Saturday, 22 August 2009

Not roo-ing the day

I went out with a head torch and the spotlight last night, determined to track down the source of a loud and relentless scratching noise in the forest. The scratching sounded too fast for scrubfowl, which are frantic in every aspect of their behaviour except scratching. Determined: yes. Frantic: anything but. It also sounded too persistent for bandicoots. They're certainly big diggers but they stop when they hit paydirt. This scratcher seemed to be mining its way to the centre of the earth.

The head torch picked up several pairs of glowing red eyes peering back at me from the trees. The spotlight identified the owners as brushtail possums. I was hoping for a green ringtail, which occur in the area and which I'd spotted briefly not long after I moved in and never again.

In the meantime, the scratcher had withdrawn further into the forest. Given the prevalence of stinging trees along the edge, I thought I'd better not follow it. I've got plenty of time to work out what it is.

On the way back to the house, I switched off the spotlight and relied on the head torch. Another set of red eyes watched me from a tree next to the car port.

The Tree-Kangaroo and Mammal Group have an excellent page about Lumholtz's tree roos.

Lumholtz's tree kangaroo (Dendrolagus lumholtzii)


mick said...

Yes that is an interesting page but it says that they are "extremely hard to spot" - so is that wrong or are you just extremely lucky! Or maybe you are really living in paradise?? - no - can't be the latter - you still have no broadband :-(

Gouldiae said...

G'day Bronwen,
What a delightful animal. Great shots. Wow, you're certainly in a great spot now.

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Bronwen
Great shots of a gorgeous animal.
I thought they were "clumsy", but your earlier post about them and this one seem to suggest otherwise. I imagined them as Australia (and PNG's) answer to Sloths.
Seemingly not.
I await your discovery of the "noisy scratcher".

Boobook said...

I think I want to move to the Atherton Tableland. Are you missing inner-city Melbourne?

Snail said...

Mick, but I'll have broadband soon ... I think it's a combination of quite a lot of tree roos in this remnant and that they're used to people.

Gouldiae, that's the closest I've been to a wild tree roo. I was pretty impressed!

Denis, they're not exactly elegant! I understand that they do fall out of trees a bit.

Boobook (I can hear your namesake calling in the forest behind the house, btw!), the Tablelands are lovely. I am missing my friends in inner city Melbourne and the cafes, but I don't regret the move.

Dave Coulter said...

Bad case of red-eye, lol...

Gouldiae said...

Some people have said I fell out of a tree!