Monday, 9 September 2013

Mont Albert night life

Once upon a time the idea of night life would have conjured images of noisy crowded bars, loud conversation and the faint possibility that you would meet somebody you would still be talking to in thirty or forty years time.

Today, in suburban Melbourne, night life takes on a very different meaning.  At this time of year, the fall of darkness comes just before the kids bed-time, the perfect opportunity for a bit of night life spotting.

Although Opossums are found America, it is in Australia that the marsupials evolved the greatest diversity.  And, strange as it may seem, the manicured streets of Mont Albert are a great place to find some of them.  We may not have kangaroos and koalas, but our street is a paradise for possums. Australian possums (this is not a shortened version of the American name) take advantage of the jungle gym of wires and tree branches that criss cross our street, and the lack of leaves at this time of year makes it prime possum spotting time.

The most common possum we see is the Ring Tailed Possum -  about the size of a small cat, with a white tip to its tail.  The tip of the tail is prehensile, and its underside is bare of fur, presumably to improve the grip!

Ringtail Possum

Ringtail Possum

Ringtail Possum

Ringtail Possum
A much larger possum - The Common Brush Tail - is often heard at night clattering about on the roofs of houses, or often and much less popularly, inside the roof!  These possums are the size of large cat - and the males can grow to the size of small dogs!  They are not a small animal.  Given their name its hardly a surprise that that have a bushy tail - but its their size and large pointy ears that make them easy to tell from their smaller cousins.

Brush Tail Possum - showing pouch. 
Brush Tail Possum - with young one on board!
These possums are remarkably fast, even with a young one on board.  The couple in the image above ended up hanging under the wire, and just carried on as if nothing had happened!

But its not all marsupials.  This time of year offers a good chance to see a large Nightjar like bird called a Tawny Frogmouth.  These birds are often mistaken for owls.  You can see some of the good value features of this bird in these images - the fine hairs that extend around the beak and the in one shot you can see the birds second eye lid.
Tawny Frogmouth
Tawny Frogmouth
Tawny Frogmouth.

So, here ends my brief tour of the Night Life of Mont Albert.

You can find more images from around the world at Our World Tuesday.

SM



32 comments:

Timur said...

Wow...brilliant photos !! These are some really cute guys :)

Greetings from Germany

Marcia said...

That was wonderful! How neat to see those at night. I bet your kids are great at spotting them too.

Revrunner said...

Wild and crazy place! :-)

Montanagirl said...

Your night shots are amazing! The Possums are very interesting creatures. There sure is a difference in their ears! The Nightjar for all the world looks like an Owl! Fabulous photos!

Sinbad and I on the Loose said...

Your possums are much cuter than our possums in America which look like an immensely overgrown rat brought on by an ultra high dose of radiation exposure.

TexWisGirl said...

except for varmints scampering on roofs and wreaking havoc, that's my kinda night life. :)

very cute critters!

Digi-Irma said...

Brilliant pictures Stewart.
They are all perfectly photographed, compliments.
Greetings Irma

Dave said...

Stewart, what incredible creatures. This is a post to savour with some brilliant photography. Congratulations....

Dave

Optimistic Existentialist said...

What beautiful nocturnal creatures!!

Sylvia K said...

What terrific captures for the day, Stewart!! Fantastic night shots! Wonderful birds and critters for the day!!

sparkle100-havealook.blogspot.com said...

oh my . I love the owls.

The Possums yuks.

I grew up knowing those were under my dads working garage shop.

I was not liking them. They came from under in day time as well.

Margaret Adamson said...

Hi Stewart Wow! Brilliant night time shots. very well shot.

stiefbeen said...

Wat een prachtige serie de foto,s van de buidelratten zijn geweldig en dat in de stad lijkt me al heel bijzonder en dan ook nog uilen .

Richard Pegler said...

Great night photography Stewart! That Frogmouth must make up for some of the birds you miss from 'back home', and the Possums are a pretty good substitute for a Grey Squirrel (but probably not a Red Squirrel!).

Best Wishes

Richard

CabinGirl said...

How fun to see night photos on your blog, Stewart! And such fascinating animals that you found.

Congrats on getting such crisp images at night :-)

Linda said...

Love the tightrope walkers! And how startled/slightly offended your subjects all look.

eileeninmd said...

The Tightrope walkers are cool! The Frogmouth is awesome! I have only seen them in zoo's. Amazing sightings and photos, Stewart.

Christian Perrin said...

A perfect series of photographs! They all somehow seem to bring out the personalities of the animals involved.

I just spent a week and a half in North QLD and the Brushtails in the mountains there are a deep orange colour and very shy, not like the grey rascals I usually see!

Jim said...

Brilliant nocturnal captures.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

My kind of nightlife!! I sure would have thought that frogmouth was an owl.

We have some ringtail possums near us in Florida..I posted one once. Someone told me they were exotic pets that were turned loose, so maybe they're the same animal. Lots of accidental species thriving in Florida .... pythons, possums, mynah birds, weird flowers, you name it.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Oh and snowbirds like us too....crowding out the natives.

Joyful said...

Fantastic night photos!

Cynthia said...

Fascinating! Australian possums are way cuter than ours. I have them visiting my compost pile quite often, especially in the winter when their natural food supplies are meager. They leave distinctive tracks in the snow, little paw prints with a line between made by their dragging trail.

Muzza said...

Great shots Stew - there are plenty about for sure, but they little blighters are eating all the new leaves on the deciduous trees and a pair of Ringies has killed one of my gums at the back. Need some predator balance in Blackburn!

Barbara/myth maker said...

Wow, great shots, Stu. Interesting fellows, and love the owls.

Kusum Sanu said...

Great shots! Their glowing eyes in the night are quite scary though.

Jocee said...

Awesome pictures, although not so keen on the big possums. They are such a pest here.

Gary Phillips said...

Great night series!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

chai-and-chardonnay.blogspot.com said...

It looks like an owl from the front but from the side it is a bird! love the name of it.And to observe the possums swinging on the cables and trees---glorious!

NatureFootstep said...

gorgeous shots of your night adventure. Especially love the shots of the frogmouth. :)


http://nfbild2.blogspot.se/2013/09/royal-visits-to-my-town.html

ladyfi said...

What great shots! And at night too.

Pat Tillett said...

Very nice photos Stewart!
I would have bet money that the bird was an owl. I think this is only the third time I've ever actually heard the word. In an Elton John song, the band Nightjars, and your post.

We have possums all over the place here, but they don't look even a bit like these guys.