Tuesday 4 April 2023

Update 4th April 2023

Lorien is now back-riding.

Lorien back-riding on Sasha - 25th Mar 2023

Lorien was first seen back-riding on the 11th of March, but Sasha never likes photos being taken of her babies the first time they're back-riding.

Sasha, with Lorien retreating into her pouch - 11th Mar 2023

Lorien on Sasha's back - 25th Mar 2023

Lorien back-riding on Sasha - 27th Mar 2023

Lorien back-riding on Sasha - 27th Mar 2023

Although Lorien is very young, s/he is very adventurous and independent. Here is Lorien playing (or maybe hiding) in foliage some distance from Sasha. Two nights before this, Sasha visited without Lorien. By contrast, Wink's baby Sun, who is at least a month older than Lorien, has only just started venturing off Wink's back.

It's not clear to me what extent the personality of the baby is playing a part, what extent the mother is following a different strategy and to what extent external factors (such as the presence of different threats in different areas) are involved.

Lorien  - 2nd April 2023

Over the last month the possums have been sleeping in the boxes much less than usual and often several days go by with no possums in any box. A carpet python is probably to blame; one was seen on the 10th of March in Box 2.

Interestingly, four days later, Wink and Sun slept in this same box. Wink is very vigilant about pythons and pythons leave a smell which the sensitive nose of a possum can easily pick up, so I'm sure Wink knew the python had been there. Possibly she had reason to believe the python wasn't returning, or maybe she knew it was a small one and was hoping it would return so she could teach it a lesson. Wink is a large and strong possum and Sun is getting big too and together they could probably do a lot of damage to a small python.

Sun back-riding on Wink - 26th Feb 2023

Sun back-riding on Wink - 27th Feb 2023

Sun still back-riding on Wink - 23rd Mar 2023

Blossom is still without a baby. Blossom will be the first female brushtail that we've seen in this area not to have a baby every 6 months. I think it may be a choice on Blossom's part rather than any physical problem because she has had one baby so far - Rae. Rae was healthy and Blossom and was a good mother to him under difficult circumstances. 

Her territory is more marginal than that of her mother Wink and grandmother Sasha and possibly she decided it would be safer to forgo the burdens of motherhood for a season.

She was, however, recently seen with a plucking in the middle of her back, so she could have been mating.

Blossom - 2nd April 2023

Blossom - 2nd April 2023

Blossom - 2nd April 2023

Kulan now hasn't been seen for a while. A new male possum appeared in the area who looks somewhat like Kulan and for a while I thought it was him, but this new possum was much shyer than Kulan and also has a piece taken out of the top of his right ear which Kulan never had. 

Unknown Male Brushtail - 31st Mar 2023

I suppose Kulan could have picked up an injury to the ear since he was last seen, however the injury looks quite old and my money would be on this possum not being Kulan.

Unknown Male Brushtail (closeup of ear) - 31st Mar 2023

Guran has been seen around a couple of times. He still keeps his distance from humans.

Guran - 1st April 2023

The water dragons - Elton and Ziggy - have taken to sleeping in low-down branches in the trees, where they are less likely to be trampled by possums. In very hot weather they sometimes sleep with all four legs hanging down. I will try to get a photo of this next time I see it.

I did get this photo of Ziggy sleeping on a branch.

Ziggy - 8th Mar 2023

He's well camouflaged and I only noticed him when I picked up his eye-shine with a torch.

There was also a baby water dragon seen a few times. No photos were taken - it ran and hid whenever I got near and I didn't want to pursue it just for the sake of a photo.

The brush turkeys are doing well. No young ones have been seen for a while, so the chicks which hatched last season have either fallen victim to some predator or have moved out permanently.

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