Saturday, 1 November 2014

The Grass is Always Greener

Yep the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence - a classic old saying and often true but more of that a little later.
I apologise for being off the air for a couple of weeks, I just didn't feel much like sitting at the computer and babbling on especially when despite considerable effort to bring some new photographs to the table, all that I managed for the whole weekend was a couple of Murray's Skinks and some fungi photos. Well that was last weekend and I think I'm over feeling sorry for myself now so I'll try again.
These are the skinks from the previous weekend. The first is only a juvenile who wasn't about to come out of his hidey hole for me or anyone else.
The following two photos are of the same animal. Using the flash can really distort the images as you can see by the variation in colour.

Well that was my weekend pretty bloody ordinary by any ones estimations.
We have had quite a few warm to hot days leading up to this current weekend and there are storms predicted for either tonight (Sunday) or tomorrow so I thought it might be a good time to get out and about at night to see if anything was on the move in preparation for the coming weather change. I stuck to the local hinterland roads and clocked up about a hundred k's for one small (1 to 1.2 metre) Carpet Python which was on a very tight bend on a very narrow and though not overly busy, well used road. Because of the situation I stressed a little finding a place to park and running back to find it had already made it's way off the road to the verge which happened to be on the edge of a decent drop off. All of those factors had me rushing to a certain extent and this is what I ended up with! I use a tripod torch with a very weak beam to shed a bit of light on subjects at night in order to allow the camera to focus. I was also wearing a strong headlamp which I took off and dropped on the ground without even realising that it was still switched on. Obviously Murphy's Law meant that it was pointed in the direction to wash a harsh light over part of the subject stuffing up all of the shots. How I didn't pick it up before I took the photos I don't know, that's what happens when you stress out and rush I guess. I am so glad that it was a Carpet Python and not one of the animals that I need for the book otherwise I would have been really pissed off with myself.
Now on the greener grass story which really isn't that much more interesting to be honest.
So I arrived back home and the place was in darkness. My dogs went off at me when I tried to sneak in waking the missus which wasn't a great start. When I went to get a drink from the kitchen sink this Huntsman spider caught my eye as he scuttled over the floor. I decided then to go for quick walk around the house to see if any geckos were out before retiring.
This guy has been identified as a Brown Huntsman (Heteropoda Jugulans) thanks to Campbell on the Australian Invertebrates forum.
The soffits were crawling with Asian house geckos all very nervous for some reason. Well at least some of them that were living in the steel columns that support the roof of the house on the northern side.
Then I discovered the possible reason for the nervous behaviour, a hatchling Carpet Python emerging from the open top of one of the columns. To give you an idea of scale the blue painted corrugated electrical pipe at the right of the photo is 32mm in diameter.
I am not positive but it looks to me as the snake may be in the process of sloughing its skin and it could well be the first slough since hatching if that is the case. Hopefully there are another twenty or thirty up there somewhere about to help reduce the population of introduced geckos.

 From there I wandered up the back to the shed and there were hundreds of small to medium sized spiders all over the ground and on the tree trunks. The fella above looks to be the same species that was in the kitchen.
On the besser block walls of the shed were three more geckos, One House gecko and two Robust Velvet geckos like the one in the photograph below. Unfortunately they were both two high up to get a decent shot so I have had to substitute a previous photo as an example.
So the moral of the story is that you should open your eyes and look around wherever you happen to be and you don't necessarily have to travel long distances to take photographs. And don't rush or stress out, it's friggin pointless in the scheme of things and gets you absolutely nowhere in the long run.
Cheers, talk to you in a week or so,

Late mail, at the risk of turning the blog into a spider fest check out this different species of Huntsman that has taken up residence in my bedroom. Hmmm wonder what he will be doing tonight? Lucky I got over my irrational fear of spiders eh.
This one is a Grey Huntsman (Holconia Immanis) thanks again to Campbell on the Australian Invertebrates forum. We are still working on the species pictured in the previous post "Two days of peace and quiet" but at this stage it may be a species of large Wolf Spider.


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