About Me

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I've been a Canberran since moving here from Adelaide on the first day of 1980. I now live in suburban Duffy with my partner Louise Maher, ABC 666 radio and on-line journalist. Among my early memories is following Sleepy Lizards (Shinglebacks) around the paddocks north of Adelaide, guarded by the faithful bull terrier. I have always been passionate about the natural world, trying to understand how it works, how the nature of Australia came to be, and sharing those understandings. My especial passions are birds, orchids and mammals. For much of my life I have been a full-time naturalist, running bush tours, writing books etc, doing consultancies, presenting a regular radio slot on local ABC, chairing a government environment advisory committee and running adult education classes. Recently I have eased back somewhat, but am still writing, teaching, doing some radio work and running overseas tours - as part of my fascination with our Gondwanan origins I've been running tours to South America for the past decade. I was awarded the Australian Plants Society Award in 2001 and the Australian Natural History Medallion in 2006, both for services to education and conservation. In January 2018 I was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia for 'service to conservation and the environment'.

Saturday, 27 October 2012


The Common Brushtail Possum Trichosurus vulpeculus is a familiar urban mammal in south-eastern Australia; in fact, given that it's had only 200 years to adapt to urban living, it's done so so successfully that I'd suggest it could be regarded as the most urban-adapted larger mammal in the world. 
Common Brushtail Possum, suburban Canberra.

However in the wetter mountain forests a closely related species, the Mountain Brushtail or Bobuck T. caninus, is much less familiar to most people. Just 10 years ago this species was split, the southern population retaining the Mountain Brushtail Possum common name, but given the new species name T. cunninghami. The northern animals became Short-eared Brushtail Possum.

This photo was taken a couple of Christmases ago in the Chichester State Forest, in mid-northern New South Wales west of Newcastle. It was as determined a camp scavenger as any Common Brushie I've met.

Short-eared Brushtail Possum, Chichester State Forest.
Back Monday!

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