Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Tasmania Day 9 - Mt Field NP

We slept in until 7 AM today which was great.  Hamlet Downs provides a continental breakfast and it was a really nice one with cereal, yogurt, breads, and homemade rhubarb.

After the tasty breakfast we decided to walk the grounds a bit since they have multiple ponds and there was a chance at platypus.  While we didn't see any platypus we did see some birds and I finally got a silvereye to sit still for a picture.


After the walk, the plan was to see some really big trees at the Styx Tree reserve.  But, just as we got close it started to rain and the roads weren't the greatest and I didn't want to risk getting stuck or worse so we turned around and just drove some of the paved roads in the area looking for wildlife.

This led us back to the Mt Field visitor center where we got out to stretch our legs.  We did see a different kind of possum there:

Mt Field visitor center carving

For lunch we stopped at the nearby Possum Shed.  It's in a great setting along the river and they even have a resident platypus apparently but we didn't see it.  The meal was really good and we enjoyed sitting outside since the skies had cleared up a bit.

Great lunch by the river

After lunch, we decided to drive to the dam and see if there was any wildlife along the way.  We didn't have to wait long because about a half hour into our drive we spotted an echidna along the road.  This one was really cooperative so we had a nice prolonged photo shoot.

Can't get enough echidna

Digging for ants:
Trying to hide


On a whim, we stopped at some trail heads to check out the trails so that we could stretch our legs.  The first trail was the Creepy Crawley trail but we turned around quickly when we heard a family with a screaming baby ahead of us.  So, we decided that "We're not gonna take it" and instead we moved on to the Twisted Sister trail because, well... "I wanna Rock".

I Wanna Rock!

It was another nice walk through a lush forest.

Another lush forest


The different shades of green along the trail were amazing:
And bright green

And then the trees got pretty big and it felt like we were walking among giants.
Land of the Giants

A Giant

On the way back to Mt Field, we saw another echidna but we decided not to stop (can you imagine?).  Instead, we stopped at the National Park Hotel and had a drink at their bar which was a nice relaxing stop.

After a glorious dinner of leftover below average reheated Chinese food, we decided to go back to Mt Field for our night walk to see if we could get better looks at the bandicoot.  As usual, the brushies were out in force. This one could barely get out of the trash can and was obviously well fed:


A short while later we saw the familiar zipping outline of a long-nosed bandicoot in the field but tonight it held still long enough for a much better picture.  What a cutey:

Eastern Barred Bandicoot

Since we accomplished the bandicoot mission so quickly we decided to hike up the Lady Barron trail a bit to see if any other nocturnal critters were out but they weren't.  We did see another bandicoot as we left the park however.

Back at our place a bit early, we decided to do a night walk on the grounds there.  As we headed out, we could see someone out spotlighting already and it took a while to figure out that they were at the property next door.  Could there be other wildlife enthusiasts out looking for wildlife?  Well, when the loud gunshot rang out we realized they were the opposite of a wildlife enthusiast.  Unfortunately, we learned that shooting wildlife was not uncommon in Tassie and that's exactly what that neighbor seemed to be doing.  We hustled farther away from his property and continued a distracted night walk.  The only animal of note we saw was a nice up close view of a tawny frogmouth:

Tawny Frogmouth

Since the neighbor had a dog out too that was barking at us we decided to just call it a night.  It had been a pretty good day despite the disturbing ending.

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