I have known for some time about a Mahogany Glider (Petaurus gracilis) research project undertaken by the good people of Wildlife Queensland, but that’s almost all I knew until they scheduled a visit to the site last Sunday as one of their regular monthly walks.
Their monitoring site straddles Ollera Creek an hour North of Townsville, between the highway and the coast. We gathered at the Paluma turn-off before driving in convoy through well-timbered grazing land to the beach near the mouth of Ollera Creek.
A longish beachcombing walk along the beach included some fairly systematic rubbish collection (one of us had a 4WD ute and followed us along a track just behind the first row of trees) and bird-spotting.
(As usual, click any image to go to the light-box for larger images and extended captions.)
Most of the birds on the spit were Black-naped, Common and Little Terns, according to our keenest birdwatcher and her friends in Birdlife Australia’s Townsville group (thanks!), with a few Lesser Crested Terns (bigger, and with orange beaks) amongst them. Small waders included the Red-capped Plover and Grey-tailed Tattler as well as the Pied Oystercatchers in my gallery here.*
Our beach walk was followed by a late morning tea and a visit to the section of the creek where Mahogany Gliders were first confirmed. We were shown one of the ten movement-triggered camera traps but it wasn’t a day for downloading their data (a serious commitment of time and energy involving a lot of walking and ladder-carrying) so we were on our way home by early afternoon.
The WQ Townsville branch blog is still, sadly, somewhat dysfunctional but two key posts about the glider project and its location are still present in toto and are worth reading. This February 2018 post outlines the project and this one from January 2019 describes the first year’s results.
* Post updated 25 and 27 October as more bird ID’s were confirmed.