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awesome pics ! love the captions you have with them there are so many diffrerent dragons out there i would love to have a home just for every dragon out there but they look soo beautiful in the wild ..once again awesome will look forward to more1 x teen, 1x toddler/monster/angel, heaps of frogs who seem to think our house is a frog hotel just normal green tree frog but even had a rocket or two, some cane toads ( ewwww) and finally 1 Baby Bearded Central Dragon! ( who currently has no name)
Thanks, all. No more tarantula shots, Richo. It remained under the rock.
After Chillagoe, my friends and I shifted out to Georgetown. Georgetown is an gold-mining town at the base of Cape York. One of these abandoned mines has a dam that can be quite good for some of the northern birds. I also wanted to see if the Merten's Water Monitors were still along the creek where I found them 5 years ago.
The drive out passed through dry country. I usually stop at this creek since it is usually good for a variety of lizards.
I checked this pool again and found Merten's Water Monitors (Varanus mertensi). They were here on a herping trip back in 2007. This was pleasing since Cane Toads were abundant. The monitors have obviously learned not to eat the toxic pests.
We stopped initially in the afternoon. The temperture was in the low 40s so was too hot to see much. It did not take long, though, to find a couple of these.
Merten's Water Monitors (Varanus mertensi)
Then next day, we stopped by earlier in the morning and found these while they were still heating up. One of them gaped but I don't know whether this was a threat or part of its thermoregulatory behaviour.
As long as we moved slowly, the monitor would allow us to approach for photos.
These little Shaded-litter Rainbow Skinks (Carlia munda) were abundant.
These Kapoks or Silk Cotton Trees (Bombax sp.) were fruiting. Red-winged Parrots were ripping into the seed pods. Red-wings are gorgeous birds in flight with the lime-green bodies and scarlet wing patch.
male Red-winged Parrot:
We went for a night drive but saw very little. The best find was this Curl Snake (Suta suta):
We also found a couple of these Burton's Snake-Lizards (Lialis burtonis). They certainly vary in colour. See TNWJackson's report from the top end to see even more of the lizards.
We saw a skinny "gecko" and stopped to find this nicely coloured Two-lined Dragon (Diporiphora bilineata).
There was very little on the road. We finally decided to walk and had much better success. These small pythons were common. I am not certain about their identity. I assumed that they were Spotted Pythons (Antaresia maculosa) but when I look at the book, it seems that Stimson's (A. stimsoni) would also be possible. Most of these were found in ambush positions along a dry creek or in trees.
We blundered into this snake and immediately jumped back until we realized that it was a harmless Keelback (Tropidonophis mairii).
Tawny Frogmouths "sang" all night at the campground. The next morning we found a pair and their kids.
... a native milkweed (Andrew's photo)
- 24-Nov-11, 05:49 PM #33
- Join Date
- Gunbalanya NT
I almost feel like I've been on a trip myself, great thread.
"... a native milkweed (Andrew's photo)"
That's not a native, it's Calatropis procera, Rubber Bush, a bad weed in the north of Australia. It has light seed spread by wind. A native of southern Asia.
waruikazi, the clouds were building but the wet had not really commenced yet near Georgetown.
tropicbreeze, thanks for the info. I only saw these as sporadic, isolated plants. I did not recognize these as an invasive species.
From Georgetown, we had a relatively short drive back to the Atherton Tablelands. This is a beautiful part of Australia with remnant patches of montane rainforest. The tablelands are usually lush and green and this year was not an exception. I was a little slack here and did not take much in the way of habitat shots. Here is shot from a couple of years ago. It is an example of what much of the tablelands is like:
The tableslands have a number of waterfalls and crater lakes. Here is the lovely Millaa Millaa Falls.
... and the Millstream Falls:
... Andrew's photo near the falls at Mt. Hypipamee.
We had good luck here with a couple of the more interesting geckos. Northern Leaf-tailed Geckos (Saltuarius cornutus) were numerous at one of the sites. Their eyes were reflective and we could see them high in the trees. They usually were standing near the base of large epiphytic ferns such as the birdsnest and staghorn in this photo:
Their bodies were flattened and they were well camouflaged when standing on the trunk of a tree:
... nice eyes:
Even more exciting was my first Chameleon Gecko (Carphodactylus laevis). I have looked for these on a number of occasions over the years. I was surprised by the large size of the gecko, the length of the legs and its general "inertness". It hardly moved at all while we photographed it.
The gecko seemed to have visors over the eyes. I wonder if this has anything to do with the high rainfall in these mountains?
We went spotlighting a couple of times for possums. The tablelands are the home of several relict species and we saw two of these: Herbert River Ringtail Possum and Green Ringtail Possum. Green Ringtails are such beautiful animals. This one decided to rest and it curled into a ball. Possums have a thumb and first finger that is opposable to the other three digits.
... one of the possums was carrying this adorable baby on its back. The baby would reach out and nibble on leaves while the mum was feeding.
Sleeping Bower Shrike-Thrush, an Atherton endemic.
Common Brush-tailed Possum (Andrew's photo). This is a normal colour phase. We also saw the bronzy colour phase as well.
Long-nosed Bandicoot (Andrew's photo):
Andrew also photographed this bizarre arachnid:
At night, these little fungi were phosphorescent. In some areas, the fungus covered the soil and this would all be glowing green. Glow worms were also frequent. These were all nice to see when the flashlights were flicked off.
White-kneed King Crickets:
During the day, we found this lone Boyd's Forest Dragon (Hypsilurus boydii)
Rainforest Sunskink (Lampropholis coggeri)
Eastern Water Skink (Eulamprus quoyii)
one of the Snake-eyed Skinks (Cryptoblepharus sp.)
This Nobbi Dragon (Amphibolurus nobbi) was in its nice breeding colours.
The most interesting to me was this small Spotted Tree Monitor (Varanus scalaris) that was initially on the ground but then climbed to the top of a big rainforest tree.
Spotted Tree Monitor (Andrew's photo):
Butterflies were here in low numbers. I did see this lifer, a Yellow-banded Jezebel (Delias ennia). This and several other butterflies were feeding in a tree but they remained several meters above me. They never came down to where I might take better shots.
I also saw this Red-banded Jezebel (Delias mysis) that was feeding even higer in the tree.
Black Jezebels (Delias nigra) were seen occasionally in the gloom of the rainforest understorey.
These Tailed Emperors (Polyura semipronius) were big and impressive butterflies. This one eventually perched beneath a branch about 2m above me. I think that they look a little like the Blue Nawabs in Singapore and Malaysia.
Hamadryad (Telervo zoilus), our only Ithomiinae.
Last edited by moloch05; 25-Nov-11 at 08:20 PM.
Great photos! I'm surprised all those pixels didn't crash the server
- 25-Nov-11, 08:56 PM #38
Thank you so much, always look forward to your threads never failing to give top notch pics with the bonus of text to go with it makes it like we are with you along the trip. Thank you. Adore the gecko images, sorry bit bias thereWish list : Ahh the wish list
Thanks, Wookie and Smithers. Geckos are one of my favourite families as well. We are lucky to have such an incredible diversity in Australia.
We left Atherton after two nights and began our return journey. We stopped briefly in Cairns and walked through the botanic gardens. I hoped to show the guys the nicely coloured Little Kingfisher but could not locate it. We did have good views of Yellow Orioles. While there, we saw a number of Archer Fish in a mangrove lined canal.
We stopped for a few hours at Jourama Falls. This area is a pretty place and it is herp rich. I always see lots along the creek in this area. It also was a good place for birds with a few of the more unusual species such as Pied Monarch, Northern Fantail, White-browed Robin, Macleay's Honeyeaters and Noisy Pittas all being heard or seen. Unfortunately, we were just a little too early to see the spectacular White-tailed Kingfisher.
Black-throated Rainbow-Skinks (Carlia rostralis) were abundant. Some of these were so tame that I could walk all around them and take shots. They completely ignored me and the flashing camera.
... I think that this is a female although she looks a little different to those that I have seen before.
One of the water skinks was also common. Several of these bar-sided water skinks are possible in this area so I am not certain of the species.
Eastern Striped Skinks (Ctenotus robustus) are fairly common in grassy areas along the trail.
Eastern Water Dragons (Physignathus lesueurii) were common. This female seemed to be enjoying the cool water on a hot afternoon.
Jourama Falls is usually a good place to see Lace Monitors (Varanus varius). Ted and Andrew found one and Ted was able to take this amazing shot of one that climbed a tree near the trail. It obviously was not happy to see people in the area.
...it had relaxed when I saw it 10 minutes later but it remained in the tree.
Forest Kingfishers are pretty birds.
White-browed Robins are not so easy to find. There were a couple of pairs here that were singing along the creek in the picnic area.
Here is a nicely coloured male Brush Turkey. These birds are common near campgrounds and picnic sites.
Black-spotted Grass-Blue (Famegana alsulus)
Orange-steaked Ringlet (Hypocysta irius)
We continued south and then went night-driving along a road 100km west of Townsville. On this trip, it was incredibly quiet with no live snakes at all. We did encounter the sad sight of a freshly killed Black-headed Python. Strophurus krisalys and Gehyra variegata were the only geckos and we saw several Burton's Snake-Lizards. We camped near the Burdekin Dam and found this Echidna.
- 26-Nov-11, 03:54 PM #40
that weird spider thing is a harvestmenlike a boss
- 26-Nov-11, 04:35 PM #41
- Join Date
- Central Coast, NSW
Beautiful photos and what a variety, most I have never seen before. Thank you very much for sharing I enjoyed them soooo much!!
Thanks for the info, Richo.
We continued south for a number of hours and eventually reached Cape Hillsborough NP in the late afternoon. This park is just a little to the north of Mackay. The park is scenic with nice beaches and hills. Hoop Pines grow right to the beach in some areas and they were attractive to big flocks of Red-tailed Black Cockatoos.
Here are a few shots of the beaches and hills at Cape Hillsborough:
Pandanas was common just above the hightide line.
There was also a large mangrove bay nearby. We followed a boardwalk here and saw a few birds and butterflies but had no luck with the Rusty-throated Monitor. (Andrew's photo)
An area that we like was named Hidden Valley. It was about a 2km walk from the campground where we stayed. This area had nice remnant rainforest. We heard/saw Purple-crowned Fruit-Doves, Rose-crowned Fruit-Doves, Woompoo and White-headed Pigeons in the valley. It was also good for butterflies and herps and produced a nicely marked Lace Monitor. The following shot shows a portion of the trail in Hidden Valley.
Bush Thick-Knees were common. I love their weird and loud call at night.
This Laughing Koobaburra was a threat to unsuspecting tourists. It stole meat that was cooking on a barbeque and it managed to snatch meat off a Dutch tourist's plate when the guy was distracted. Clever bird! The guy did not seem to appreciate the friendly wildlife when he lost his steak.
Eulamprus skinks were numerous on the sides of some of the big rainforest trees. I think that these are probably Bar-sided Forest-Skinks (E. tenuis) but several Eulamprus are possible here and they are so similar.
Blue-throated Rainbow-Skinks (Carlia rhomboidalis) were the most common reptile. The one in the first shot below illustrates why these are called "rainbow-skinks". Their scales are refractive.
... a nicely marked Lace Monitor (Varanus varius):
Night drives produced a Spotted Python (Antaresia maculosa), Brown Tree Snakes (Boiga irregularis) and these pretty Ocellated Velvet Geckos (Oedura monilis). These had flattened bodies so I suppose that they lived beneath bark or within crevices.
We found a big Preying Mantis:
The drive was quiet and we had already been in the car for many hours while heading south. About midnight, we decided to call it a night. Ted and I headed off to our tents. Andrew was youthful and full of energy so he decided to go for a night walk on the beach. The moon was nearly full. After an absence of maybe 30 minutes, Andrew came charging back to camp and awakened us. He had found a nesting turtle. Ted and I quickly dressed and then headed down the beach to see this amazing site. We both watched for awhile but being old and feeble, we succumbed to fatigue and returned to the tents. Andrew stayed here with the turtle until 3:30am when it completed its activities and returned to the sea. Here is a sequence of photos taken by Andrew of the nesting Flat-back Turtle (Natator depressus). Andrew considered this to be the highlight of his visit to Australia since he has a particular fondness for the marine turtles. He took some excellent photos of the event.
There were many flowering plants in the campground and these attracted a variety of butterflies.
I quite like the colours of this male Jezebel Nymph (Mynas geoffroy). As with Jezebels (Pierids), these had colourful outer wings but white and black inner wings.
Blue-banded Eggfly (Hypolimnas alimena)
Bordered Rustics (Cupha prosope) were a frequent sight within the rainforest.
A White-banded Plane (Phaedyma shepherdi) that had a close encounter with a bird:
Shining Oak-Blues (Arhopola micale) are beautiful in flight. Unfortunately, they rarely open their wings when perched. In the second shot below, the butterfly jumped with the preflash so the upper wing colour can be seen.
Dark Ciliate Blue (Athene seltutus)
Lemon Migrant (Catopsilia pomona)
I am not certain about the identification of this Grass-Yellow. It was tiny so I expected it to be a Small Grass-Yellow (Eurema smilax) but the underwing pattern more closely resembles the Scalloped Grass-Yellow (E. alitha).
These Orange Palm-Darts (Cephrenes augiades) were often seen around young palms in the forest.
This Glistening Pearl-White (Elodina queenslandica) was a lifer to me.
- 27-Nov-11, 08:17 PM #43
well done.... id love to try sketching some of these pics one daygrow a pair
- 27-Nov-11, 08:51 PM #44
Absolutly mad stuff! Love the O.monillis & S.cornatus!
- 27-Nov-11, 08:53 PM #45
the mantid is a hierodula specieslike a boss
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