Mount Royal Nightlife

May 27, 2009 by
Filed under: Australian Mammals 
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Doing the loop looking for gliders.

Looking for animals in the Australian bush is quite often best done at night as many of the creatures are nocturnal and can only be seen when it gets dark. Richard Ali, Vicki Elliott and I did some spotlighting at Mount Royal National Park while undertaking a Rufous Bettong survey and we saw lots of wildlife, some I had never seen before.

Trapping Folk

Wildlife researchers, Richard Ali, Richard Harris and Vicki Elliott having a break at Youngville picnic area, Mount Royal National Park

Leaving our accommodation about 2 hours after dark, we travelled the Mount Royal loop road at about 15-20km an hour with a spotlight looking for wildlife, which took about 3 hours.

The Hut

"The Hut" at Mount Royal, very comfy!

Apart from the myriad of Red-necked Pademelons, and some Red-necked Wallabies, the first arboreal animal we saw was a Sugar Glider and I was lucky enough to get a photograph as I got within about 5 metres of this beautiful Australian mammal. You can hear their calls at night which sound like the “Yap” of a small dog.

Sugar Glider

Sugar Glider on trunk of tree.

There had been lots of rain in the park and the conditions were just right for spotting frogs and we weren’t dissapointed. We saw two Black Soled Frogs – Lechriodus fletcheri, a species I had not seen before, which has distinctive barred markings on the legs. A big thanks to Daniel O’Brien who correctly identified the frog for me.

Black Soled Frog - Lechriodus fletcheri

Black-soled Frog

Travelling slowly allows you to see many animals that are rarely seen and others that are quite common. We saw a Long-nosed Bandicoot (Parameles nasuta) who was directly beside the car, a cryptic creature that is rarely seen, and we saw about a dozen Tawny Frogmouths (Podargus strigoides) who you can get quite close to.

Tawny Frogmouth

Tawny Frogmouth at Mount Royal

One of the highlights of the Mount Royal nightlife is seeing a Greater Glider (Petauroides volans) in the upper tree canopy. These arboreal mammals are very quiet and not often seen, but we were lucky enough to see one who was directly above the road way up in the tops of the trees. Unmistakable with their bright eyeshine and slow movements these animals can be seen at Mount Royal with a strong torchlight.

Greater Glider

Greater Glider with bright white "eyeshine" in tall Eucalypt trees

A great night of spotlighting at Mount Royal National Park although it was quite cool with the windows of the car open all the time looking for animals.



One Response to “Mount Royal Nightlife”
  1. Elsie Howe says:

    Hi, Doug Beckers, from a a Dubbo Field Nat you may just about remember. Just Googled ‘Mt Royal National Park NSW Sugar Glider’ – and a site of yours was NOT what I expected to pop up near the top of the list! It justs fitted the bill!

    Will be good to hear back from you when you’ve time in your VERY busy life, and then ALL will be explained re the need to Google as above!

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