Warks Road Antechinus

To: "Alastair Smith" <>, "'Bron King'" <>
Subject: Warks Road Antechinus
From: "Shaun Bagley" <>
Date: Thu, 22 Feb 2007 20:40:28 +1100
Have been watching this discourse on the Antechinus clan with interest due to historically seperated experiences.
In 1971 I worked for 9 months in Uriarra Forest (between stints at UWA and TCD universities) as an AWU accredited Forestry Labourer. One of my tasks was up above Wark's Road cutting out eucalypts that were deemed inimical to the goal of telephone pole production. That meant that Bluey and I took the chain saw to some very large boled (as in circumference) eucalypts.
My job as off-sider was to watch for falling branches as the vibrations of the chain saw reverberated through the trunk of these trees. I never saw a branch fall. Yet I saw an amazing diversity of animals issue forth as their home was destroyed. Gliders, cockatoos, parrots, possums, insects and one particularly memorable experience.
I was looking up as my lead "Stihled" away at this massive bole. I saw what I thought was a bees nest issue from way up the trunk. The black mass moved down towards us. I tapped Bluey on the shoulder but before either of us could move, a number of Antechinuses rushed, face down, down the bark onto our shoulders and thence into the surrounding bush. On recollection I would say there were perhaps 30-40 but suprise and history challenge that memory's detail. Needless to say it has stuck with me through many parts of the world as a vivid experience.
This January I was at Barren Grounds (which I reported on this chat line) where I saw 2 Brown Antechinus' at about 10 am in the morning after rain exploring the edges of one of the walking tracks on the main circuit there. I observed them for several minutes. They seemed much more benign than those that I had seen some 30 + years ago at Uriarra, yet they displayed a sense of urgency. Their high country cousins seemed to have much more menace then these mobile shadows. Perhaps I would have more aggressive behaviour if someone was knocking down my residence but the perception stands nevertheless.
For me the irony is that it is likely that the ones that streamed down the tree being felled were Antechinus Swainsoni (Dusky Antechinus). In a few years I was to go where Swainson had his name on several birds (Swainson Thrush, Hawk, not to mention other forms of Linnean description). Swainson certainly knew how to get himself front and centre, though as Ian Fraser recorded in this last month's Gang-Gang, it all ended in disgrace. He would probably have liked to take back some of his assertions, just as I would have wished that my first Antechinus experience was in more propitious circumstances.
At least Swainson observed what was around him, even if he thought he was the first. Should be more...
<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>

The University of NSW School of Computer and Engineering takes no responsibility for the contents of this archive. It is purely a compilation of material sent by many people to the Canberra Ornithologists Group mailing list. It has not been checked for accuracy nor its content verified in any way. If you wish to get material removed from the archive or have other queries about the list contact David McDonald, list manager, phone (02) 6231 8904 or email . If you can not contact David McDonald e-mail Andrew Taylor at this address: andrewt@cse.unsw.EDU.AU