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Big day out in the Little Desert


Michael Duffy

Little Desert National Park VIC Bush Blitz | Oct 2018

Day one at Little Desert National Park saw us setting out before dawn with the reptile team from Museums Victoria. A number pitfall trap lines had been opened up the previous evening and it was important to clear them before the day warmed up to much.

On the way to the site, a block of land adjoining the Little Desert National Park, we met up with some of the landowners from the Urimbirra Cooperative and Ben from The Wimmera CMA. Ben was the expert on mammals and was there to help with the handling of any mammals that were caught in the pitfall traps. The mammals were also to be microchipped and to have a small tissue sample taken.

Everyone was excited to get to the first traps and see what we had. I think our group was very fortunate as at the first site we were lucky enough to find a Western Pygmy possum and a Fat-tailed Dunnart, two of the cutest little animals I have ever seen. Our good luck continued as we visited the next few trap lines, finding a few more dunnarts and another pygmy possum.

big day out 1

The reptile team were also happy with their mornings work finding a wood gecko, a velvet gecko and two species of frog, the Pobblebonk frog and the Spade-footed frog. The highlight of the morning for the herpetologists was finding a Mitchells Short-tailed snake. Once all the traps were cleared we headed back to home base, Nhill Billy Farm, for lunch.

Lunch complete, we headed out again to some different sites, these ones deep in the national park. This time there were only four of us, Jo Sumner and Till Ramm from Museums Victoria and Jeff and myself from TeachLive. These sites took a lot longer to get to over some pretty rough sandy tracks, but it was worth it as we found a few more amazing reptiles, a painted dragon and a robust skink. This time we also had to work a bit harder as the reptile team were finishing up and we had to pack up the traps.

big day out 2

After a long but satisfying day in the field we managed to just get home in time for dinner. It was a big day but I look forward to doing plenty more over the next week.