Melaleuca, Tasmania. not recommended for mammals.

Last February, I visited Melaleuca, Tasmania, mainly because of our involvement in the recovery program for the critically endangered orange-bellied parrot (OBP), as this is the last known breeding site for the OBP. Melaleuca is an airstrip with no permanent population located in the south-west Tasmanian wilderness. Two walking tracks, one heading north and one heading south leave Melaleuca and it is a four day walk to the nearest road in either direction. Over summer there is a rotating population of National Park workers, OBP recovery workers and bushwalkers either starting or ending a walk. Birdwatchers fly in, often for only a few hours, to see the OBP while several other species which can be hard to find elsewhere, such as the eastern ground parrot and beautiful firetail, are easily seen here. Beyond that it is an incredibly beautiful spot.

However it is a bit of a dead loss for mammal watchers. I observed plenty of wombat scat but did not see any animals, while devils and both species of quoll are apparently often seen. All these species can be more reliably seen in much less isolated locations. I did see a broad-toothed mouse (or rat if you prefer), feeding on spilt seed under a feeder for OBP’s. This in itself was not a bad sighting as broad-toothed mice tend to live in rather remote locations, however probably not worth the $600 return flight on a light aircraft from Hobart!

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