Bickleigh Vale is a unique environment situated In the middle of busy outer eastern suburb of Melbourne. Mooroolbark has a population of about 22,000 in 2017 and sits at the base of Mount Dandenong - a series of low mountain ranges rising to 663 metres. The ranges consist mostly of rolling hills, steeply weathered valleys and gullies covered in thick temperate rainforest and dense ferny undergrowth.
Unfortunately, over the years, most of Mooroolbark's native bushland has disappeared and given way to suburbia so the natural habitat of native flora and fauna has been vastly depleted. Over 80 years ago, Edna Walling planted some native trees in Bickleigh Vale and to this day they are enjoyed by native fauna.
Brushy Tail Possum (Trichosurus vulpecula) we have a vast population living in all our large trees within the village. We do see Ringtail Possum (Pseudocheirus peregrines) but the population is small compared to the Brushy Tail Possum.
In Spring 2019, a pair of White-faced Herons built a nest high in a pine tree on roadside by Wimborne and Abbotsley. After one failure they built another nest higher up and eventually two young hatched. Like many young birds their first excursion out of the nest are just along the branches while they were still being fed by their parents.
Soon they could be seen in nearby trees, though still high up, especially in the trees at Sonningfield.
They soon came down to start feeding and visited several properties. One of their vantage points was the tennis court fence at The Barn. [photo]
Powerful Owl with possum prey, Devon Cottage
Powerful Owls (Ninox strenua) - have been sighted in the trees in the Devon Cottage garden and, more recently, in the Pine Tree opposite Downderry. This one at Devon Cottage had caught an unlucky possum.
Other unidentified owls play the "Guess where I am" game - hooting and clearly audible the length of the village.
1. Wedge-tailed Eagle (flying overhead)
2. Masked Lapwing
3. White-faced Heron
4. Common Bronzewing
5. Crested Pigeon
6. Spotted Pigeon
7. Rock Dove (Common Pigeon)
8. Tawny Frogmouth (heard at night)
10. Little Corella
11. Sulphur-crested Cockatoo
12. Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo
13 Gang-gang Cockatoo
14. Rainbow Lorikeet
15. Little Lorikeet
16. Australian King-Parrot
17. Crimson Rosella
18. Eastern Rosella
19. Southern Boobook (heard at night)
20. Laughing Kookaburra
21. White-browed Scrubwren
22. Brown Thornbill
23. Spotted Pardalote
24. Eastern Spinebill
25. Noisy Miner
26. Common Myna
27. Red Wattlebird
28. Eastern Spinebill
29. Grey Fantail
30. Grey Butcherbird
31. Australian Magpie
32. Pied Currawong
33. Little Raven
35. Red-browed Finch
Cyclochila australasiae, commonly known as the 'green grocer' cicada
It's one of Australia's most familiar insects and distributed through coastal regions of southeastern Australia - including Bickleigh Vale. This one was resting quietly in the back garden at Abbotsley on Christmas Eve 2017.
A Red fox (Vulpes vulpes) family lives along the small creek which runs through Abbotsley and Sarn. Throughout the seasons they can be seen at all hours of the day especially in the Summer months playing with their new cubs on the lawns of Sonning / Sonningfield in the early morning.