Monday, 21 October 2013

Encounters with wildlife

It has been great to be back home and doing some of my regular walks.

When we flew from Sydney to Canberra we were struck by just how green the countryside was. Of course this also indicated that it was likely to turn brown and become a real fire hazard during the summer. The fires last week across NSW confirmed the fire hazard. Still, the greenness was a welcome sight.

All of the hills and ranges around the ACT are also an uncharacteristic green, too.

I had really missed the kangaroos so was delighted to see them in good numbers when I did my first circuit of Mt Taylor. Most of the smaller roos have grown in our absence and the members of the mobs are all looking quite sizable.

My first wildlife encounter, putting aside the kangaroos, was a 4ft brown snake. I came across the snake on the Stanhope Highway as I was walking home from Cooleman Court. It as around 2:15 in the afternoon and I really wasn't expecting to come across anything other than humans and dogs on this very wide and open fire trail. I stopped and we eyed each other and the snake slithered over the edge of the track and out of my way.

Yesterday I did quite a late circuit of Mt Taylor. I didn't leave home until almost 5:30pm. This was OK as it is light until well after 7pm thanks to daylight saving. When I got to the area where the trail crosses what I have named the rock run I cam across an echidna. This is the first one of these shy natives that I have come across within the Mt Taylor Nature Park. He waddled off and found a place to hide, well a place where he couldn't see me, leaving his spiney back exposed for me to admire.

About 2km further along the track I noticed something moving across the slope a short distance above the track. It looked dark and I thought that it was perhaps a wombat although this would have surprised me as they are generally nocturnal and it was still quite light. I decided to check out whatever it was. With the help of a squawking magpie I found the creature in question ... another echnida.

I'm not sure how many echidnas are normally resident within the park. I only saw these because they were on the move. They would be pick up if they were stationary.

Antony had mentioned that he had seen an echidna in his garden recently so they are obviously on the move.

I wonder what else I will come across in the coming weeks. 

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