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What's this track ?

Mozzie

Richard Proenneke
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LOl .......I get it now :_risata:......good ol Ockham to the rescue :_risata:
 

Aussie123

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OK so I,m going to simply ask :non sono stato io:....,where was this track located and when was it taken.?

:_(A):

Knowing where and when helps put the track in context. Its an important consideration.

The picture was taken in North-Western Victoria. No crocs in Victoria, no cassowarries.

That part of the country is quite dry. Its a mix of Mallee scrub and sandy dunes.

There are a few big lakes which had been empty for 10 years (drought), but some have filled over the last couple of years.

The tracks are nicely formed in good sand which take prints nicely, could it be a damp lake shore ?
Because the sand held nice prints, the result is clear. In softer ground the tracks can be a bit more obscure and more open to interpretation.

Another clue - The picture was taken beside a waterhole !
Here's the waterhole (which fills naturally):
P1280461 (Small).jpg

If you look at a track book you'll see that goanna drag their tails, which leave a very distinct S shaped line with foot prints on alternate sides. The fingers and claws often leave distinct impressions especially on nice sand like in the pic so I don't think goanna is likely.

Jabirus range does not extend to this area.
Brolgas are in Victoria but not common (IMO) so they would be possible. If I’d taken this pic 3 years ago (in the drought) there would be no water and I think you could categorically rule out large water birds, but some lakes have water and the fact this is a water hole (with water) means it could be possible ?

Dry lake (NW Vic). I'm standing on the sandy shore, looking across to the other side. Believe it or not, this lake was full about 30 years ago (can't recall the exact decade):
P1280296 (Small).jpg

Wet lake in the same area; 3 years (4 now) ago it was dry :
P1280330 (Small).jpg


Just thinking about the habits of water birds, they tend to stay in an area and strut about a lot. Often waterbirds appear in flocks; brolgas are often found in small groups (a pair or perhaps 3 to 5 birds).
I think if this was a brolga track, there should be quite a lot about. Water birds are likely to go in and out the water a lot as they forage (there may even be feathers about, scats or signs of feeding etc)

I saw only one set of tracks walking along the edge of the water, they did not go into the water. This doesn’t seem likely to be a brolga.

Brolgas and jabiru (native cranes and stalks respectively) leave very distinct “+” (a skewed cross) type tracks. The picture is clearly not “+” shaped and because the sand was so good we can be fairly sure that we’re not being fooled (as we may be with soft ground).



I think that leaves us with emu and bustard (Ardeotis australis aka “native turkey”) as most likely candidates.

Without even knowing specifically what a bustard track looks like, there are two considerations which come to my mind. What is the range of emu and bustards and what are their relative sizes and weights ?

Emu are common in the area; Victoria is at the extreme extent of the bustard’s range, so they are possible ?

An emu is a much larger and heavier bird. The size of the track we can measure easily enough, but the depth of the print in the sand does indicate that it was made be a heavy animal (I know that’s hard to tell from a pic).

I think that the size and depth of the track eliminates the bustard.



That leaves us with the conclusion that it is most likely an emu track.

I’m so surprised no one guessed ! :emozionato:
 

Dusty Miller

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Not common knowledge, but there are several feral populations of ostriches in SA. If it were a zoo, then rheas are also an option, almost as big as an emu. Cassowaries have more even inner and outer toes too.
 

Aussie123

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Not common knowledge, but there are several feral populations of ostriches in SA. If it were a zoo, then rheas are also an option, almost as big as an emu. Cassowaries have more even inner and outer toes too.

I have suspected that there must be a feral population - everything seems to escape sooner or later.
 

auscraft

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We could rule out Ostriches straight away unless it grew a third toes.
Aussie enjoyed your track location area description and photos.
 
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Aussie123

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We could rule Ostriches straight away unless it grew a third toes.
Aussie enjoyed your track location area description and photos.

Very true. here are a couple of internet pics of ostrich feet. Only two toes !
Ostrich1.jpg ostrich2.jpg
 
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