First some very sad news; Marcel was hit by a car on the road. He was found in the morning, badly injured, and had to be euthanized by the vet. He has been buried in the garden next to Rahmet.
|Marcel - 26th July 2021 [Photo by Xesce]
In the two years he was in the area, Marcel grew from being a relatively small possum who was always being injured to a strong and handsome possum with a calm and confident personality.
Marcel is probably Pax's father. He seemed to be protecting her after her mother Rahmet died. When Pax was visiting, he often seemed to be in the trees nearby looking out for danger. It is also likely that he is Blake's father. Blake and Pax both seem to have taken after him in terms of being smart and capable possums.
He would often leave the area for a couple of weeks at a time and he probably had girlfriends in other territories. I hope he fathered lots of cute baby possums.
Goodbye Marcel, it is unfair that you fell victim to a careless driver and you will be missed.
Blake is now independent of Sasha.
At the time of writing he has not been seen - either sleeping in a box or personally - for several days and it's possible he's moved out of the area. This is earlier than young males usually leave (I would have expected him to hang around until at least January), but there's currently a much larger than normal number of possums in the area and this probably changes things.
|Blake - 7th Nov 2021
One specific thing that may have prompted Blake to leave the area (or at least to move to a sleeping spot further away from the house) is that Shane has started using Box 1, which was previously Blake's domain. In fact, the first time Shane used this box was the last time Blake was seen.
Blake is a smart and self-reliant possum and should be able to cope on his own.
Some weeks ago Blake had an unpleasant experience. Box 1 was invaded by bees while he was sleeping in it. He ended up evacuating the box and moving to the nearby Box 5. I don't know if he was actually stung - it looked like it and he certainly left Box 1 very hurriedly - but he seemed uninjured when he entered Box 5 a couple of minutes later.
Blake forced out of Box 1 by bees - 11th Nov 2021
In addition to the bees, a young kookaburra also visited box 1.
Kookaburra visiting Box 1 - 15th Nov 2021
This is the first time a bird has been seen in any of the possum boxes. I don't know what it was up to, but it spent some time pecking at the wood.
Sasha is doing well and looks healthy. She seems to have accepted being moved on from her territory and has avoided conflict with Wink.
You will notice that her left ear is turned to one side. This is because the new neighbours on that side have two rottweilers in their yard, and the possums always keep a cautious eye and ear on them when they're nearby. There is no danger to the possums as long as they stay on the Possum TV side of the fence, but I'm glad they're being cautious.
|Sasha - 24th Nov 2021
Sasha has another baby in the pouch. It's possible the baby - her 14th (known) one - will start to venture out of her pouch in the nestbox some time soon. Unfortunately she is currently using Box 3 which has a particularly bad camera, so the little one won't be easy to see.
Shane has been having a difficult time. She had been using Box 2, and this annoyed wink who considered the box to be part of her territory. Every time Shane left the box at night, Wink would enter it and leave a message, in the form of poo or piddle, for her.
Shane put up with this for a while but now seems to have found some alternative accommodation. She has used box 1 several times recently but also appears to have at least one more sleeping spot elsewhere.
There are no recent photos of Shane because she now rarely visits the house and only stays a very short time when she does.
|Shane - 19th Oct 2021
|Shane with Jedi back-riding - 22nd Oct 2021
Jedi hasn't been seen for a while. When last seen she was healthy and growing up fast.
|Jedi - 2nd Nov 2021
It is possible that something has happened to her, but it's also possible that she has found it safer to stay apart from Shane, who is always under danger of attack from Wink. Jedi has already proved extremely competent at surviving on her own when she spent a whole day separated from Shane while still suckling.
Pax hasn't been seen since September. This is not really surprising because Sasha, Blake and Shane all moved into the area at the bottom of the garden which Pax had previously used, forcing Pax further away from the house.
Walt still visits on an irregular schedule and is still in good health. There are no recent photos of him.
Wink is doing well and is taking her difficult role as the dominant possum seriously. It would be nice if all of the possums could live together in harmony, but in nature possums have limited resources and to survive they need to vigorously defend their territories. So Wink is only doing what is natural, and she is doing a very good job, especially considering she is less than two years old.
|Wink - 24th Nov 2021
|Wink (left) and Blossom (right] - 9th Oct 2021 [Photo by Xesce]
Blossom is doing well and has been independent of Wink for a while, but currently still shares the same territory. Often both are in the garage - on opposite sides pretending the other isn't there - and sometimes one is in the garage and the other is in Box 8.
|Blossom - 23rd Oct 2021
Interestingly, when I put up Box 8, it was intended as a refuge for possums who were not welcome in the area. It was in a location which I thought would be undesirable. It was fairly noisy and exposed and right in a corner of the yard with a road on one side and a possum-unfriendly neighbour's yard on another. I put it there because it was as far from the other possum boxes as I could get. I thought the established possums would ignore it and it would remain as a refuge for other possums in times of need.
Instead, it seems to have been particularly favoured by the most dominant possum in the area - Wink. She sprinkled it copiously with poo to deter other possums soon after she used it for the first time. The only possum other than her and Blossom to enter the box has been Marcel, who did so once and only very briefly.
By the way, I've vacuumed Wink's poo out of boxes 2 and 8. Although the pellets harden up quickly and are probably not too offensive (as far as poo goes), I thought they had performed their function of warding off other possums and the boxes would be better off without them. If Wink disagrees, she can easily redecorate the boxes.
Some ringtails are seen from time to time, but are still not interested in approaching humans.
|Mother and Baby ringtails - 6th Nov 2021
|Male Ringtail - 20th Nov 2021
There has been a brush turkey chick seen in the yard. It is likely that a number of chicks have hatched prior to this and not been seen.
The photo isn't too good; it was taken at maximum zoom from a balcony overlooking the turkey mound, and the chick was energetically digging in the leaf litter at the time.
|Brush Turkey Chick - 19th Nov 2021