Yellow-footed antechinus near Wangaratta
I and a friend spent the weekend at Kurringai Cottage near Wangaratta. It is sold as “self-catering accommodation for the nature-lover”. It has a three-acre bird garden on a rise overlooking the Ovens Valley towards the Australian Alps, and backing onto the Warby Ranges National Park. It has a bird list of over 130 species, and most of the species we saw were in significant numbers. The feature species is probably the scarce Turquoise Parrots, which we saw as we stepped out of the car.
However, the highlight was the local population of yellow-footed antechinus (Antechinus flavipes). My previous sightings of antechinus have been fleeting, and either very early in the morning or late at night. We had numerous, extended and excellent views throughout daylight hours during our stay. The highlight was one that ran across the deck outside were we were having a coffee at 9am this morning, then ran back along the windows, stopped at the glass door to look at us then ran off round the corner. I have never seen anything like it.
For those not familiar with antechinus they are carnivorous marsupials the size of mice or small rats. The males a famous for dying after they mate, never reaching their first birthdays.
Other mammals seen there were Eastern grey kangaroos, brushtail possums, eastern ringtail possums, and European rabbits. We did not explore the National Park behind us but I’m sure echidnas, koalas and Krefft’s gliders would all be present. We were given a site in a park in nearby Wangaratta for squirrel gliders but could not see any. Brush-tailed phascogales are also a good possibility in the Chilton area nearby. Both species could also potentially be in the forest behind the property, but I doubt if anyone has had a really close look.
Wangaratta is about a 2 and a half hour drive north-east of Melbourne on the main road to Sydney