Friday, June 26, 2009

Megalong Valley with a Capertee Detour

15 emails, a few SMS messages and some statements that rocked the foundation of pub-law and we were ready to hit the bush :-) Jarrod, Adelle, Iain and yours truly met up in Blackheath Saturday morning'ish to do some nature and wildlife exploring in the not-so touristy end of the upper Blue Mountains. The lack of tourists could possibly be linked to the less than impressive weather, but as long as you have the right shoes you would be fine ... said by the guy that forgot his walking boots at home, tip-toeing around in his work shoes instead :-\

Jarrod and/or Adelle had been trawling through the books and found a great little walk down in the Megalong Valley. As the above picture reveals it gave stunning views of the cloud filled valley below.

Due to the weather I had not expected to see much wildlife, but was proven wrong. Maybe indeed because of the near evening feel the clouds created Jarrod was able to spot two Squirrel Gliders sucking eucalypt sap of a tree few metes from the path.

Great spotting! I have only seen gliders before by spotlighting during the night and never this close. The Squirrel Glider is very similar to the Sugar Glider, but never carries a white-tipped tail, has a slightly pointier nose and overall a little bit larger. I might be wrong, but apparently even the gliders find it difficult, there are reports of interbreeding between the two species in captivity producing fertile offspring so a close call.

Jarrod had promised Iain that the Glossy Black-Cockatoos would be swarming in plague proportions, probably a bit optimistic but he was actually going to deliver - at least one, but that is all you need. An eventful 30 min of scrambling off road into the bush trying to pinpoint a smallish black Cocatoo that flew over us while softly growling, resulted in great celebrations and the closest I have seen Iain dancing since the famous Dural wedding ... actually longer than that :-) The bird had shown its red colored tail and Iain "400" Blake ticked his 400th Australian bird - Great guns!

We ended up amputating the walk quite badly due to the weather, but Megalong Valley is definitely a place to visit. If Jarrod can guaranty GBCs I will not be shy of promising a bit of Kangaroo-action.

I had decided to sleep in Capertee Valley, since it was only 1 hours drive away and there was a chance weather would pick up and produce a better Sunday ... it did not! However, Capertee is nice even when wet and as always the owls were out.

Quite happy about the above picture, ISO 3200, ss 1/60s only half zoom 270mm, using manual focus and on camera flash, taken lying on the passenger seat, out through the left window of the Magna, which I had stopped in the middle of the road ... luckily not much traffic going to Glen Davis after dark :-) Red-eye remover in Picasa only medium successful, but sufficient for a blog ;-)

Sunday morning I woke up to clouds so low that they nearly touched the good old Salewa tent, after a couple of hours battling to shoot some pictures while keeping the camera dry I gave up and drove towards Sydney, only stopping for a coffee in Blackheath and a little walk in Castleraegh SF.


Iain said...

Nice owl. I was erring towards Sugar Glider for the little fellas on the tree though. Simply due to their size - very small. Not all Sugar Gliders have the white tip and they are much more common. But then again, even they get confused...

Jarrod said...

I'm with Iain they look more like sugar gliders to me. Squirrel gliders seem to have pointier heads. See here for a good comparison.

Jarrod said...

I will have to go to the capertee soon to get some owls though.

Natalia Leiner said...

Nice pictures of gliders feeding on sap. I wonder if I may reproduce these pictures (of course, with the proper credit to you) during the 10th Mammalogical Conference in Argentina. I will present a lecture about the role of marsupials as habitat modifiers, and it would be good to present a picture of the gliders feeding on sap.
Would you mind if I use your pictures?

AGL said...

Hi Natália Leiner,

Thanks, I am glad you like them :-)
As long as you are using them for an academic purpose you are welcome to reproduce the pictures.

Cheers Allan