Thursday, June 12, 2008

all creatures great and small

Now we are at the coast having followed the Snowy River until it enters the sea and have had our first views of the Bass Strait, the body of water between the mainland and Tasmania. Weather sunny and warm so great to give James dog a few long runs on the beach.

We camped in a large wooded site with a 150 metre track through a cutting in the trees and straight onto a sandy beach which we had all to ourselves.

The nightlife was incredible, as soon as night fell the possums were out in large numbers. We spent hours out in the forest with a torch spotting weird and wonderful marsupials. Saw our first ring tailed possum, a red and white creature with a long tail similar in appearance and agility to a squirrel.

The more common brush tailed possum was present in abundance, and they are certainly bold little devils. One climbed the ladder on the back on the van up onto the roof and kept peering in at us through the fanlight.

The area around Cape Conran has been involved in an intensive fox eradication programme and as a result many endangered ground dwelling marsupials are returning and populations increasing.
The long-footed potoroo and the southern brown bandicoot are being seen again in the region ( they are not found in many other parts of the country, and are most prevalent in this band of coast in Gippsland Victoria ).

We found a long-footed potoroo! They are about 1kg in weight with long snouts and dig under trees looking for fungi and small insects. He did not seem to notice us ( you can see how easy it would be for a fox to pick them off) and we watched him for about an hour digging about.
They look very like the brown bandicoot but apparently the tails are very different. Unfortunately this one had suffered an incident and had a scar where the tail should have been but we are pretty sure from its gait and colour that it was a potoroo.

We were going to travel a fair distance today, but called in at a small cove a few km from the campsite because we heard a rumour about whale sightings over the last few days. The main reason we are planning to follow the coast at this time of year is to try and catch the humpbacked, minke and southern right whales as they migrate to Queensland.

Within 5 minutes of arriving we saw our first humpbacked whales spouting very close to shore and spent the next couple of hours watching 6 or 7 giants breaching and playing in the bay. Not close enough for great pictures but with the binoculars we could see fantastic details.

So much for the travel plans-maybe we will manage a few more km tomorrow.

Ski fields to rare marsupials to whale watching in 5 days.
I love this country.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Genial dispatch and this mail helped me alot in my college assignement. Thanks you on your information.