And the bush has friends to meet him, and their kindly voices greet him, In the murmur of the breezes and the river on its bars,
And he sees the vision splendid of the sunlit plains extended, And at night the wonderous glory of the everlasting stars.

Banjo Paterson (1889)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

In From The Coast

Perth sits on the Swan Coastal Plain, which once you go past the coastal dunes has Banksia Woodland. Banksia are wonderful trees and shrubs that are so important to the local animals for all the nectar, pollen and seeds they produce. Year round food, there's always one flowering somewhere.
Lots of hungry ticks in this habitat too, not a fun place to work in at spring or summer!

Not a very good photo, but this is what it generally looks like with tall Banksia and small shrubs on sand.

This photo shows the poor Banksia woodland after the introduced Dieback fungus is in the area. It moves through wet soil as a front killing plants as it goes. It's the same Dieback that's is destroying our Jarrah forests and kills over 50% of our native plants. It is sad that with massive urban developments and dieback, the Banksia habitats are changing and so will the animals in them.

No he's not dead. He's a sleepy Honey Possum (Tarsipes rostratus), but these little guys live off the nectar that Banksia supply and are in real trouble from dieback, cats and foxes.

A wonderful 'goanna' or monitor, a Black-tailed Tree Monitor (Varanus tristus) found in many WA woodland and forest areas.

He's a small monitor and grows to less than a metre. They are usually quite tame when you try to get him out of a trap, but they do have needle sharp claws!

In arid places they sometimes use rocky areas, but usually like tree hollows to hide in. Around Perth they need habitats with older trees.

He is fairly common, but so hard to find unless he's caught in a funnel trap. They just climb or slide around a tree trunk when they see you coming.

This guy a Moaning Frog (Heleioporus eyrei), better watch out for the Monitor or he will end up as a snack. They are common around swampy places on the coastal plain. I remember as a kid growing up in Bassendean near the Swan River and hearing these frogs every night in winter calling from every ditch and pool of water. Mum and I would sometimes walk to Gran's place at night and it was quite spooky to have dim street lights, a low fog and hear moaning all around you!

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