Living postcard – discovering wildlife amongst the forest in early autumn March 2022
A living postcard with stories from some iconic Australian species
After a very wet begining to autumn, there were some delightful close encounters with iconic Australian species on my daily nature walks. To see and encounter these iconic species was so uplifting and awe inspiring. Let me introduce them to you below.
Echidna in the suburbs
This encounter with an echidna in my own suburban street was really exciting. It actually turned into a special moment with neighbours who alsowanted to share in this s wantef To have such creatures from the bush surrounds visiting a suburban front year is amazing.
Known as the short-beaked echidna (Tachyglossus aculeatus) this mammal has a body covered in fur and spines. These pointy sharp spines are a formidable barrier to help deter predators.
Echindas have a long flexible tongue that is used to capture and eat ants. It was amazing to watch this echidna have ants crawling all over its body as it moved its snout to sense out the ants and then eating them. There certainly was a lot of ants on offer and as a human we wouldn’t feel comfortable at all in this situation.
The swamp wallaby (Wallabia bicolour) is not always as regularly observed as it once was in Sydney bushland. This wallaby has been regularly observed on our wild forest therapy walks. Always quiet and doesnt seem to be very choosy about its diet. On this ocasion we observed it eating quite a spikey bush. Their preferred habitat is amongst thick forest undergrowth common on Sydney Hawkesbury Sandstone soils.
Australian water dragon
The Eastern Water Dragon (Intellagama lesueurii ssp. lesueurii) is common along waterways in Sydney. I regulary see them in the warmer months near my local waterbody. This is the time when they like to bask in the sun and abosrb the heat from rocks, paths and sunny spots. I regularly spot their camouflagued skin on my walks on the paths and rocks around me. I did get a surprise to see them basking in this shrub.
With water nearby and tree cover to shelter in – it is a perfect spot to warm up as well as feed on insects and plant material. It seemed like such a perfect spot and so well disguised amongst the branches. Perhaps you can spot one next time you visit a creek or well vegetated water body. I do enjoy watching them move and occasionally dropping into the water.
Leeches are classed as segmented worms and belong in the smae class as earthworms. Their movements are very interesting to watch as they propel along with their thick muscular bodies.
Leeches can tolerate long periods in the dry – and once moisture becomes available they can very quickly revive.
When a leech is hungry they become very responsive to light and other stimuli using the sensory organs they have on their head and body. Not everyone enjoys encountering a leech when they are out walking and I reveal a leech protection action plan in this video.
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