The kids and I went to a fabulous night tour around Mulligans Flat in Canberra's north as part of Australia's Science Week.
Mulligans Flat is a large sanctuary encircled in a highly scientific (and quite brutal) electric fence that is designed to prevent feral predators, particularly foxes and cats entering the reserve. The entire area has been cleared of them as well as rabbits and huge efforts taken to return the woodland back to a pristine condition.
In the place of feral predators there are now reintroduced native species - quolls and bettongs as well as native mice, wallabies and birds. Of course many of Australia's animals are nocturnal and so viewing them at night time is perfect.
A fair number of people showed up (probably nearly 60) and we divided up into three groups led by three Phd students. Our guides were both passionate and well informed. We were led to a wonderful sheep shed which now serves as an information centre and told the history of the centre. A bushtail possum (who lives in the roof) stretched out through a hole to observe us with perfect timing.
Afterwards, and armed with torches we walked round for probably nearly an hour. We spotted three or four bettongs scurrying in the undergrowth as well as hearing the piecing and shrill call of a curlew (strange looking birds). Our guide explained that curlews are actually quite delicate/stupid. She told us that one of the introduced birds had killed itself by falling on a stick! We were led round one of the number of dams and Eli delighted in the fact that he was first to spot a (tiny) frog on the bank. Croaks of other frogs joined in with his excitement. Towards the end of the tour we spotted a ringtailed possum. Much less common than the brushtail it didn't seem to mind that we were all shining torches into the branches that it was resting on.
It was a shame to leave the animals at the end of the tour. We stopped at a really nice café (Frankies at Ford) for a (late) dinner on the way home. A late one for a school night, but definitely worth it.