19 October 2014
Usually it’s Martin saying, ‘I just saw …’ or ‘Come here quickly – ohh, it’s gone’ but today it’s me saying, ‘I heard the strangest sounds – I came to get you but they stopped.’ I heard them first down by the creek. We were cutting lantana – we have a little bush regen project going down there, which is going very well, with lots of young trees coming up amid the dead lantana stalks – and I had moved towards the rainforest section while Martin was at the other, open, creek-bend, end. As I moved towards another section of lantana I heard a purring noise, that turned into a rhythmic snoring sound, getting louder then finally becoming pig-like snorts that tailed off, back to the purring. It could have been anything, coming from anywhere – a frog or a bird in the congested lantana that I was approaching, trying to scare me off? Then the sequence was repeated. It was coming from the rainforest, up the hill. The pig-like sound was disconcerting – wild pigs? They have a reputation for ferocity. I walked hesitantly towards the sound. Was it coming from a tree? Twice I walked up the hill, slowly, quietly, peering into trees, ready to leap back if a pig exploded from the bush. Twice I went back to my lantana when the sounds stopped.
The afternoon grew slower, the shadows longer. We went back to the house where I did some more weeding in the vegie garden while Martin made dinner. Suddenly, through the soft dusk, a commotion arose from the rainforest section of the creek. A series of loud shrieks and grunts and snorts, a cacophony, very guttural.
By now I had my suspicions but I had to check them, finding a great range of noises (shame about the American commentaries) at http://koalaland.com.au/what-sounds-do-koalas-make. I was right. There must have been at least two koalas by the creek. One of our neighbours sighted one a couple of weeks ago – climbing their verandah post, hoping it led to food – but that was the first evidence we’d ever had of koalas on the property beyond noticing a very strong distinctive odour in some areas. Today’s display shows that we have more than one. The farm reveals itself to be ever more precious.