‘How do you know whether it’s a long-nosed bandicoot?’
‘Well, it’s got a long nose…’
This isn’t this start of some awful Dad joke* but me, back in 2011 when I first started using motion-sensing cameras to survey wildlife. It was so exciting – after months of deciding which type of camera to purchase, nutting out a study design, scrub-bashing to put the cameras out and wandering around in circles in the aforementioned scrub to find them again, I finally had some cool photos of animals.
But then I had to figure out what they were. And field guides to Australian mammals were not as much help as you’d think. The critters hadn’t always aligned themselves for a nice profile pic, I couldn’t see beneath their feet to count their toepads, and really, how long is a long nose supposed to be?
Since then, I dunno how many hundreds of thousands of images I’ve processed. My last record was something like 179,000 in 10 days. My eyesight might never be the same again, but I’m pretty confident now on a dusky antechinus versus an agile, a long-nosed bandicoot versus a ditto potoroo.
One of my most useful tools though, is my reference library of images. I refer to it whenever I have one of those is-this-a-bush-rat-with-shortish-tail-or-a-swamp-rat-with-a-longish-tail? quandaries. So I thought it might be helpful to some other people too. Have a look if you’d like – I’ve included it as a new page in this blog.
Let me know what you think and feel free to send me images of other species if you reckon it’s worth adding too.
* although I just learnt one of those involving a bloke who became an ex-tractor fan. Boom boom – thanks Dave!