by Vanessa Malandrin,
HCCC Landcare, Gliders' Project Coordinator
August has been full of glider-activities around Seymour, including a wattle-planting day and three spotlight walks, and now I feel like we have some great results to share. Would you believe that just in one month we had nearly 100 people taking part in our events? For many it was the first time on a spotlight walk, and it proved to be not only a great way to contribute to environment protection through citizen science, but also a lot of excitement and fun. We submitted thirty observations of native animals to the Victorian Biodiversity Atlas, thanks to the efforts of Chris Pocknee (Central Victorian Biolinks Alliance) and Paul McGregor (BEAM Mitchell Environment Group). In total we spotted seven gliders, of which three confirmed sightings of the endangered squirrel glider (maybe four!).
Seymour Bushland Park proved to be a great location for our spotlight walks, as we saw two barking owls; two tawny frogmouths; one brushtail possum; three ringtail possums; one Krefft’s glider (sugar glider) and one koala! On our way back someone spotted some very shiny black feathers on a branch near the footpath, and our initial surprise gave way to a general laughter when the bird was identified as a rooster. This time we didn’t get the chance to see a Brush-tailed Phascogale, but we know that they’ve been previously spotted here, as the reserve offers them a healthy habitat, including a messy but healthy ground layer, full of logs, branches, sticks and understorey plants.
In conclusion, observing such a variety of native animals in these locations around Seymour was both surprising and uplifting. It made us clearly understand the importance of having healthy green corridors to keep these locations interconnected, as gliders need a continuous tree canopy to move around, and they become very vulnerable when they are forced to descend to the ground. It’s not a coincidence that our squirrel gliders were all spotted along the Goulburn River, where old river redgums offer plenty of real estate options in terms of tree-hollows. This reminded us of the importance of protecting old trees and planting more long-lived species for the future. Our next and final steps in this project will be to inspect the nest-boxes on Telegraph and Lambing Gully Rd, and to find the right places to install the new ones that have been built by VCAL students at Seymour College.
What did we see?
1st walk, end of Bolton St, behind Prince of Wales Hotel
1 Krefft’s Glider (ex Sugar glider)
2 common brushtail possums
1 glider Petaurus sp (no specific ID available)
3 squirrel gliders
2nd walk, Seymour Bushland Park
2 Barking Owls
2 Tawny frogmouth
1 Brushtail possum
3 Ringtail possums
1 Krefft Glider
3rd walk along Goulburn River, end of Anglesey St
10 brushtail possums
1 boobook owl
(And a small group returning earlier seems to have spotted a squirrel glider)
This project is funded by the Victorian Government through the Environmental Volunteering New Growth Project. BEAM is a partner in this project