A Tail of my Suburb
I first saw the Ring-tail Possum a couple of years ago when up on a ladder checking the lichen-affected solar hot water panel. It appeared suddenly over the top of the ridgeline. I was a bit astonished, as my immediate neighbourhood has had a war on trees and gardens, and foliage generally in recent years. This includes a number of street trees, which have been either sacrificed to rebuilds and duplex construction, or silently poisoned by leaf haters.
Maybe it was true, as I had heard, that the thickish Optus wire provided a means of travel for R-t's.
After a neighbour down the road - more sympatico than most on the plants front - asked me if I had sighted a R-t, I was heartened. I set to work and made a hanging basket drey.
To date it doesn't appear to have been used, but I have found by chance 3 natural dreys elsewhere in our bushy backyard. My attention was drawn to the first one by two Grey Butcherbirds determinedly harrassing something up a tree. I looked up and saw the drey and the possum. The others were also spotted by chance. Obviously the R-t prefers DIY.
So now when I find the possum's poo in the bird baths I smile, and note its continued presence in our weekly observation record of birds and other native wildlife.
Author bio: Deb Little is a conservationist who has lived for 30 years in a street on a ridge between the Wolli Creek and Bardwell Valleys in inner south-west Sydney.