephala) forest in Dalyellup, just south of Bunbury.
The Western ringtail possum has been classified as critically endangered in 2018. Some sobering reading in this article – the Western ringtail has a 25% chance of extinction in the next 20 years and has the somewhat dubious honour of being in position 11 of the Top 20 Mammals at risk in Australia. While I have to trust the experts – it seems a little strange for something I can find fairly easily and have blogged about in a couple of other locations (follow the possum category below to find them).
It’s a 2 hour drive south from Perth and Liam handled the drive very well. We settled in and then Daz took us with his son to the Bunbury wildlife park. It is a council run park with mainly native animals and encourages animal interaction with suitable species – its a great place to take the kids if you are in the area.
Liam loved feeding the birds and kangaroos.
They have a really nice selection of natives including tammar wallaby as below, quokka, wombat, red & grey kangaroos, potoroo, dingo and a small selection of reptiles & frogs.
That evening we geared up, dressed warmly and headed out to find some possums just after the sun had gone down – Liam was super excited! Our first possum was sighted in the front yard of the house!
We then headed into the Tuart forest which is mixed with Peppermints (Agonis flexuosa) & Jarrah (Eucalyptus marginata) trees.
All up we saw approx 6 possums in a small section walking for under an hour – I had been hoping for other species as Daz has previously seen a Brush-tailed phascogale (Phascogale tapoatafa) in the area, but no luck this time. Liam was pretty tired by about 8pm (an hour past normal bedtime!) so we headed for home and bed.
The next morning we went down to The Lakes also in Dalyellup for a walk and see some birds.
It was a lovely sunny morning and we could hear plenty of Rattling frogs (Crinia glauerti) and Banjo frogs (Limnodynastes dorsalis). I made a recording on my phone and submitted it to the great citizen science project FrogID. I encourage everyone to download the app on your smartphone and record frogs wherever you hear them! We saw some nice birds.
Just as we were on the other side we noticed a possum drey (they make a nest of leaves to sleep during the day). Daz has noticed that the openings generally face North-West which we surmised why that might be. He has experimented making one out of 2 hanging baskets joined together filled with coconut fibre and peppermint leaves – and had an inhabitant for a period in his garden!
We then went for a quick look in the tuart forest looking for herps under the leaf litter using a rake. We also lifted rocks, bark and wood – always being careful to put it back where we found it. No herps found but we did find a nice centipede that I didn’t get a photo of.
Liam and I then headed back home to Perth to see my wife Mel & daughter Sienna. We had an awesome weekend and Liam loved Daz’s son and especially his Lego and treehouse!