Tutanning Nature Reserve

September: Main Club Excursion

Ten of us joined excursion leaders, Ry Beaver and Tanya Marwood at this unique reserve east of Pingelly. Tutanning NR is a DBCA managed property with accommodation at the Percy Marshall field station. The habitat is Wandoo woodland, with some kwongan heathland and several large granite outcrops.

We walked and drove along several trails on both days, on the lookout for Numbats. None were seen but a highlight was seeing seven Short-beaked Echidnas (Tachyglossus aculeatus) together (above, left and right). As we arrived, one Echidna left the group and we wondered if we were witnessing a post Echidna train/mating event! Several of the remaining animals—probably all male—walked around in circles quite unconcerned by our presence, though a couple of them seemed curious and came and sniffed around people’s shoes. It was an unforgettable encounter!

Three Western Grey Kangaroos were seen in the canola paddock adjacent to the reserve, cunningly slipping under the fence to return to hiding in the woodland. The gecko Variegated dtella (below) was found on one of the granite outcrops. Possible Woylie tracks were spotted, though a large feral cat was also seen—as well as a dead fox (the baiting program for the latter must be working!)

A night stalk and drive yielded a couple of Western Spotted Frogs (Heleioporus albopunctatus)(above) and we heard Granite Froglets (Crinia pseudinsignifera) and Pobblebonks (Limnodynastes dorsalis) near the streams and dam. True to name, along the track named ‘Tammar’, three Tammar wallabies gave us good view, obligingly stopping in a patch of pink everlastings for a photo. There were many spiders about at night. Two camera traps, placed along a ‘roo track and near a dam, disappointingly recorded no sightings.

As it was September, we had a good display of the diversity of flora in this area. Plants included: Eucalyptus wandoo, Eucalypts accedens, Eucalyptus astringens, Allocasuarina huegeliana, Grevillea tenuiflora, Banksia squarrosa, Banksia sessilis, Xanthorrhoea drummondii, Rhodanthe citrina, Laurencella rosea, Thylemitra anteniffera, Caledenia flava, a Caledenia flava-Caledenia latifolia hybrid, Utricularia multifida, Hypocalymma angustifolium, Hibbertia commutata, various Drosera, Borya and many others. There was also a huge bolete fungus, which was quite impressive.

We saw quite a lot of birds: Australian Magpie, Australian Ringneck, Australian Wood Duck, Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike, Brown Honeyeater, Common Bronzewing, Elegant Parrot, Fan-tailed Cuckoo, Grey Currawong, Grey Shrike-thrush, Red-capped Robin, Rufous Whistler, Shining Bronze-cuckoo, Striated Pardalote, Weebill, Welcome Swallow and the Western Gerygone. There was only one raptor spotted and it remained unidentified. However, we did see a large, disused Wedge-tailed Eagle’s nest in a Wandoo close to one of the tracks.

The healthy condition of the bushland, lovely weather and good company—including six visitors and one member attending one of our excursions for the first time—made for a most enjoyable weekend. Many thanks to Ry from participants, for organising the trip.

Joan Sharpe

N.B. For more great photos see Ry’s blog at WILDLIFE WATCHING IN AUSTRALIA