|That's me with our Short-beaked Echidna, Rex|
Over the past month we’ve been lucky enough to see one of Fraser Island’s most elusive mammals going about its business in and around Kingfisher Bay. This creature we speak of is mostly nocturnal, or crepuscular, (meaning active at dusk); has an average body temperature of 31-32 degrees Celsius; likes to feed on termites and ants; and has spines.
If you haven’t already guessed, it’s an Echidna or the Short-beaked Echidna to be precise! Actually known as Monotremes, these spiny, slow-moving cuties are egg laying mammals and are rarely seen within the resort grounds or on Fraser.
You may recall the baby Squirrel Glider we blogged about last month (http://kingfisherbayresort.blogspot.com.au/2012/05/our-nectar-loving-nocturnal-animals.html), well, we were also lucky enough to care for an Echidna earlier this year (that’s me and our friend, Rex, pictured above). The young echidna was found in the middle of one of Fraser Island’s 4WD tracks and was brought in to us by some conscientious drivers. There were no visible signs of injury, so we took some time to assess his condition.
We’re pleased to report that after some rest, water and a good dose of love from the team, he was fighting fit and ready to be released back into the bush. But this month’s rare sighting begs the question - could the Echidna we spotted be our spiny friend all grown up? We can only hope!
And in stark contrast from continually spotting our ground dwellers, guests on our guided night walks also lifted their eyes to the skies to take in the beautifully clear May nights.
The stars look simply stunning at this time of year on World Heritage-listed Fraser and, as our guests will testify, the resort’s famous jetty provided a perfect viewing platform. During May, the Southern Cross - which disappears below the horizon in summer - was high in the sky and visible for all to see and point us south. Jupiter has now dipped below the horizon, and Orion’s Belt is doing the same. And as the month progresses, more new beautiful stars and planets will appear. As I write this in early June, Saturn is now coming up through the sky, as are the red-orange hues of Mars.
Below us, the stars were beautifully reflected in the calm waters of the Great Sandy Strait during May... until schools of skittish baitfish broke the surface as they swam and leapt in pursuit of food. Our Green Sea Turtle regular made regular appearances during May and again into June – in fact several nights this month, this gorgeous marine reptile popped its head above the surface to take a deep breath, before nestling in under its favourite rock for good night’s sleep.
It’s been a fab month on May and as I hooroo you for the last time, tree huggers, I wish you all the best, Ranger Kat. And from all your friends on Fraser, Ranger Kat - we hope you have a fab time following your dream. You will be missed :(