Rats? Soft cute native rats
“We set off with Jenny and crew to meet a Parks Ranger up on Forlorn Hope Plain. This is Wilderness – part of the Buchan Headwaters, so we were very privileged to be allowed in!
We were participating in a survey to find out how the fauna of the area were faring after the devastating fire. Jenny had mentioned rats, of which I was rather dubious. Anyway we set up bat traps and about 100 special traps to catch small mammals during the afternoon, but unfortunately heavy rain started which curtailed birdwatching.
Next morning – more rain, but we had some success with our traps – lots of tiny bats and several different species of them, an Antechinus and a Spiny Crayfish. We also saw a white lipped snake and a copperhead basking between showers, so the fauna look OK. The fires must have been ferocious as the trees were mere skeletons, charred and blackened, but with some good new growth.
The rain kept up, but Jenny and Christine in their gumboots were valiant in their endeavours and the rest of us ventured out some of the time. Our persistence paid off – as we had captured and released a total of 48 bats (7 different species), 4 Antechinus and 4 Broad-toothed Rats! My friends at home would never believe I had been within cooee of any Rat, but these were soft and cute, so I had to get the obligatory photo to prove it!
Our last night there, nature put on an amazing show for us. Gale-force winds, thunder and lightening – rolling around for hours. We heard two loud cracks that were obviously falling trees and they sounded very near!
Next morning was fine and we thought maybe it would stay dry to pack up and collect our traps, but the rain rolled in again. Despite the rain we still managed to record 21 bird species during the 4 days. We got out OK thanks to Jenny’s skill at 4 wheel driving and there was no sign of the fallen trees, thank goodness.
After the rain the tree trunks looked amazing – the bark on the candlebarks, and other gums were spectacularly shining yellow and green – better than any Ken Duncan photo!
What an experience – thank you Jenny and crew. As usual the food and company were great and my boots have actually dried out!”
A. Pritchard (NSW)
An unforgettable moment
Day 2 on the Forlorn Hope Trip in April 2004 was cold and foggy. As we warmed our hands on our hot drinks, I looked as far as visibility allowed and noticed several spiders’ webs glistening in the early light. “Put up your binoculars and look, came the suggestion from a fellow bird watcher.”
What I saw will stay in my minds’ eye forever – We were completely surrounded by twinkling webs. The binoculars opened up my previous limited view to an unbelievable, extensive and dramatic sight. Sadly I didn’t capture it on film, but will never lose that amazing feeling. Special thanks to my fellow camper for the great suggestion. It seemed only minutes later, that the sun came out and the vision disappeared from our eyes.
R. Akie (Vic)