Tag Archives: Yellow Footed Antechinus

Pickpocket Diggings and the Antechinus

When I visit Newstead, I like to drop by Rise and Shine Bushland Reserve in Yandooit. One of the spots in the Reserve is called Pickpocket Diggings. It is an old gold mining area with many mullock heaps. It is a popular area for gold detecting enthusiasts. On most occasions I seem to be able to find Yellow-footed Antechinus, a carnivorous marsupial mouse,  hopping across the path to trees in broad daylight. They dont seem to be bothered by people that much and I got pretty close. I watched this tiny hunter looking  for insects at the base of a tree and when it caught something it ran back to its home in an old tree stump. The males only live less than a year and die out in a super charged breeding frenzy while the females live on to raise their pups.

Yellow-footed Antechinus, Rise and Shine Bushland Reserve, Sandon, Vic

Yellow-footed Antechinus, Rise and Shine Bushland Reserve, Sandon, Vic

Yellow-footed Antechinus, Rise and Shine Bushland Reserve, Sandon, Vic

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Yellow-footed Antechinus home, Rise and Shine Bushland Reserve, Sandon, Vic

Yellow-footed Antechinus home

Central Victoria – Rise and Shine Reserve

I have been to this Clydesdale bush reserve a few times before including an excellent half day Photography workshop (Birds and Field-craft). The reserve has a few ways to enter and I visited both of the main entry points. The Ramsey Lane entry has a 1.5 Km circuit walk that always produces something interesting including Echidnas, Foxes, spooky trees and lots of birds.

The White Browed Babblers are building nests again for the second brood of the season. These birds tend to live in colonies or family groups and will build several nests in dense spiny trees/bushes only a few meters off the ground. They are very watchful, gregarious and don’t panic when you approach and just  slowly move away. They can be difficult to photograph as they are hard to sneak up on and are usually found within dense thickets.

White Browed Babbler

White Browed Babbler

A Babbler helping build a new nest in a spiny thicket about 2 metres off the ground

A Babbler helping build a new nest in a spiny thicket about 2 metres off the ground

Babbler looking for more nest material and keeping a eye on me..

Babbler looking for more nest material and keeping an eye on me..

 

One of my favourite birds to photograph – seems to be curious but probably just hangs about to pick up disturbed insects

Eastern Yellow Robin

Eastern Yellow Robin

Eastern Yellow Robin II

Eastern Yellow Robin II

A Black Fronted Dotteral – I was very surprised to hear a little chirp behind my car and I found this tiny Dotteral in an open patch of ground nearby. It is a little wader/shorebird – there are some large lakes nearby so it might have stopped for a rest before continuing on its journey.Black Fronted Dotteral

 

This was a rare find – a very small Yellow Footed Antechinus. I noticed the movement on a nearby tree as I was still watching the yellow Robin. It is a marsupial mouse with an interesting mating ritual. The 1 year old male will spend two frenetic weeks mating with as many females as possible and then die of exhaustion and stress.  (I would prefer to pace myself with a beer and a bit of cricket on TV….)

Yellow Footed Antechinus,

Yellow Footed Antechinus,

Yellow Footed Antechinus, II

Yellow Footed Antechinus, II

Yellow Footed Antechinus, III

Yellow Footed Antechinus, III

Yellow Footed Antechinus IV

Yellow Footed Antechinus IV

 

Always fun to find and photograph. This chunky armoured tank crossed my path and then headed into the scrub occasionally stopping to jab its nose into the ground to sense for ants. It is extremely sensitive to vibrations and will know you are nearby. If it feels threatened it will roll up with just the spikes sticking out. You are stalking well if you can walk up on one of these without it burrowing or hiding.

Echidna

Echidna

As I was walking on the return leg of the circuit I was hearing two Willie Wagtails warning each other about a nearby  potential threat. I was not that close to them and did not think it was me they were worried about. They have a very distinctive threat call (chicka chicka). I stood still for a while to watch what they were up to and try and ID the issue. Eventually I saw a fox working its way through some scrub. I got off a few shots and it froze as it tried to figure out the camera sound….it eventually saw me move and scampered off. It is a useful skill to learn the warning calls of the various birds.

Fox

Fox

As I seem to have wandered off the bird topic I might as well continue – on my first visit to the reserve I found this dead tree – I found it again and took some pics. It is the spookiest tree I have every come across – big, dead and wrapped in its bark like some six thousand year old walking Egyptian mummy. I have never seen a tree like this before and still don’t know what it is. I have seen other trees nearby with similar bark but nowhere near as big or as wrapped….this is my second attempt as trying to capture the feel of the site…more work needed…

Spooky Tree

Spooky Tree

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