Zoos Victoria Zoos Victoria
Two Leadbeater’s Possum (LBP) territories surveyed today – Q4 and O2A (my favourite part of the reserve). Hoped to find 10 LBPs here…
The thicker the vegetation, the easier it is for Leadbeater’s Possums to run through the forest. They rarely (and reluctantly) descend to the ground to move between trees, so rely on continuous forest cover.
A blue mushroom!
Alas, none found, despite the vegetation in both territories being in good condition. Both LBP families are probably still present and denning in natural tree hollows rather than nest boxes. Need to confirm that these territories are still active using a secondary survey method – either call imitation or camera traps. It would be surprising and a serious setback if these territories have been abandoned by the resident LBP families.
Agile Antechinus are voracious predators of insects. As insects are easy to digest, the antichinus have a very fast gut passage rate. This means they just can’t hang on all day and scats (poo) are a telltale sign that antechinus have been using a nest box.
Agile Antechinuses were found in four different nest boxes. Sugar Gliders were found in one nest box. Common Ringtail Possums were found in two nest boxes, one where the lid had become detached and the other where the possum had chewed and enlarged the entrance hole. The entrance holes to the nest boxes are small and usually prevent the entry of Ringtail possums which are six times larger than LBPs. Birds such as rosellas and owlet nightjars also prefer larger entrance holes and so rarely utilize the nest boxes.
A Common Ringtail Possum has made its nest of fine tea tree twigs on top of an old Leadbeater’s Possum nest (which provides a nice soft base). The ringtail has had to chew open the small entrance hole in order to squeeze through and enter the nest box.
Ringtail Possums prefer to use tree hollows for denning, but where hollows are scarce they will construct dreys as shown high in this paperbark thicket. They dreys consist of fine tea tree and paperbark twigs woven into a tight ball.
Observed a Helmeted Honeyeater at Q4. This is significant, as the birds have made their way back to this site naturally. In the mid 1990s it was the stronghold for the species, and over five years during the drought, it was abandoned entirely, possibly due to reduced food production. A small number of birds have returned following the increased rainfall of the past three years. No sign of the Powerful Owls sighted here last year. But there was a trace of whitewash under a Blackwood indicating that they are still in the area.
Drier, more open woodland occurs on the slopes and ridges adjacent to the floodplain forest at Yellingbo. This vegetation supports large numbers of Sugar Gliders. Leadbeater’s Possums do not forage in this forest type.
Fresh excavations. A new wombat burrow.
The creation of a levee bank has resulted in sections of forest being permanently inundated at Yellingbo. This has led to severe vegetation dieback.
Recently I mentioned I’d try to find out a little more on the LBP. Did discover there are/were two LBP, High country & Lower country. Being just simple me, how come with all this modern genes techno we don’t try a mix & match then later revert back to the two separate types if successful ? Just a thought ….