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The Diverse Blue Mountains and Why it’s so Popular
Australia’s 14th World Heritage site, the Blue Mountains draws a plentiful number of both local and foreign tourists. The activities, and the geographical features, and the wildlife are the main points of interest that visitors expect to experience.
You could try a range of easy walks, challenging hikes, guided tours, rides, or rock climbing if you’re up for it. The area itself has quite a few spectacular waterfalls, Blue Mountains lookouts, peaks, sandstone tablelands, and other features to marvel at.
The diverse and unique native wildlife in Blue Mountains who make this landscape their home are a prime reason. The region is located in the central portion of the Sydney basin and has a very diverse range of geological features. This makes for a variety of habitats for the fauna and flora.
The region is predominantly a rainforest, with a vast eucalyptus forest and lush swamplands with numerous waterways, which results in a very diverse range of fauna. You can find both native and non-native species, as well as several threatened and endangered species. All in all, there at least 211 endemic species and over 400 total in the area.
Native Birds (Aves) in Blue Mountains
There are more than 20 vulnerable species of birds in the region. In addition to the Blue Mountains, native wildlife many migratory birds come to spend the spring and summer in the area.
They have a unique fine very long bill that’s curved down, and prominent white outer feathers, which you can see when they’re in flight. Males and females are similar with the latter having less distinct markings and both are 14-16cm. they can be found almost anywhere in the Blue Mountains National Park.
This bird is just over a foot long and can be spotted in any region of the mountains, and their spottings have been increasing over the past few years. They have bright blue cheeks although most of the plumage is crimson. You can find blue on the tail and broad edges of the flight feathers, while the back feathers are black with broad red edges.
They’re hard to spot in the National Park North region but more common in the eastern, and western areas if you are going on a Blue Mountains day trip. They have an off-white chest and belly, with a brown back and wings. They are about 40cm and have a prominent eye stripe from the large beak and through the faces, that are dark brown.
Indigenous Amphibians (frogs)
You can find abundant frog species among the native wildlife in the bogs and streamlets that attract them. Even more so during the spring, their mating season, where you can hear their joyful chorus of calls. You can find them near ponds, and home in on them from their noises. It’s the males that make the most enthusiastic notes, and how the females know which is which, is still a bit of a mystery.
There are many ways to identify frogs, from; their spawn, tadpoles, and calls. In fact, there’s an app by the Australian Museum, called “Frog Id”, where you can record calls and have them identified.
The Blue Mountains Tree Frog (Litoria citropa)
You can find them hiding under rocks and in crevices, and they breed in permanent or semi-permanent pools in the summer and spring. They’re about 40-60mm.
The frog has pale brown skin with scattered warts and is covered in fine granules. A dark stripe goes through the body which crosses the eyes and starts from the nose. The groin and the sides of the leg are orange-red, with green flashes across the side of the body.
The Green Leaf Tree Frog (Litoria Phyllochroa)
This guy is shy and rarely seen but can be found near many of the larger streams, in shallow pools with baseflow. About 40mm, they have a varying call, most often an ‘erk…erk…erk’ noise. During the breeding season, look out for the male near water or in waterside vegetation.
Native Reptiles in the Blue Mountains Region
There are many fascinating reptilian species, often not dangerous, to observe. You can find geckos, small skink lizards, dragons, legless lizards, 13 kinds of snakes and one species of goanna. That is not to say that there aren’t dangerous animals you’ll have to look out for. Dragons of different sizes are diurnal, and there are different snakes like tiger snakes, death adders, Eastern Browns, and many others.
All in all, there are about 60 species of reptiles that make up the Blue Mountains native wildlife. They are not as widely spread as birds or frogs and reside in certain portions of the Blue Mountains, mainly in the central regions. While other kinds are only found in 2 or 3 areas.
Eastern Water dragon
This 1m, 1kg dragon can be found near flowing water with ample tree cover. In fact, if the water quality is fair, they can even be found in urban regions with similar conditions. As juveniles, they mostly focus on insects but as they grow up, vegetation makes up more than half of what they consume.
Blue Mountains Water Skink
These are endangered and protected reptiles, that inhabit approximately 60 threatened swamps. It was recently discovered that different populations even some as close as half a kilometre, are morphologically and genetically distinct.
Native Mammals in Blue Mountains, NSW
The Australian Museum does have quite a specific definition for mammals, nevertheless, the Blue Mountains native wildlife has more than 60 species that fit this category. This is a result of the diverse environments and habitats in the area.
The deep forested gullies are roamed by the spotted-tail quoll, while kangaroos bound across the valley, and tree-dwelling mammals scurry across the roof of the forests. You can find a range of Marsupials, bats, rodents and other kinds of mammals here.
Eastern Grey Kangaroos
These guys are about 1.3m tall, with a 1m tail, although females are smaller. Like all kangaroos’ they are marsupials that stand on their powerful hind legs. They use their tail for balance for both slow movements and more dynamic hopping. They have light grey and woolly-coloured fur, with darker shades at the face and the tip of the tail. There are a few places in the Blue Mountains region where you can spot wild kangaroos.
Common Brushtail Possum
All in all, this critter is 35-55 cm with a head and tail. It is essentially a large possum with pointy ears and a bushy tail. They have a wide range of habitats from urban areas to forests and woodlands. The kangaroos usually go for leaves, fruits and blossoms but also consume insects eggs and meat albeit infrequently. They are nocturnal and hide in a hollow during the day. Like the kangaroo, they too breed throughout the year.
This animal is considered vulnerable and is another type of marsupial. They are arboreal (tree-dwelling,) and eucalypt forests are where you can find them. Koalas feed on the foliage of eucalypt species and certain non-eucalypt species of plants. They only have a single offspring per year, and females start breeding at age two.
These semi-aquatic mammals can be found in freshwater systems that you can find in plateaus and rainforests. They have a streamlined body with a flat tails in addition to webbed limbs. Invertebrates make up most of their diet with other organisms like shrimps, water bugs and other free-swimming small beings. They breed during the winter and the female incubates the eggs in a long and complex borrow.
One of the largest borrowing animals, wombats are short stocky and barrel-shaped. They are primarily grazers and inhabit temperate forest-covered regions. Like the kangaroo wombat young, too crawl into a pouch to fully develop which takes about 6-10 months. They are nocturnal, leaving the borrow after sunset and occasionally re-entering to either rest or seek refuge.
Fish that are native
Contrary to the other types of animals you can only find 10 species of fish in the Blue Mountains native wildlife, and most of these can be spotted in the Nepean River. Plus, because they need specialist equipment and skills there aren’t many surveys with detailed information on them.
Usually, the ones you will find are about 100-150 cm long but landlocked ones can grow up to 3m. They have a long cylindrical body and united dorsal, caudal and anal fins. As carnivores, they consume crustaceans, fish insects and molluscs. These fish have a strong cultural significance as they are a popular food source for aboriginal people, from earlier times. They can live up to 50 years and will swim to the coral sea to breed.
These fish can grow up to feet, and almost 4 kg, but are mostly found at 1 foot long. They have a whitish or silver belly, with greyish or dark olive-green back and darker scale margins. Other fish, crustaceans, and invertebrates make up their diet. They swim downstream to estuaries to breed during the winter.
How You Can Experience the Wildlife
You can see that there are a wide and diverse variety of animals and species for you to observe. They all have their different habitats and habits, so it’s a unique experience. One of the most fulfilling ways to view all these critters is to join a Blue Mountains tour, for ease and added expertise on your trip.