Sugar Gliders and Ghost Mushrooms – another diverse day at Kurrawonga

The weather has been a little crazy this summer and has definitely affected the life at Kurrawonga.

The recent heavy summer rains have led to an explosion of the fungi world including one large ghost mushroom colony. Sadly, the hot days very early in the summer has led to not so pleasant discoveries when we checked all our nesting boxes on Saturday. A couple of the old nesting boxes which were installed many years ago had evidence of recently deceased brush-tailed possums in it.

The unusual hot days in November might be the reason that those possums overheated due to the boxes being too exposed at that time of the year. However, we are taking the positive from this: all the nesting boxes are being used and are obviously in high demand. To overcome this problem in the future, we will upgrade the old boxes with a different design and install them in spots that ensure less sun exposure. And the good news is… all the new boxes we installed last year are all being used by sugar gliders!

Our first Working-bee of the year was a very versatile one and we would like to give our beautiful volunteers a chance to describe their experiences:

“My first trip to Kurrawonga was to discover what a treasure to the world it is. My first impression was the sound of so many different birds.

The day was grey and misty, my most favourite weather to be out in the bush and the lichen and fungi were happy to have a little summer moisture. Our tasks were to check the nest boxes, mow and clear the track, fill pit fall trap buckets with debris and checking the tiles for reptiles. To our great joy, two sugar gliders were curled up asleep in a nesting box and all the other ones with the small holes had leave nests as if they were being use. However, the nest boxes with the larger openings were not so successful. 

It was a lovely morning spent with like minded people.”

Deb T.

Checking the nesting boxes for Sugar Glider activity. (Image C. Loras)

Our first task was to check the nesting boxes which were installed during a working-bee last year. With 30 mm entrance holes we were hoping for Sugar Gliders to use these boxes. All the Nest boxes had nesting materials in them, eucalyptus leaves covering the interior base of the box. In one box the leaves were in a beautiful cup shaped nest and in one box there was a pair of sugar gliders all curled up resting for the day – yay! The older boxes with holes large enough for brush tailed possums were a sadder story. Dead animals in two of the three boxes. Nicole took one of the boxes down to further investigate the cause of the deaths.”

Sue B.

“Kurrawonga Volunteer Working bees are a great source of enjoyment for me! Nicole always receives us warmly, provides tea, coffee and usually an additional unusual tasting (eg. semolina and muntries!). The physical activity, walking through the restful bush doing something which will have a productive outcome, is so good for my “spirit”.

The Joys:

  • Peeping into nesting boxes and seeing a tiny, curled up sugar glider pair – and then learning that this little species has some thermo-regulation challenges and therefore huddle together to keep each another warm.
  • Lifting up reptile tiles viewing the life underneath – ants, beetles, spiders!

Extras:

  • Fungi, orchids, secretive blooming tiny plants, are wonderful discoveries to lift our spirits
  • The camaraderie amongst the volunteers is so nice: interesting chats, relaxed interactions. Always interesting, physically active and FUN.”

Christina L.

It’s amazing how many little creatures, fungi and plants you can discover when doing some track maintenance.

“I enjoyed looking for sugar gliders, it was my first experience with nesting boxes. We also checked the tiles that are placed on the property and found one skink under one of the tiles. – Thank god there were no snakes! We also discovered interesting and stunning spider webs including some egg sacks. I also found great satisfaction in mowing the tracks and the sound of cutting down the larger plants in the middle of the track.”

Donna S.

“A great day, a chance to spend time with like-minded people, enjoy the outdoors and be active as well. A good social day. The staff are very pleasant.”

Helen B.

“Volunteering with NGT has been a wonderful experience. The process to join NGT and volunteer was easy and they make you feel very welcome and appreciated. The staff and volunteers are really friendly and passionate about the environment and wildlife. In the short amount of time volunteering with NGT I have already learnt a lot about the organisation, the projects they are currently working on and some ecology of the local landscapes. Best of all is spending time in nature interacting with a team of like-minded people helping to conserve our local environment.”

Beck L.

Two Sugar Gliders huddled up in a nesting box.

Thanks again to all our volunteers for being involved, so interested and passionate about our work and our environment!

Our next working bee will be on the 11th of April 2020, send us an email if you would like to join us for the day.

There will also be an open day on the 14th of March 2020. On open days the Kurrawonga property is open for you to explore at your own leisure. No hosted activities are planned on open days but the property is yours to discover, explore and to enjoy.

Nicole Mojonnier
Nicole Mojonnier


X