Friday, 27 February 2009

The Eastern Barred Bandicoot

Last night I went spotlighting. Thank you to Amy, who hosted me at Mt Rothwell. Amy is part of the recovery team for the Eastern Barred Bandicoot (EBB), trying to bring it back from the brink of extinction. A tough and ongoing challenge.

As soon as dark permitted (and animals were awake) Amy drove and I wielded the spotlight, in the search for the elusive EBB.

There was nightlife aplenty. We saw Pademelon, Bettong, Southern Brown Bandicoots, Red-necked Wallabies, Brush-tailed Rock Wallabies, Eastern Grey Kangaroos. We also found ten EBB, the location of which Amy logged with GPS.

This morning we were up before dawn ready to check the traps Amy had laid out yesterday. Again our target was EBB, but Bettong

(who nest in these so-invisible grassy beds that we were almost on top of them before they shot off)

seem to like the sweet and chewy bait, as did Quoll

and Southern Brown Bandicoots.

We did find two EBB

and Amy weighed, measured and health-checked them before releasing them. Some of the captured animals were keen to leave and hop-raced away as soon as the cage door was lifted. Others were happy to stick around for photos.

Fantastic. There was also an amazing sunrise.

...and east. These sunrise pics were taken in this order, with less than half an hour from first to last. Difficult to believe how the colours change.

See the traps in the foreground below? They are laid out in patterns calculated to catch not only the early-dusk emerging animals, but also the later-rising EBBs.

What a place! The Mt Rothwell site is fenced to keep out foxes and feral cats. It's almost completedly rabbit-free too. I reckon we've driven past this place with no idea of the population within. I'm hoping I'll have a chance to visit again.


Leonie said...

Amazing pics. And what gorgeous little critters! What a day!

Claire said...

It was fantastic. Particularly as several of these animals are struggling to survive loss of habitat and predators.

Sally Murphy said...

Beautiful photos, Claire. Sounds like a wonderful experience.

Claire said...

Thanks Sally. It was magical.

Catriona Hoy said...

Claire you are an awesome photographer. That pink sunrise is spectacular. Loved the earlier spider web too.
What a great experience.

Claire said...

Thanks Catriona. I'm hoping to go again in April when Amy has to fit 4g radio trackers and then gather as much info before the EBB manage to ditch the transmitters...

shyandrewt said...

What a great experience - I'm very envious. Did it get you in the mood for some camping? - it did for me :-)
Nice photos too.

There is a similar fenced off area near Shark Bay in Western Australia - great refuges for the numbats and bilbys, I believe.

shyandrewt said...
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Claire said...

Wasn't really roughing it...had a bunk bed, a composting toilet and a kitchen. Although it would be kinda cool to tent it in that company.