Grab your torch and discover wildlife at Cumberland State Forest

CHILDREN will get to take their flashlight and turn wildlife detective in March.

Forestry Corporation of NSW’s senior ranger Tim Liston said their Animal Spotlight walks were one of the most popular activities at Cumberland State Forest.

The family-friendly events will be held after dark every Saturday in March and November this year.

“The evening starts with a ranger talk about nocturnal wildlife and then we lead families on a night-time adventure through the forest by torchlight to seek out possums, owls and other critters,’’ Mr Liston, of Pennant Hills, said.

“In the past families have spotted powerful owls, which is a threatened species; we know we have a resident pair.

‘‘Recently we’ve also seen a small population, about five to 10, of sugar gliders.

‘‘Being a small urban forest, you wouldn’t expect to see them.

‘‘A lot of people seem to like the sugar gliders and you can get a good look at them because they’re often stationery on the trunk of the tree, drinking the sap.

‘‘But the micro bats — which we’re noticing are on the increase — are the more common sightings, as are the ringtail and brushtail possums, tawny frogmouths and Boobook owls.”

The idea of these walks began in 2000 and normally draw five to six families.

Forestry Corporation also has a free iPad app called Wildlife Detective — at forestrycorporation.com.au— which is an educational game for children about identifying animals in the forest.

■ Details: Every Saturday in March, 7.30-9.30pm, Cumberland State Forest, 95 Castle Hill Road, West Pennant Hills. Cost: $11 a person (children six and up only), $35 a family (two adults, two kids). No torch, no walk. Bookings essential: 1300 655 687.

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