tawny frogmouths and other new friends

For the last few weeks I’ve been surprised by birds in our yard when I take the dogs out for their night time pee.
I thought they were owls to start with, but they were the wrong shape. I had a suspicion they were tawny frogmouths but had never really seen them well enough. Only in the dark and not close enough. Not like this:
But the other night there were two of them and one let me get quite close with the flashlight. 
Tawny frogmouths mate for life and once they find a ‘home’ they return and mate there every year. Given I’ve never seen them before I’m guessing this young couple have just moved in. I hope they stay!
I’m quite excited about it. I love having wildlife around. Hopefully they’ll help keep our vermin problem under control too. They eat slugs and snails, small mammals (mice!) and other annoying pests. Pity they’re nocturnal and don’t keep the birds out of our roof.
Speaking of birds, I swear, we absolutely have to do something about the birds in our roof. Every year the little offspring-of-unwed-mothers multiply. The noise they make is incredible, and I cringe at the thought of the damage they’re doing up there. I think they’re building entire cities – they have no respect for our sleep, hammering and banging at all hours of the day and night. I bet they’ll soon take out the power tools.
Every year at this time I say I’ll do something about it, before they have babies, then suddenly they have babies… so I have to wait till the babies grow up and move out. 
I’m not a baby killer!
I tell myself I’ll take care of it once the birds have left, but they never seem to leave, The babies move out and another batch seems to hatch. And then its winter again and its too late, too cold, too wet…
On cheerier note, another new friend is one I suspect moved in quite a while ago. A possum.
Now I know most people hate possums, and I hate it when they eat our vegies or my flowers, or pee and poop all over the shed, but I think they’re cute.
I don’t know if you remember Ponsonby, the black possum who gave me a heart attack when I reached into a chicken box for eggs and narrowly avoided grabbing a handful of possum. Ponsonby moved into the casita where he’d look down on me as I worked, which was nice, but developed the bad habit of peeing and pooping on everything I owned, which was less nice. 
We trapped him and relocated him before I knew that brushtail possums are territorial and you can’t relocate them more than 50 metres from where you catch them. Ugh. Poor Ponsonby. I hope he did ok.
Anyway, moving Ponsonby out meant that the territory was ripe for another possum to move in.

Another thing I did not know then.

The first one that moved in was a red possum. He didn’t last long. He met a sticky end thanks to the great hunters disguised as poodles.

This new little guy has been here a while now, narrowly escaping a horrible death on a few occasions but persisting on pushing his luck, visiting the garden and sitting on our porch rails.
The other night both the frogmouths and the possum were out in the yard and the dogs were going crazy. They were sniffing the air and looking around frantically, “I know they’re here, I can smell them!”
Lucky for the possum, they didn’t see him and I got them inside before they saw he was well within their reach.

I was actually so close to him I could reach out and pat him. I almost did exaclty that, then remembered he wasn’t a tame animal and that the cute fat ball of fluff could easily turn into a whirling ball of teeth and claws.

Last week one night the dogs must have chased him off and he came around the side of the casita as I was going out to feed the horses. I was in the corral outside the casita when he came around the corner, walking on the guttering.
As I stood there, within arms reach of him, he clung onto the pipe with his tail, suspended himself upside down (which is why I know he’s a male!) and swung there a while as he stretched out his little paws as far as they’d go, trying to reach the old cabinet on the porch.
He let go, making a leap for it, and missed. He landed with a thump in a feed bucket. His little face popped up, looked at me sheepishly, then climbed out and made his way up the tree with as much dignity as he could muster.

I wish I had my camera!

I guess I should name him as I think he’s moved in for good now. That’s a good thing.  Having a toilet trained resident possum will keep the not-so-toilet trained ones at bay.

Any suggestions on names for my new possum friend?


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