A week ago I joined my first Wildlife Queensland walk for the year, having missed an expedition to their Mahogany Glider Project Area in March and the branch’s 50th birthday party in April.
Their May walk took us up into the foothills of Mount Stuart behind the Western Campus of James Cook University. It began on a purpose-built walking track but quickly led us onto an impressive network of mountain bike trails, all new to me and a very easy way to “go bush” just a few minutes from suburban Townsville. Continue reading “Walking the foothills of Mount Stuart”
Early mornings have been so beautiful recently that staying indoors unnecessarily is … criminal? silly? wasteful? something of that kind, anyway … and a week ago I took advantage of a couple of free hours to visit the Palmetum.
I’ve written oftenenough about how the Dry season brings the birds to town, looking for water and food but the birds aren’t the only creatures on the move. These Allied Rock Wallabies, Petrogale assimilis, normally live on the upper slopes of Mount Stuart but have recently been venturing down to the edge of suburbia (in this case Wulguru) for any green food they can find.
A gap in the picket fence which separates this lawn from the lower slopes of the mountain, allows the wallabies to come cautiously through at dawn and dusk. There’s not much lawn left, in spite of the homeowners’ best efforts with the sprinklers, but it’s still far better than the hill. The homeowners have taken to sitting on the back step to watch their visitors and give them the occasional handout of rolled oats or carrots.
The Allied Rock Wallaby is much smaller than the other common local wallaby, the Agile Wallaby, at around 4.5 kg as compared to 15 – 27 kg (i.e. cat size rather than dog size). Like other rock wallabies, this species lives on cliffs, boulder piles and rocky outcrops, and emerges into surrounding bushland at night to forage; Rootourism has more information about biology and habitat. They can often be seen late in the day at the Mount Stuart lookout and (almost any time) at the feeding station on Magnetic Island.
They particular animals look a bit moth-eaten but we think it’s just because they are losing their winter coats.