ACT Field Visit – Mulligans Flat

This weekend my parents invited me to visit Canberra with them. After a look around the National Museum of Australia, we headed out to a night tour at Mulligans Flat.

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Mulligans Flat Woodland Sanctuary is an area of remnant Box Gum Grassy Woodland that is being managed to conserve and restore the entire ecological community at all levels. Non-native predators are actively excluded, rabbits are gradually being eradicated from within the reserve, and several locally-extinct native species have been reintroduced over the past few years, including Eastern Bettongs, Eastern Quolls, New Holland Mice, Bush Stone Curlews, and others. There are a large number of other native species living within the reserve as well.

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This was my third visit to Mulligans Flat; I visited briefly one afternoon last year, and went on a night tour with some friends earlier this year (no blog post for that trip sorry). Each time I have been to Mulligans Flat has been exciting, as each time I’ve seen species I’ve never seen in person before. On my first visit it was a couple of Tawny Frogmouths and a Treecreeper; on my second visit it was Eastern Bettongs and Sugar Gliders; and this weekend it was a young Eastern Quoll! I didn’t get a photo of the quoll, but I did get a spectacular view of it – it was seen darting into a hollow in some fallen timber (or ‘lying’ timber rather than ‘fallen’, as I understand a lot of the logs on the ground providing habitat were deliberately brought onto the site for that purpose);  it was possible to look down the hollow to see the quoll hiding in the space at the bottom, and train our red torches on hir, so I got a lovely clear (if red-lit) view of hir face and spotted fur for several minutes, before s/he turned and crept further under the log. A second quoll was spotted nearby which I didn’t see, but which other members of the tour group who had missed the first one got to see, so it worked out quite well.

I did get photos of some of the other species we saw on our tour:

Eastern Grey Kangaroos (Macropus giganteus), including this female who will be kicking out her pouch tenant in the near future.

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Red-necked Wallabies (Macropus rufogriseus) (My apologies for the terrible photos, the light was going).

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Two Sugar Gliders (Petaurus breviceps) (Both of these photos are of the same individual, I didn’t get a good pic of the other).

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Assorted frogs.

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I think the first two are Peron’s Tree Frogs (Litoria peroni), we certainly heard several of them calling from the vicinity, the fourth is a Spotted Marsh Frog (Limnodynastes tasmaniensis), and it’s possible the third is too, but he was mostly visible as a little bug-eyed face with an inflated vocal sac peering through the reeds so I’m not certain. As always, if any readers are able to offer positive identifications please do so.

Seen but not photographed: numerous Eastern Bettongs (Bettongia gaimardi) and several Brush-tailed Possums (Trichosurus vulpecula) carrying young on their backs – all of them great fun to watch.

The guides at Mulligans mentioned the great work being done at Jerrabomberra Wetlands, so my parents and I decided to head there the next morning. My photos from the wetlands have been uploaded into a separate post.

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