Here’s a trip report from our weekly Melbourne By Night: Nocturnal Tour – 23rd June 2022.
This evening we would be exploring some of the scrubby bushland and creek habitat located in Melbourne’s outer eastern suburbs, not far from the Dandenong Valley Wetlands system. Joining Treeswift Wildlife was a group of great local wildlife lovers, all keen to see what we could track down after dark.
With the group assembled, we headed off into the bush a little after 6.00pm. Before we even entered the forest, we had a couple of great early sightings including a half dozen Common Ringtail Possum and a Grey-headed Flying Fox who swooped low the tree line giving us a nice silhouetted view directly over the few who were lucky enough to look up in time!
Trundling on, we entered the scrub and followed a small creek further east into the site. As we went, we continued to spot Common Ringtail Possum who would prove to be the most abundant species of the evening. Many were feeding quietly in Silver Wattle and other scrubby trees. Crossing a bridge, we spotted a pair of Maned Duck who were settled on the side of the river, watching our group carefully in the dark. Sometimes we record Nankeen Night Heron and frog species along the water, but tonight it was not to be. Instead, we were rewarding with a nice big Common Brushtail Possum, who stared down at our party apparently as curious in us as we were in it!
Leaving the undergrowth, we made our way out to an expanse of grassy fields. Here we briefly heard the little metallic ‘ting-ting-ting‘ of a White-striped Freetail Bat, the only microbat in Australia with an echolocation call with a low enough frequency for human hearing (recorded between 10-15 kHz).
The site was quite damp after a few previous days of rainfall. This meant we had frogs and lots of them calling from the wet grassy patches along the side of paths. A quick look for a softly diffused red torch helped us locate a handful of Common Eastern Froglet – an animal not always easily seen!
Leaving the frogs and fields, we followed the creek back into the forest. Here, our torches picked up the roosting masses of Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Little Corella, and Galah, all who were asleep in the high canopy. Winding our way back to the car, we saw another large collection of Common Ringtail Possum, a few more Common Brushtail Possum, heard a number of Southern Brown Tree Frog, and saw a Black Rat who quickly scampered away up a tree.
In our final stretch, we located a stunning Tawny Frogmouth who perched completely unperturbed by our group at eye-level. Seemingly fine with our presence, everyone was able to get a few quick (and sensational!) snaps, before we enjoyed the much-desired WAV (or Walk-Away-View).
Treeswift Wildlife & Nature would like to acknowledge and thank the 4x participants who came out with us on this very successful Melbourne By Night – we hope to see you again in the future!
– 30-40x Common Ringtail Possum
– 5x Common Brushtail Possum
– 1x Tawny Frogmouth
– 1x Grey-headed Flying Fox
– 1x White-striped Freetail Bat
– 1x Black Rat
– 2x Clicking Froglet (many more heard!)
– 5~ Southern Brown Tree Frog
– 80+ Sulphur-crested Cockatoo (asleep!)
– (2~) Little Corella (asleep)
– (2~) Galah (asleep)
– 1x Grey Butcherbird (asleep)
– 2x Maned Duck (on the river)