Friday 22 November 2019

Why Did the Possum Cross the Road?

Is that a very white powerline, or a funny piece of rope hung across the road?? You can keep guessing but we could also kill the suspense now...

A female Koomal or Common Brushtail Possum carrying her joey :-)

The funny bridge strung across Beeliar Drive is designed for this animal, the beautiful Koomal or Common Brushtail Possum (Trichosurus vulpecula). Recent surveys carried out in two local reserves revealed possums were present in one (Lake Kogolup), but not in the other (Yangebup Reserve). The fragmentation of wildlife habitat is one of the key reasons preventing some animals, particularly tree-climbing mammals, from moving around the landscape. The City of Cockburn therefore designed and installed a special 'possum bridge' to allow these excellent climbers to move across the road, and hopefully expand their population northwards. In order to inspire the next generation about possums, other wildlife and environmental education in general, the City supported a Re-Cyc-Ology Workshop at a local primary school, Mater Christi. This aimed to construct and install nest-boxes suitable for possums to enhance the habitat value of native bushland at Yangebup Reserve. So, with recycled materials and enthusisam, we headed to Mater Christi this morning to inspire some more kids!

The beautiful grassed workspace above was located outside one of the school's classrooms, and it provided the perfect environment for groups to work on assembling each of the 6 boxes. Then, after a lick of paint and some great discussions about the importance of tree-hollows as habitat, we set off into Reserve to install the boxes. Each one was hung on the trees using our usual tree-friendly, wire and hosepipe method. You can just make out in the below photo the entrance hole that is located at the rear of the box (against the tree), which makes it perfectly suited to the target species.

We are already looking forward to seeing who moves in! :)

Thursday 8 August 2019

Rivercare + Recycology = love for Jarrah Creek

A Phascogale nest box with a view!
We are very excited to have just completed a Re-Cycl-Ology Nest Box building workshop at Sawyers Valley Primary School, thanks to our friends at the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions through their Community Rivercare Program

The Jarrah Creek wetland, spot Simmo and the little fella!
This workshop, the second to be carried out at this (very lucky!) Perth Hills school focused on enhancing habitat for wildlife using the school's local Jarrah Creek wetland as a corridor to move throughout the hills. 
Brush-tailed Phascogale photographed in Mundaring, WA

The main target species was the Wambenger or Brush-tailed Phascogale (Phascogale tapoatafa), a rare local mammal that has been recorded in the area previously.

After a fascinating and entertaining whole school presentation about the importance of tree hollows and biodiversity in South West WA, the student 'Green Team'-ers got busy with the construction of six nest boxes.
Noongar Seasons sign on the Heritage Trail funded by State NRM

The students at this school have been caring for the Jarrah Creek Wetland for many years.  The head of Jarrah Creek is located at the base of the school and the students recognise that this wetland would have been significant to the indigenous Noongar people of this area.  

The school has engaged in annual monitoring of these nest boxes and we were all thrilled to discover Wambenger scats in one of the phascogale nest boxes!  They have had successful Red-capped Parrot fledglings two years in a row and each year, Australian Wood Ducks use the box close to the wetland.
Australian Wood Duck female sitting on eggs

This nest box project will provide much needed habitat for wildlife in an area that is predominately regrowth vegetation and lacks natural tree hollows. 
It was a unique opportunity to link a Re-Cyc-Ology nest box workshop with the Community Rivercare Program as it was our intention to inspire and motivate the next generation to care for this beautiful little wetland for years to come!