Monday, March 31, 2014

Eastern Wallaroo, Goondarwa




We sighted all three local macropods on the Megalong trip, including this big, muscular, male Wallaroo. Others were Grey kangaroo and Red-necked wallaby, the Swamp wallaby is at nearby Jenolan.

This big boy joins the petite female wallaroo in my Mammal set on Flickr.

The timber post and rail fence would date from the mid 19thC pioneer days when the valley was first settled. Before then it was Gundungurra territory and he was called 'goondarwa', and his wife was 'bawa'. In the inland Dharug dialect he is 'Wolaru', which was adopted as his English name.

The flowers high up in the background are belladonna lilies, another relic of pioneer days.

Driving back past the Megalong school house, another big male crossed the road in front of us and cruised up a vertical 3 metre cutting.

Below is a partial rewrite of part of the limited and, I'm sorry to say, poorly written Wikipedia entry:

"The common wallaroo (Macropus robustus) or wallaroo, also known as euro or hill wallaroo is a species of macropod ( Kangaroo). One subspecies (M. r. erubescens) is commonly called euro. The eastern wallaroo is mostly nocturnal and solitary, and is one of the more common macropods. When disturbed it makes a loud hissing noise and is sexually dimorphic.

Eastern wallaroo (M. r. robustus) – Found in eastern Australia, males of this subspecies have dark fur, resembling the black wallaroo (Macropus bernardus). Females are lighter, being sandy in colour.
"en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_wallaroo

I'm actually a Wikipedia editor but fixing all the poorly written articles would take more than one lifetime!

This is a slightly better article but also needs more copy editing:

"Identification

The Eastern Wallaroo is the temperate eastern sub-species of the most widespread kangaroo, the Common Wallaroo (or Hill Kangaroo). Eastern Wallaroos have a large naked rhinarium giving them a dark shiny ‘button nose’ like koalas and wombats. They have no facial stripe but they do have large rounded ears. Their coat is coarser and shaggier than the fine down of Red Kangaroos. Females are smaller and rarely exceed 25 kg. Their coat colour varies from light grey through to black. Males are larger and stocky with pronounced forearm musculature when mature. They reach around 50 kg and show a similar variation in coat colour but are darker than females and often predominantly black on the upper parts. The under parts are lighter and the tail tip is not black. The Eastern Wallaroo can be distinguished from the Eastern Grey Kangaroo by its less gracile form and blacker coat. Eastern Wallaroos hop on their short legs in an upright posture, which seems less elegant than Eastern Grey Kangaroos on flat ground, but comes to the fore as they effortlessly bound up rocky slopes.

Habitat

The Eastern Wallaroo is a hill-dweller and so occupies the slopes and ridges, using rocky overhangs and shallow caves as shelter. In some places they inhabit low lying areas of dense scrub. Females tend to be more easily alarmed by people than males who sometimes tolerate quite close approach..."

www.rootourism.com/fsheet30.htm

I prefer Sid Bellingham's article which is reproduced below.


"Wallaroo
Wallaroos though not so great in size as kangaroo, are heavier in build; the tail being short and thick, the ears of greater size than a kangaroo, and the fur much longer. The colour of a male Wallaroo is black, that of a female light grey. They frequent the steep and rocky sides of the mountains, and are often found on the rocks in the day time, being similar in their habits to Rock Wallabies. They like to bask under a ledge of rock, on the sunny side of a mountain, in the winter, and where any rocky bosses occur, they are most likely to be found.

Wallaroos have a keen sense of smell, and can scent the approach of anyone, for this reason they require to be stalked with great care, working up against the wind, if possible. I consider stalking Wallaroo the best sport on the mountains, it is the Deer stalking of Australia, and considerable judge­ment is required in approaching the quarry. What is of primary importance, the sportsman after this sort of game requires to be a good rifle shot, because when climbing about the steep side of the mountains one is apt to get shaky, and often have to shoot on sight.

Wallaroos are not easy to drive, on account of their keen scent, and I think it best to stalk them, especi­ally if the country is rough. A dog is not much use in pointing out game, as the scent of Wallaroo is frequently crossed by that of Rock Wallaby. In tracking up a wounded Wallaroo a dog is useful. Wallaroo do not travel nearly so fast as Kangaroo or Wallaby, and soon bail up, when pursued by a dog, and show fight.
On one occasion I shot a big Black Wallaroo, and wounded it, and as I could not get another shot in before it disappeared I let my dog go on its trail, following down the hill after them, as quickly as I could. At last I heard the dog bay from the river, which at this place, had very steep and rocky banks. After some difficulty I reached the stream, and found the Wallaroo stand­ing in the middle of a waterhole, holding my dog which it was trying to drown with its front legs, while the dog had hold of the Wallaroo by the ear. I had to wade into the water before I could kill the Wallaroo, and rescue the dog. I had great difficulty in getting the Wallaroo out of the water, as it was a very large one, and the spot being a deep basin hollowed out of the rock, with steep and slippery sides.

It is a common occurrence for a Wallaroo to pick up a dog, and make off to the nearest water and try to drown it. When a Wallaroo is wounded high up on the side of a mountain, it will generally make down the hill, and your object is, to try and stop it as soon as possible; for of course you have all the distance to ascend again. It is surprising the distance they travel sometimes, after being shot.
The claws of a Wallaroo are worn down considerably from constantly travelling over hard and rock ground, and they cannot do so much damage with them as a kangaroo does, but they use their teeth more. I have seen them bite very savagely - first at myself - and then at the dog, when I have been trying to overtake a wounded one.

The flesh of a Wallaroo is much better eating than either a Kangaroo or a Wallaby, a piece of steak off the hind-quarters being a very good substitute for beef steak. The skins of Wallaroos make a good warm rug, somewhat heavy, but one that will stand a lot of hard wear. The young Wallaroo is easily tamed, and makes a good pet." 

Bellingham, Sid R. 1899. Ten Years with the Palette, Shotgun and Rifle on the Blue Mountains, NSW, a complete guide to the shooting and fishing to be obtained on the Blue Mountains.

Platypus in the Blue Pool



Several platypus inhabit the Blue Pool at Jenolan.  This is all one usually sees in the morning and evening, they float to the surface for a breath and dive again hunting for invertibrates. 

"The platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) is a semiaquatic mammal endemic to eastern Australia, including Tasmania. Together with the four species of echidna, it is one of the five extant species of monotremes, the only mammals that lay eggs instead of giving birth. It is the sole living representative of its family (Ornithorhynchidae) and genus (Ornithorhynchus), though a number of related species have been found in the fossil record.

The unusual appearance of this egg-laying, duck-billed, beaver-tailed, otter-footed mammal baffled European naturalists when they first encountered it, with some considering it an elaborate fraud. It is one of the few venomous mammals, the male platypus having a spur on the hind foot that delivers a venom capable of causing severe pain to humans. The unique features of the platypus make it an important subject in the study of evolutionary biology and a recognisable and iconic symbol of Australia; it has appeared as a mascot at national events and is featured on the reverse of its 20-cent coin. The platypus is the animal emblem of the state of New South Wales.

Until the early 20th century, it was hunted for its fur, but it is now protected throughout its range. Although captive breeding programmes have had only limited success and the platypus is vulnerable to the effects of pollution, it is not under any immediate threat." en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Platypus
*****
From Sid Bellingham's guide book:
"PLATYPUS may be found on all the rivers throughout the Mountains. Towards the evening or in the early morning they are most likely to be seen, rising to the surface of the water, were they will float motionless for about a minute, and then dive. They are graceful and seal-like in their motions The best way to get a shot at one is to walk quietly along the banks of a river in the evening, keeping a good look out both up and down the stream, and more especially watching any deep still waterhole with overhanging trees. If there is a disturbance of water, as if anything is swimming underneath - or any eddies - as if something had dived, proceed to where you can command a good view of this place without being seen, taking advantage of the cover afforded by any tree or foliage. 
Platypi are very shy; the mere action of bringing the gun to the shoulder will cause them to dive instantly. I have generally found that when a Platypus has risen once in a waterhole, it will after the lapse of a minute come to the surface again, not far from the spot where it was first seen, and by steadily waiting with the gun to the shoulder, when he next rises you can cover him, and pull the trigger without moving sufficiently to disturb it.  
When Platypus is shot at, it will generally dive, but if it is hit hard, will rise again to the surface, and when dead, floats on the water. It is difficult to get a dog to retrieve them, and a long sapling often has to be obtained, with which to get them out of the water. After heavy rain, when the rivers are flooded, Platypi appear to get drowned out of their holes in the banks; for they are to be seen swimming about the surface of the water all day. I have shot Platypi on the rivers by moonlight. At this period, water rats are very busy; a variety of these with a red belly, has a fine fur. When the longer hairs of the Platypus and water rat are plucked off, a fine down-like fur is exposed, similar to sealskin. 
The male Platypus only, has a sharp spur on each hind leg, but I never had an opportunity of observing for what purpose they use them. Although Platypi lay eggs I have never met anyone who had found any, neither have I ever seen any myself, except in the Museum. 
From my own personal observation, I conclude, that Platypi live together in pairs, as I have never seen more than two in the same waterhole. The fur of the Platypus almost rivals that of the seal, but the skins are so small, and it takes such a number of them to make a rug, that I consider it a pity to shoot them for this purpose." 
From: Sid R. Bellingham, Ten Years with the Palette, Shotgun and Rifle on the Blue Mountains, NSW. A complete guide to the shooting and fishing to be obtained on the Blue Mountains, 1899.
 

Monday, July 29, 2013

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Friday, November 18, 2011