An Agile Wallaby (Macropus agilis) pauses from the serious business of munching selected stalks of grass to take stock of the decrepit life form crawling towards it.
After a few minutes of uncertain feeding it decided to sneak a little closer before hopping slowly away. Maybe it had seen enough of that big glass eye!
Tyto is more or less bounded on two sides by sports grounds and a pony club. Hundreds of Agiles - supposedly nocturnal and definitely gregarious - thrive and sport morning and evening on the resulting tender grasses around their habitat.
There's even been a spot of local hysteria. First, a junior footballer was 'tripped' by a wallaby making its way off the field. And 'all those droppings'. But juniors fall over their own feet all the time, and dogs' and cats' droppings - much nastier! - fester over all suburbia.
Certainly Agiles (aka Grass Wallabies) love mown areas. So shires taking pride in their Tropical North Queensland parklands create ideal conditions for them. So there's the rub.
But wait, there's more. All that splendid grass in which the wallaby is pictured grows on a raised square, a lightly treed hectare or so planted after Tyto's early shaping. The grass dominates until the Wet sets in. Bigger weeds then take over and are head high by the time any mower can tackle the growth in late April.
First comes the big slasher. Then the mower. And again the mower. And again...and so on. Then comes the chainsaw team to trim the trees - so the mower can get in closer. And lop off the mistletoes - so they can't drop on the mower.
All of which is considerably less than carbon neutral. As is mowing tracks ever wider - because tourists love everything trim and parklike.
Am I the only one wishing for some real tree change in the attitude of councils and shires toward parks and reserves?
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