Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Western Trip

I had intended to head to the granite belt district south west of the region but a last minute change of plans was invoked because the temperatures in that area were going to be well below optimum for any night time activity and were in fact low enough to make sleeping in a small tent a little uncomfortable. So the weekends were switched and I headed west rather than south west in the hope of getting a few nocturnal critter shots as well. The temperatures were warmer but by around 7.30pm they had dropped down to around 15c which didn't encourage the local reptile population to forage so the nights were pretty uneventful. Did have a visit from a feral pig which really wanted to know what was in the tent  just after getting to sleep the first night which got the adrenalin going for a while though. 
My camera didn't seem to be playing the game either for some reason this trip.I ended up with very few really crisp shots which was a bit disappointing. I also stuffed up many of my night shots (luckily there weren't really that many of them) with too much light from the head torch causing harsh shadows across some of the photos.
I went out there with a list as long as your arm of reptiles that I was really keen to see and photograph but ended up with only two of my target species for three days and two nights effort. The conditions were far from perfect so I guess I shouldn't be whinging but I couldn't help but think that it's getting tougher and tougher to find anything these days even the common species. When you spend days and nights walking through what looks like pristine habitat (albeit vastly reduced in area) for native fauna, and apart from the odd reptile tracks most of the signs of life point toward feral animals (pigs, dogs and worst of all cats) it becomes somewhat frustrating. I start to wonder whether or not I'm ever going to get there with this book of mine.
Anyway the few creatures that I did see were spectacular in their own right.

Below are a couple of specimens of one of my target species, the Ragged Snake-eyed Skink.

And the most exciting find of the trip for me was this magnificent Brigalow Scalyfoot, a very large adult with few markings, and a first for me personally.

This Trapdoor spider burrow was the largest I think that  I have ever seen. Didn't get to view the inhabitant though.

A grumpy little Wolf spider that resented having his photo taken.

A handsomely marked Huntsman spider.

A few shots of some of the country including some amazingly textured timber.

One of the few live mammals recorded. There were literally hundreds of roadkills which is standard fair once you leave city limits.

A spent Preying Mantis eggcase. There were hundreds of these as well dotted throughout the shrubs and trees.

A monitor burrow including an escape hatch at the back. In one particular area there were quite a few of these but most didn't appear to be active burrows and there were only two monitors sighted.

The only bird I managed to get close enough to to photograph. Not sure if it was injured or just pretending to be to lure me away from a nest but it didn't move too far or fast. I think it's a Jacky Winter but am happy to be corrected should anyone wish to let me know that I am wrong.

A really attractive and fiesty young Shingleback.

An emaciated Spotted Marsh Frog and the burrow that he retreated into after allowing me just one quick photo. There were quite a few frogs active around a small dam but none were calling and most didn't look to be in prime condition. I didn't really expect to get any frog photos this trip.

A Broad-palmed Frog

An Emerald Spotted Tree Frog.

A Naked Tree Frog

An Ornate Burrowing Frog with a tiny pebble stuck to the tip of his nose.

This was another first for me but not a photograph that I required for my book unfortunately.
An Ingram's Ctenotus.

This little fella was spotted from the car sitting up like this in the middle of a grassed area searching for an afternoon snack of grasshoppers. A juvenile Eastern Bearded Dragon.

Yellow Spotted Monitor.

A gravid South Eastern Morethia Skink soaking up some early morning rays.

The remaining photos are from a much wetter environment, taken on the way home.
A Garden Skink. There were dozens of these milling around the base of a large tree.

A Grey Headed Flying Fox having a stretch and a yawn.

And finally a Barred-sided Skink posing majestically of the side of his tree.

Only one snake sighted, a Common Tree snake in this last small patch of forest on the way home. Unfortunately he spotted me well before I noticed him so no pics.
That's it for now hopefully next week I'll have a stack of granite loving lizard photos to post with a bit of luck.



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