This is a picture of me at one of the trap sites. It is straight from the camera with no modifications or alterations what so ever. I really do think you could have a good art exhibition with some of the photos!
Monday, December 21, 2009
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Last year it was birding in Sabah Borneo, with one of the highlights being, finally seeing a group of the elusive Bornean Bristleheads. One of my wife's highlights was also climbing to the top of Mt Kinabalu by herself. I thought in honour of that achievement almost one year ago, I would put up some pictures of that event.
The goal, to climb up Mt Kinabalu (4101 m) to the small point on top in the middle. The highest peak between the Himalayas and New Guinea.
My wife and her mountain guide Miak ready to begin the two day journey. I'm laughing because I don't have to go! I can stay down here and do some birding.
About 3/4 up the mountain, the overnight stop at the Laban Rata guesthouse, with an early start at 3 am to begin the final journey in darkness to the top.
The rainforest is far below and only the toughest high altitude plants survive, till higher up there is only rock.
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Here is a video I took of a Barking Gecko when temperatures were cooler and geckos could sometimes still be found moving in the early morning.
These beautiful Barking Geckos (Underwoodisaurus milli) are found over most of southern Australia. They are one of the two species of thick-tailed geckos found in Australia. They are called barking geckos because of their threat display, where they lunge forward, raise their body and yelp and hiss.
They grow to 17cm and have a wonderful fat tail, especially if it has been a good season, but can quickly drop it if you pick them up. These geckos can also give you a good nip and not let go, if you get your finger too close. There was one time where I had to sit for ten minutes with a gecko attached to my hand, before he decided to let go and went his way.
They look very similar to the nine species of Knob-tailed Geckos found in Australia and will shortly (or already) be placed in the Nephurus genus.
Saturday, December 5, 2009
Here is a video I took of Quacking Frogs a few months ago when the streams were flowing.
A little info about them. The Quacking Frog or also called Tschudi's Froglet, is a common frog found in creeks and swamps around Perth, Western Australia. The colour and pattern variations on individuals are incredible. The best way to identify these frogs is to look for the gold or red eyelids and red markings on the inner thighs, and the loud 'quack' call.
Friday, November 27, 2009
These noisy New Holland Honeyeaters (Phylidonyris novaehollandiae) spend the year in our garden feeding on all our nectar-producing plant, such as the red Grevilleas in the video. They tend to breed at almost any time of the year and this spring I found a nice little cup-shaped nest in one of our large pot plants.
One of young New Holland Honeyeaters, probably only about a week or two out of the nest. These honeyeaters are usually in little groups and keep a watch out for the goshawks and falcons that often cruise over the garden.
They are an aggressive honeyeater and often drive away other birds, especially smaller honeyeaters from the nectar plants in the garden.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
This was our camp at Camballin for about two weeks. A basic public camping area on the Fitzroy River about 2 hours east of Derby, with fly nets as home, a small caravan as kitchen and 42 degree temperatures most days.
The Camballin Barrage Dam, one of our main washing and water obtaining areas while at camp. At night with a light you could see all the Freshwater Crocodile eyes shining. It seems that there would be no reason why you could not get to big Saltwater Crocodiles below the dam!
The story goes that you should not go to the same spot at rivers up north, because the saltwater croc, the first time he sees you, second time he plans, third time he gets you!
A story also goes that the northern Aborigines, if they did cross in the same spot a number of times, would cross a river with the old people going last, because the croc would usually grab the last person. If you lost an old person, it was no big deal!
One of the many beautiful Boab trees in the survey area. These trees when in flower are one of the best place to see birds, with many of the nectar-feeding birds, like honeyeaters feeding here all day.
The small silvery acacias had huge amounts of seed pods, attracting large numbers of cockatoo and parrot species.
We caught over 40 species of reptiles in the survey area. This is one of the beautiful small burrowing snakes of the Kimberley area, a Northern Shovel-nosed Snake (Brachyurophis roperi).
Friday, October 9, 2009
It was a fairly small survey area, but we still managed to trap and record over 40 local species of animals. Thanks to Jess, one of the minesite environmental officers, these are a couple of photos of a really nice speciemen of a Ctenotus inornatus.
Monday, September 28, 2009
Not nice to walk through, but good healthy spinifex habitats like this one are one of the best areas to capture reptiles and small mammals.
An artistic shot of a Kapok Tree (Cochlospermum gillivraei) one of the common small trees found in the Kimberleys and throughout most of northern Australia. During the dry season they drop their leaves and are basically only sticks.
The Kapok has beautiful big yellow flowers which develop into these big seed pods that open to spread fluffy seeds into the wind. This is a bush tucker plant and the seeds were once used to stuff pillows.
One of the many old scenic cattle yards, which sometimes have with good shade trees, like this stunning one planted at the yard. Often good places to look for reptiles under old pieces of tin and junk.
A lovely Leopard Ctenotus (Ctenotus pantherinus) caught during trapping in one of the good spinifex sites. I think this has to be one of the most beautiful skinks found in arid regions of Australia.
One of the more common small monitors in our survey site and found in many rocky areas of northern Australia, a Spiny-tailed Monitor ( Varanus acanthurus). Usually easy to identify with a hard many-ridged long tail and striped neck.
Friday, September 25, 2009
I thought I would put up some photos of our last fauna survey in the south Kimberley, just north of Halls Creek.
A camouflaged Ta-ta Lizard (Amphibolurus gilberti), so called because of a territorial hand waving behaviour. You can often see these guys running around the mining accommodation near well-watered gardens.
Woodland areas in northern Australia are good places to find Frilled Lizards (Chlamydosaurus kingii). Many people have seen what adult Frilled Lizards look like, but these pictures show a juvenile which has a different colour and very small frill on the back of the head.
Not a snake, but a legless lizard, a Delma borea found in areas in northern Australia with a good ground cover of spinifex.
Monday, September 21, 2009
Only 7km from the city, Herdsman is a great place to see Perth birds as you can get over 70 species in a day just around the lake.
The birds in the video are Australian Reed-Warbler, Welcome Swallow, Freckled Duck (rare), Australasian Shoveler, Black Swan, Blue-billed Duck, Grey Teal, Black-winged Stilt, Coot, Australasian Grebe, Dusky Moorhen, Purple Swamphen, Buff-banded Rail, Great Egret, Glossy Ibis and Nankeen Night-heron.
Friday, September 18, 2009
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Monday, September 14, 2009
Some of the survey area has these wonderful breakaways. Great homes and shelters for many of the local animals, especially during the unbearable hot summer temperatures.
It was sad to see the remains of Pebble-mound Mouse nests at most of the rock outcrops and breakaways. The way you spot them, is to look for large collections of same sized stones. These mice were probably members of what is now called the Pilbara Pebble-mound Mouse (Pseudomys chapmani), which is only found in a small area far to the northwest in the Pilbara region of WA.
No one knows for certain why they became extinct in over most of these arid areas, but it was probably due to introduced rabbits, cats and foxes.
A picture from the web of a Pilbara Pebble-mound Mouse working hard to drag large pebbles to build it's rock-protected nest.
The other two rodents of which you can find old nests at outcrops, and which also became extinct in these areas, are the Lesser and Greater Stick-nest Rat. These nests were made of small sticks, often cemented with a black tar-looking substance.
One of the fantastic geckos we found in the survey areas, a Goldfields Spiny-tailed Gecko (Strophurus assimilis). Many Spiny-tailed Geckos look similar, but this one can be told apart by the wavy lines of spines (instead of straight) on it's back.
Sunday, September 6, 2009
Friday, September 4, 2009
Here are a few of the orchids found growing near our home in the hills and some from the coastal plain.
These are one of the more common orchids found in the hills area at this time of year, the Cowslip Orchids.
Another common orchid is the Donkey Orchid, found growing in many areas at this time of year.
This is the Bird Orchid, due to it's colour and small size, amazingly hard to see under trees on the forest floor.
A small beautiful orchid found only in certain open areas amongst the forest, the Autumn Leek Orchid.
One of the many, many Spider Orchids belonging to the Caladenia genus.
Another Caladenia species, possibly the White Spider Orchid. You really need a Caladenia book and a hand lens to often tell which species it is, and there seem to be new species all the time.