Twin platypus babies!

I said Darren saw our pair of platypus with their baby, newly emerged from the burrow, here on the Araucaria property.  He took a video, with zoom, from the cliff top, and when he replayed it we realized there was not one baby but two!  They were swimming in circles, apparently play-chasing each other, their little tails and hind legs splashing energetically as though still getting used to this idea that they could really stay afloat and move through this strange new medium.

Having been so concerned that the platypus might never return after the massive flood of early 2008 destroyed burrows, creek banks and riparian vegetation, this was wonderful!

Great night of spotting:baby platypus, bandicoots …

Darren took our Danish guests to  the creek to watch platypus late this afternoon, and instead of two saw three! Their young one has emerged from the burrow. And after dark, a brushtail possum with baby, other possums, a pademelon, a red-necked wallaby, plenty of bandicoot babies and a tawny frogmouth, and a cicada emerging from its larval skin, as well as hearing plenty of frogs.

Yellow-faced whipsnake about to shed skin?

This little snake (seen on our rainforests, glow worms and wine tour) had me confused at the Cedar Creek Falls last week.yellow-faced whipsnake at Cedar Creek Falls

It looked and behaved like a yellow-faced whipsnake – shy but not panicky, just wanting to quietly sunbathe on the side of the track and moving just a little at our approach – but it didn’t seem to have enough yellow on the face,  and the body looked too dark and dull.

Looking carefully at the markings around the eye, they were in the right place, just not as bright as usual, and the eye seemed unusually dark and dull.

I now think it is a yellow-faced whipsnake after all, but about to shed its skin – hence the dull appearance of body, face and eye.

Another bat stuck in a cocos palm

We had another call today to rescue a bat caught in a cocos palm.  These palms are really bad news for wildlife – it would be good to see them all replaced with bangalow or other native wildlife-friendly palms.

Once again the bat freed himself while we attempted to reach him, but this time with his leg bleeding, so we can only hope the wound was not too serious.

To the rescue of a fruitbat -almost

black flying foxDarren and I had a call from Bat Conservation and Rescue (of which we are members) last week to say we were the closest rescuer available for a fruitbat stuck in a cocos palm near Boonah, and being constantly attacked by noisy miners and other birds.

I asked how tall the tree was and it sounded a bit out of reach, so I first rang RSPCA to see if they had equipment to get up there, and they promised to check and get back to me if they had something available that could be taken to Mount Alford (near Boonah) in a reasonable time.

I then called Council and was told that yes they did have suitable equipment but could not let any of their staff handle a bat because they hadn’t been vaccinated for rabies (fruitbats occasionally carry lyssa virus, which is related to rabies, and there have been two known deaths of people bitten while handling them).  I said my son and I have both been vaccinated but I was told they could not – for public liability reasons – allow us to climb their ladders or ride in a crane etc.

So, Darren and I headed over with our inadequate ladder, plus protective sleeves for our arms,  a box to put the bat in (lined with a comfy bit of fabric), and some apple and honey, as we were told he had been in the tree for several days with nothing to eat.

We arrived, and saw the bat on the frond – no longer entangled in the clump of green fruit.  He showed no sign of injury, and when Darren mounted the ladder he energetically climbed higher. He was a black flying fox, not full size, so we wondered if perhaps he was just confused and famished. We couldn’t think of any reasonably safe way of reaching him, so decided to leave him with some food overnight and hope that with restored strength he might fly off with his comrades if they visited the property that night. Through our  binoculars, we examined him for any sign of injury to the wing.

When Darren mounted the ladder again, the young bat suddenly discovered he could still fly and made an impressive wide arc to a leopard tree.  We left apple and honey in a fork of the leopard tree, but before we left he had moved to an adjacent cocos palm, considerably higher than the original one.

Next day I had meeting to attend in the opposite direction, and the owner was headin g off for a few days, so I called Heike from Destiny Eco Cottage and Wendy Dunn of Fassifern Naturalists, and they both made the effort to head over and check out the trees. The bat was gone, hopefully back with his companions in a near-by colony.

Cocos palms are often a problem for bats and other wildlife, and the owner of the house is going to get rid of hers.  They can  be replaced by the native bangalow palms.

Scenic Rim Wildlife Activities

potoroo at Wildlife expo, Beaudesert 2010

Potoroo at Wildlife expo, Beaudesert 2010

What wildlife activities would you like to be involved in? Scenic Rim Wildlife (Scenic Rim branch of the Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland) is running a survey to find out out the kinds of activities folk would most like to participate in over the next few months. If you live in or near the Scenic Rim (Southeast Queensland) or visit from time to time, please let us know by completing our strictly confidential 2-minute survey

Koala at Araucaria property, Scenic Rim

The koala that arrived at our home property about a month ago seems to have decided to stay.  He has been moving from tree to tree, but staying in the same corner of our property, and we hear his grunts and  strange rattling noises through the bedroom window at night.

This is the first koala we’ve seen at home for almost two years, so we were very pleased when he moved in, and even more pleased that he’s decided to stick around a while

Breeding season starts soon, so we hope a female might join him briefly.  I say briefly because koalas are solitary creatures, coming together for breeding but then going their separate ways again.

We hope this and other  photos showing the pattern of markings on his rump will help us recognize him as an individual if he moves on and then returns some day.

Scenic Rim’s Wildlife Expo a great success

Martin Fingland from Geckos WIldlife with his channel-billed cuckoo

channel-billed cuckoo

Perfect weather, a wonderful display of live locally-native animals, interesting displays and presentations  and a crowd of cheerful people of all ages made our Wildlife Expo a great success.  Visitors got to meet bettongs, potoroos, gliders, fruitbats,  owls, cuckoos, flap-footed lizards, turtles, pythons and other creatures and learn about wildlife conservation,  care of orphaned and injured animals, wildlife feeding, nesting boxes, wildlife-attracting plants, nature photography, wildlife art, tertiary courses involving wildlife, birding, reptiles shows and more.

The photo shows Martin Fingland of Gecko’s Wildlife, with one of his tame local species.

The Expo was run by the Scenic Rim branch of the WIldlife Preservation Society of Queensland.

For details of this great day, visit Scenic Rim Wildlife, and stay tuned for the next expo (either 2011 or 2012)

Platypus settling down for breeding?



Platypus have lived in  our part of Running Creek (Scenic Rim, Queensland)  for many years, but during the first half of each year they can be a little unpredictable, turning up in several places along our kilometre of creek frontage.  Around the middle of the year they seem to settle down to the serious business of deciding where they’ll be nesting and then raising their young. Wherever we see them appearing several times a week in July tends to be where we’ll then be seeing them for the rest of the year. This time it is in a spot we can walk to within half a minute from our Wildlife Ecology Centre and watch quietly from the cliffs above.

Scenic Rim Wildlife meeting

Members of the Scenic Rim branch of the Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland will be meeting at 4.30 pm on Sunday 18th July, at the close of the (free) full-day Wildlife Expo at Enterprise Drive, Beaudesert.

Non-members are cordially invited to come along and meet members and join in our discussion of the Expo and activities for the coming year, including our efforts to collate information on wildlife needa and potential habitat  corridors in our region.