2012: A year in review (warning: massive self indulgent post)

Discussion in 'Field Herping and Reptile Studies' started by Nephrurus, Feb 27, 2013.

  1. Nephrurus

    Nephrurus Very Well-Known Member

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    I've seen a few "herping 2012" around the joint so I decided to put this together over the last few weeks when I've had spare time. I don't post much anymore, but I do put stuff on flickr. I just fail to use it in posts. I do enjoy putting threads together- so humour me. The last year is now DONE. I won't have to revisit it online for a long time.

    Even if you don't like my story, just look at the pictures. What we should all take away from this is that this country is beautiful and we all don't get out enough. See it before it's changed/gone. With the current threatening governments, even National Parks are under threat. Some idiot is pushing for the "relisting" of some Northern NSW parks so "forestry" can be resumed... etc etc etc...

    Vote to protect these areas. They're important. The same way most of us would loved to have seen Kakadu before cane toads, the next generation will have loved to have seen the Kimberley before they put a bauxite mine on Mitchell Plateau and a tar road all the way up (if James Price Point gets up- it will probably happen).


    Anyway, here's what I did in 2012.

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    2012 : A quick review of quite a cool year.

    Started in the best possible way. Abroad.
    I spent New Years Eve and Day with my friend exploring the remote Masoala Peninsula in North-eastern Madagascar. The area is relatively unknown: they are still regularly finding frogs and reptiles that are undescribed. Access is by boat or on foot and it’s the only place on Earth to the see the magnificent Red-ruffed Lemur. That was the primary goal of the trip up there.

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    red-ruffed lemur, Masoala-6907 by Henry.Cook, on Flickr

    The secondary goal was a wild long-shot: The Aye-Aye. With a bit of stuffing around, a wet night and a completely drunk guide stumbling around, we managed to see an Aye-Aye to the dulcet cries of our guide shrieking “Aye-aye pee pee in my mouth!” He then slid down a hill and ripped his pants open. A memorable night.

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    AYE AYE, Antongil, Masoala-7488 by Henry.Cook, on Flickr

    Other neat things included the totally cool and massive Short-legged Ground Roller, the Tomato Frog and the tiniest chameleon I’ve even seen: Brookesia peyrierasi. (photos below in above order)

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    SHort-legged Ground Roller-7454 by Henry.Cook, on Flickr

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    Dyscophus antongilii, Maroansetra-7976 by Henry.Cook, on Flickr


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    Brookesia peyrierasi, Nosy Mangabe-7829 by Henry.Cook, on Flickr

    Oh, forgot to put in the awesome day geckos that were everywhere. Various species, all spectacular. Also panther chameleons. Really cool!

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    P.pusilla-7636 by Henry.Cook, on Flickr

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    Furcifer pardalis, Tampolo-6849 by Henry.Cook, on Flickr

    Oh, You like Geckos?

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    U. fimbriatus-7704 by Henry.Cook, on Flickr

    You should probably have a bit of a look at the Uroplatus geckos as well…

    Madagascar Uroplatus - a set on Flickr


    The Masoala was cool but the lack of working ATMs in the town was a pain in the hole. Thankyou Western union money transfer!


    Next stop was a flight back to the capital Antannanarivo then into a 4WD with our driver Mahery to the dry and interesting east coast. Only 600kms: it took two days to get there. The roads are slow and windy.

    Out destination was Kirindy one of the last decent patches of dry deciduous forest on the west coast and a bomber spot for nocturnal lemur spotting. Six species of lemur were theoretically possible to see at night. There were a heap of neat birds about the place as well, as well as chameleons and some frogs. We arrived in the middle of a cyclone so it was a bit of a waiting game, going out to search around for things between showers of rain.

    Success was had, although we failed to see the Fosa, Madagascar’s largest predator. We did have a win and saw the Giant Jumping Rat! A massive rodent that lives in warrens (like a burrowing bettong or a bilby). They’re about the same size as a big brush-tailed possum.

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    Giant Jumping Rat-9065 by Henry.Cook, on Flickr

    Also saw a heap of Lemurs. Most are small possum sized sort of things. The fat-tailed dwarf lemur is fairly common. Seen here gorging on flowers in spite of the cyclonic downpours. My poor camera suffered at this place…

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    Fat-tailed Dwarf Lemur, Kirindy-8222 by Henry.Cook, on Flickr

    Slightly less common, this is the Coqueral’s Giant Dwarf Lemur. We watched it catch and devour a giant hissing cockroach- really neat.

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    Coqueral's GIant Dwarf Lemur, Kirindy-9027 by Henry.Cook, on Flickr

    The resident group of Red-front Brown Lemur broke into our room and stole all our mangos and banana. *******s.

    For some reason I haven’t uploaded an image of these Lemurs. My bad.

    Chameleons were plentiful and are quite easy to find at night. The west coast species tended to be the Furcifer while they were usually Calumma on the wetter east coast.

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    Furcifer nicosiai, Kirindy-9059 by Henry.Cook, on Flickr

    And a few interesting ground geckos kept things interesting.

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    Paraoedura picta-8270 by Henry.Cook, on Flickr


    Back towards the centre of Madagascar and then south a bit, Ranomafana NP was our last stop. With at least four Lemur species we’d not seen before, we thought we’d better hit this place before we left.
    This park had been formed when the Golden Bamboo Lemur was rediscovered in the late 1980s and is now a tourist hotspot (relatively speaking- there are guides and there are places to stay, not that touristy).

    We found Golden Bamboo Lemur and the extremely rare Greater Bamboo Lemur fairly easily. In the subsequent days we saw the goldens plenty of times but never saw the greater again. Greater Bamboo Lemur are rare. Really rare- probably less than 200 left in the wild. Whilst habitat loss has taken it’s toll, apparently poaching for private zoos is now driving the numbers down further.

    We watched a female teach her baby to tear off the giant bamboo shoots by chewing off several of the bracts and them leaning on it with all her weight, then carrying it up high, strip the outer bracts and eat the soft inners. It was amazing to watch. Also distressing, knowing that these species could go extinct in a few short years.

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    Golden Bamboo Lemur, Ranomafana-9520 by Henry.Cook, on Flickr


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    Greater Bamboo Lemur, Ranomafana-9366 by Henry.Cook, on Flickr


    The Milne-Edwards Sifaka was the other big species we wanted to see. The groups were fairly easy to find. Most of the guides are pretty good at finding lemurs, some birds and chameleons. Not much good for snakes and frogs.

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    Milne-Edward's Sifaka, Ranomafana-9715 by Henry.Cook, on Flickr


    The final Lemur to see if probably the best known. The Ring-tailed Lemur was once fairly widespread. Now the range is fragmented from landclearing and populations are scattered. This highland population are extremely fluffy. They live around the base of this massive granite intrusions near a town called Anja.

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    Ring-tailed Lemur, Anja-0086 by Henry.Cook, on Flickr

    They’re neat. We saw a troupe of about 45 individuals. Racing across these enormous rocks. Awesome.

    We also saw another Brookesia here.
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    B. brygooi, Anja reserve-9970 by Henry.Cook, on Flickr


    And that wraps up the Madagascar trip. I flew home on the 19th of January
    I could have put heaps of photos, but this thread would be even more massive than it already is.

    You can peruse my Madagascar albums on Flickr.
    Lemurs:
    Madagascar Lemurs - a set on Flickr

    Reptiles (non chameleons, non snakes):
    Madagascar Reptiles - a set on Flickr

    Frogs:
    Madagascar Frogs - a set on Flickr

    Chameleons:
    Madagascar Chameleons - a set on Flickr

    Birds:
    Madagascar Birds - a set on Flickr



    Arrived back in January on about 19th.

    Not a bad start to the year. The rest of Jan was spent doing nothing in particular I’d been out for a fair while and it was nice to just swim at the beach and sit in an office. It’s still fairly hot in the Pilbara, so there was not much field work to be done.

    Not too sure what happened after that, but it wasn’t long before I was back in the Pilbara. I did a reconnaissance trip up to Newman in early March sometime.

    A few weeks later I was back up there doing a full level two (full fauna trapping) survey. I was up there for about three weeks- as well as the 2 weeks of trapping, I did a further week of targeted quoll trapping.

    No quolls and a single Olive python that I didn’t see. I still found a few species that I’d previously not seen.

    It was nice to FINALLY see a Pygmy Python.

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    pygmy python-1741 by Henry.Cook, on Flickr

    And it was nice to finally see a Caimanops (now Diporiphora).
    Lets just call them Mulga Dragons.

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    mulga dragon-1911 by Henry.Cook, on Flickr

    Similarly cool to finally see a Delma elegans as this species had also eluded me for sometime. A really pretty delma, with a really massive tail. Really huge- tails 3x SVL!

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    delma elegans-1527 by Henry.Cook, on Flickr


    If you’re keen to see what else I got (perenty, savage’s gecko, crenadactylus) the flickr album is here:

    East Pilbara - a set on Flickr


    I took a short break after this trip (I saved up some weekends working in the Pilbara) and ducked across the country to visit a friend in Western Qld. It was a short trip and amazingly I found a few herps I hadn’t seen…

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    asper-2285 by Henry.Cook, on Flickr

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    krisalys-2325 by Henry.Cook, on Flickr

    and a couple of other bits and pieces….

    Not long after I was back in the Pilbara, this time around Port Hedland. We were checking out some fairly ordinary country neat Port Hedland, but there was a bit of rock… and where theres rock there is Egernia. It was nice to see some nice pale Egernia epsisolus on a quartze ridgeline. Cool little animals.

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    epsisolus-2649 by Henry.Cook, on Flickr

    The whole lot of Epsisolus images can be seen here:
    Eastern Pilbara Spiny-tail Skink Egernia epsisolus - a set on Flickr

    in between I spent some money on myself and brought myself a fairly expensive camera lens. The Nikon 500mm f/4 VR lens weighs about 3.8 kgs and is a super fast focusing super-sharp beast. It’s just a pain to carry around. Had to buy an appropriate tripod as well….

    Here are my first results with it…..

    It made a bit of a difference. Here’s a shot from Herdsman Lake of a black swan. More or less full frame (no crop).

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    pp black swan-2714 by Henry.Cook, on Flickr

    And here’s the eye detail… of the same image.

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    Swan crop-2714 by Henry.Cook, on Flickr

    The old 80-400mm VR is much much rougher than the 500mm. But, admittedly, 5-7x the cost….

    A couple more image/detail pairings can be seen here:
    Long lens 1st results - a set on Flickr


    I had just enough time to get used to it’s weight and get a new camera bag when….. Kimberley Surveys!

    No new ticks unfortunately, but I did get to see some neat animals. It was great to see a whole lot of Strophurus mcmillani and some Crenadactylus.

    Also got a really cracking CTS!

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    cts-4795 by Henry.Cook, on Flickr

    And some neat pics of a Nephrurus sheai.

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    sheai theda-3899 by Henry.Cook, on Flickr

    But not a whole lot to write home about from that trip in terms of new things though. Still- it’s the Kimberley. Can’t complain about that can you?

    A word on the northern mammal declines. If you’re interested in this sort of stuff, you’ve probably heard about the Northern Mammals declines in northern Australia. Previously mammal-diverse areas like Kakadu were being trapping and places where you could once traps 20 species in three days (AMAZING) were yielding nothing. Noone was sure what was driving the change: cats/fire were the main suspects. Anyway, even the Kimberley is not immune: for a place that’s relatively untouched we’d never really caught that many mammals. Not the massive numbers that are published from the 70s and 80s.
    So this trip was different as this was the first time since I started on the surveys that we’ve started catching Rock Rat Zyzomys argurus in decent numbers. In fact, it’s the first time we’ve really caught any mammals in decent numbers. We’ve started spotlighting Ningbing Pseudantechinus on rock platforms and trapping countless Pale-field Rats, often away from swamps and water courses (where we typically get them). Previously our trapsites in five years trapping, had yielded a total of 3 Northern Brown Bandicoots. This year we got eight animals from two sites.
    Cause? Who knows, our trapping results weren’t mirrored a few hours drive south. It may be the natural boom sort of cycle that has been recorded in many Australian rodents. It may be destocking being carried out in some areas of Northern Kimberley. It may be the fantastic Ecofire project being spear-headed by AWC. It may be a combination of all of them. Lets hope these trends of mammal abundance continue.

    AWC and Ecofire project:
    AWC- AWC coordinates fire management over 5 million ha of the Kimberley - Australian Wildlife Conservancy


    The bulk of the decent photos I took on this trip are in this set here:

    Kimberley Images - a set on Flickr

    They’re a few from the previous year in there as well.

    Not long after I got back form the Kimberley (I think it was 2 days) I was back in the Pilbara for a 7-day trip. It was this trip that I’d decided to give myself a break from my gigantic lens and left it at home. Big mistake. Day 2: Pair of Grey Falcon. This was, at the time, fairly excruciating- owning a giant lens, umming and ahhing about taking it, then listening to the mocking laughter of your housemate when they say “I told you you should have taken it”….. No big deal though, I saw some later on (that’s to come).

    Not much to write home about. The site was out near Pannawonica which put me firmly in Egernia cygnitos country. Some of examination of the few rock outcrops in the area turned up these bad boys…

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    cygnitos-6437 by Henry.Cook, on Flickr

    The whole set of E. cygnitos images are here:
    Western Pilbara Spiny-tail Skink Egernia cygnitos - a set on Flickr

    I got back from that trip and soon after I found myself back in the Pilbara, this time on a dedicated quoll monitoring trip. I did take some quoll photos this trip, as well as some photos of the wonderful grey falcon. After not seeing these birds for years, doing roadtrips and surveys that repeatedly criss-crossed the country, I see three birds in the space of two weeks. Aside from the quolls and the falcon, not a whole lot else on that trip. Despite catching quite a few Common Rock Rats and plenty of Woolley’s Pseudantechinus I didn’t end up photographing either. As is often the case with these trips- it gets hard to find time to take a look at something that interests you. Especially if there are other animals still in traps (no break/breather is had til the traps are clear). Occasionally I was able to head to the nearest bore at dusk to photograph a million galahs coming in to drink, but otherwise it was pretty quiet. Not a lot of reptile activity- it was cool and wintry.

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    Grey Falcon-7725 by Henry.Cook, on Flickr

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    quoll-7528 by Henry.Cook, on Flickr

    heres the rest of the pics from that trip. Lots of galahs and clichéd outback images of windmills and stuff. Some wildlife.

    Pilbara, again. Near Nanutarra June July 2012 - a set on Flickr

    Not long after I decided to take my long lens on a trip. I headed down to Albany to test my luck on the rare and endangered birds in the area. It was cold and lovely.

    On the way out I stopped about an hour out of Perth near Brookton to search for the elusive Western Crested Shrike Tit. Success! Unlike the east coast, where they’re pretty common (I have them at my old house in western Sydney) they’re pretty uncommon and generally hard to locate. Lovely birds none the less and well worth the challenge.

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    tits-9267 by Henry.Cook, on Flickr

    more pics of them are here: Western Crested Shrike-tit - a set on Flickr

    I drank a lot of strong coffee and spent a lot of time watching thick impenetrable scrub for signs of bird life. Not a lot of luck in that respect but I see a whole lot of cool animals. The area east of Albany around Cheyne’s Beach and Two Peoples Bay is home to some very rare and special creatures. On the summit of the mountain at Two People’s Bay is the population of Gilbert’s Potoroo, a species once thought extinct. Now there are several island insurance populations of this species. The chances of seeing this species are non-existent. They stay on the mountain. Quokka are also present at night in the camp ground at Waychinnicup NP. Rottnest Island is most famous for their Quokkas. People forget that they used to occur all through SW WA.

    Also in the area area the listed Western Bristlebird. Another heath dweller, they are one of two Bristlebird species in SW WA, the other, the Rufous Bristlebird (western subsp) is extinct- bunrt out of whatever heath wasn’t cleared. The most infuriating species is the Noisy Scrubbird. It’s an ancient species bird, thought to be most closely related to the Lyrebird. They have a severely reduced clavicle (wishbone- it enables flight) so are practically flightless. Instead they scuttle around in incredibly dense heath. Without their ear-piercing call it’d be almost impossible to detect. This is probably the reason they were though extinct until rediscovered in 1961. Population at the time was thought to be between 45-60 birds.

    I spent about 2 hours waiting for a scrub bird to emerge from the heath on a creekline before I finally gave up (admittedly it had started raining- I would have waited longer). No bristlebirds were calling this trip either.

    I did get Southern Brown Bandicoot snuffling around my swag in the late afternoon.
    [​IMG]
    _DSC9637 by Henry.Cook, on Flickr

    …and it’s one of the few places you can reliably see wild mainland Quokka!

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    _DSC9396 by Henry.Cook, on Flickr

    I did get a reptile: Lerista microtis, hiding amongst the heath.

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    _DSC9868 by Henry.Cook, on Flickr

    here are all the photos from around the Albany region I took that trip (there’s lots of robins, cockies and wrens):

    Albany run. - a set on Flickr

    At some point the Australian Geographic 2013 A4 Desk Diary went on sale. I am one of the contributing photographers for that one. I’m pretty proud of that!

    A few weeks later I was back in Port Hedland for another Quoll gig. Targeted trapping and this time we caught a few.

    Highlight of this trip was not the quolls, despite catching a few. It was, instead, getting a sea-snake! Admittedly we were looking at the wading birds. They’re pretty cool animals (I’m a fan of migratory birds :p)… they started mobbing a sea snake that was slowly moving over the sand bar. This turned out to be Dobois’ Sea Snake. One of the most venomous species on earth. Apparently when they come to shore they’re close to death, but after some examining it I stuck it back in the water and it swam off fairly strongly.

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    _DSC0573 by Henry.Cook, on Flickr


    The rest of the photos are here (no quolls or herps, only birds):

    Port Hedland Quolls 2012 - a set on Flickr


    Not long after I had another trip to the Pilbara for a week and a half (or so). One of the areas I was visiting is adjacent (as in adjoining) Karijini NP. The area was just drying out so there was tremendous bird activity around water holes. Thousands of budgies were flocking and wheeling through the sky. I love budgies and I love flocking birds. It was a great time for me.

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    _DSC1837 by Henry.Cook, on Flickr

    I also got a nice Mengden’s Brown Pseudonaja mengdeni trying to sneak it’s way back down a soil crack.

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    _DSC2155 by Henry.Cook, on Flickr

    And we were lucky to head over to Hamersley Gorge at the end of long hot nasty days (if we’d finished early.)

    Here’s what you potential Pilbara tourists are missing out on!

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    _DSC1634 by Henry.Cook, on Flickr

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    _DSC1648 by Henry.Cook, on Flickr

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    _DSC2297 by Henry.Cook, on Flickr


    Really, if you want to see a HEAP of budgie flock photos- the gallery is here:
    Adjacent Karijini NP - a set on Flickr



    After that trip I had a bit of a break- My friend and I decided that a proper herp trip was in order so in three days we drove to Shark Bay and back.

    The threads about the trip can be seen here:

    Australian Reptile Forum:
    A quick weekend away: Perth to Shark Bay

    Field Herp Forum:
    Field Herp Forum • View topic - A quick weekender: Perth to Shark Bay (Australia)

    And all the images from the trip are here:
    Shark Bay: Mainly Fauna - a set on Flickr


    And just a few weeks later BAM… I was back up there. I volunteered with AWC for 2 weeks on Faure Island to help out with their fauna monitoring program.

    It was while we were driving up that the ANZANG 2012 Photo competition winners were announced: I was lucky enough to win two prizes! This was definitely a highlight of the year. I recieved runner up in the “Animal Portrait” category and won the “Endangered Species” category. I was really just happy to be published in the book (you find out this in advance when they ask for hi-res images). I never thought I’d win anything. An added bonus was my runner up gecko image was absolutely flogged in all the marketing material for ANZANG. It’s been in quite a few magazines (Australian Geographic, COSMOS and a few newspapers) and was on a billboard outside the SA Museum.
    Here are the two that got the nod.

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    Stroph spini-7490 by Henry.Cook, on Flickr

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    Dasyurus hallucatus-7017 by Henry.Cook, on Flickr

    I was stoked to hear about the win, but much more excited to head to Faure Island!

    Faure Island is about 4000 hectares and sits in the protected waters of shark Bay. Dugongs and turtles (green turtles) are present in the waters surrounding the island and the single massive tide each day keeps things interesting. If you’re lucky apparently Dugong will swim right past the headland. Turtles are also often nearyby. Faure was previously used for farming: several hundred sheep once called the island home. Now it’s mainly low acacia scrub, buffel grass (weed) and sand dunes.
    Now, after the successful removal of feral goats and feral cats, four species of threatened wildlife have been introduced. The most apparent species are Boodies or Burrowing Bettongs Bettongia lesueur that have pock-marked the island with they’re warrens. They’re an amazing species- a little macropod that digs burrows. Also on the island are the much less apparent Shark Bay Mouse Pseudomys fieldi, the extremely rare and unique Banded Hare-wallaby and the extremely cute Western Barred Bandicoot.

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    Bettongia leseuer-6186 by Henry.Cook, on Flickr

    Native to the island is a selection of Shark Bay reptile fauna. Large elapids have not made it to the island- elapids are represent by two species of Simoselaps.

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    Simoselaps littoralis-6153 by Henry.Cook, on Flickr

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    Simoselaps bertholdi-5364 by Henry.Cook, on Flickr

    These burrowing species are primarily feed on the dominant reptile fauna on the island: Burrowing skinks of the genus Lerista. There are 8 species of Lerista recorded on the island- high diversity for such a small area, especially considering the landscape is fairly uniform and lerista species occupy relatively similar niches. There are also several gecko species and a single python: the Stimsons Python.

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    Lerista connivens-5320 by Henry.Cook, on Flickr

    Trapping and spotlighting was fairly standard- full mammal traps every site we trapped for Boodies: they’re trap happy and seem to understand that a free meal is worth the night in the cage. We also trapped a few Western Barred Bandicoots and Shark Bay Mice. Populations seem healthy for all species trapped. We even spotlit a few Banded Hare-wallabys. They’re quite nervous and don’t go into traps (probably more accurately, don’t beat the boodies into traps).

    Here are a few images to do my bit for tourism in the Shark Bay area. I don’t think you guys need too much convincing….

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    Beautiful Shark Bay colours-5375 by Henry.Cook, on Flickr

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    Varanus gouldi-4888 by Henry.Cook, on Flickr

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    untitled-5795 by Henry.Cook, on Flickr

    After that things slowed down a bit for me. A short trip over to the east left little time for adventures around WA.

    However, when I returned I was the only one left in the office who wasn’t due to be in the field in the following weeks. The task of retrieving the company remote site caravan from near Nanutarra fell onto me, so I was to drive up to Nanutarra, collect it and deliver it to Kalgoorlie.

    Did someone say ROADTRIP?!?

    No they didn’t. I was on my own for this one, my only company, the radio and my camera.
    To keep my mind on something other than the job of driving several thousand kilometres I set myself little goals. The trip birdlist was an obvious one. How many species I could record, stopping at likely places to get some hard to get species.
    Country out near Nanutarra.

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    roadtrip-9259 by Henry.Cook, on Flickr

    It was gruelling and over-the-top. I did 4022kms in 6 days. Most of which was dragging a massive caravan. I went up the coast from Perth to Carnarvon, then North to Nanutarra where I picked up the caravan (more or less). Then I headed south again to Carnarvon and then towards Geraldton. I then headed inland towards Mount Gibson Station to have a half day break and see my friends who were doing some fauna surveys there. I also wanted to see the Scarlet-chested Parrots that had been seen in the area a few days beforehand.

    I picked up a mob of new birds for my list, caught a big fat mulga snake and saw stick nest rats (they have predator proof enclosure there).

    Storm heading out to Mount Gibson- this one later stung me a few days later…

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    roadtrip-9394 by Henry.Cook, on Flickr


    Mulga Snake!

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    roadtrip-9435 by Henry.Cook, on Flickr

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    roadtrip-9503 by Henry.Cook, on Flickr

    Renewed, I set off again, heading north through Pseudechis butleri country in hope of finding one on the road. I’m fairly convinced that caravan owners are masochists that wish to punish themselves. You can’t turn them around and stopping take AGES. It was horrible. To see a large dark snake on the road, slow down to a stop, jump out and run back, only to discover it was long gone- really demoralising. Lots of spotted nightjars on the road though- add it to the list!

    Camped near Sandstone that night after a beer in the pub with the locals.

    The drive to Kalgooorlie was uneventful, but I finally got to dump the hated caravan for the drive back to Perth. Initially I though I’d drive back via Lake Cronin, but a massive storm that had just dumped 100mm in the area discouraged me. Getting stuck out there alone might be a less than sensible move on my part. Instead I decided to take it easy and check out the roadside on the road to Southern Cross. Two new species for me: Strophurus assimilis and Lucasium maini. As I pulled over to sleep it started raining. Not wanting to get my swag wet (it’s not so waterproof anymore), I slept in the car. The one time it would have been handy to have the caravan… It was a nasty nights sleep.

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    roadtrip-9643 by Henry.Cook, on Flickr


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    roadtrip-9649 by Henry.Cook, on Flickr

    Drove back to Perth the next day. I was sick of driving by then…

    Images from the road trip are here:

    Roadtrip across WA. - a set on Flickr

    Not long afterwards my housemates’ parents came to visit. Not wanting to be in my tiny house while 2 extra people made everything a bit more cramped, I left and drove back out to the Southern Goldfields/Northern Wheatbelt. Yes, back at Mount Gibson. I have unfinished business with the Spotted Mulga Snake that lives just nearby. I planned to road drive a bit and see if I could find and photograph one.

    I’ll kill the suspense now. FAIL.

    I did however see a few other cool creatures that live in that anus-of-the-earth that is the goldfields (in hindsight, this is unfair. It’s not Coober Pedy).

    Three minutes spotting near Payne’s Find netted three geckos I’d never eye-shined before.
    [​IMG]
    untitled-0110 by Henry.Cook, on Flickr

    Jewelled Geckos are pretty awesome and a great way to start the night.
    I followed it up by finding a sub-species I’d never found before….

    The nominate race of the Banded Knobtail Gecko N.w. wheeleri.

    [​IMG]
    untitled-0132 by Henry.Cook, on Flickr

    And right next to them (I found two wheeleri) I found another Nephrurus.
    [​IMG]
    untitled-0150 by Henry.Cook, on Flickr
    Vertebralis is a handsome species.

    There were a heap of other geckos out and about but the only one I bothered photographing was Lucasium squarrosum.

    [​IMG]
    untitled-0188 by Henry.Cook, on Flickr

    Nothing else that night.

    It pays to get up early. All the quick and cunning things are still sleepy. The temps were surprisingly cool so I had no trouble getting this Black-headed Monitor to pose.
    [​IMG]
    untitled-9788 by Henry.Cook, on Flickr

    Also got hold of Ctenotus severus but I’m not sure where the photos are. I thought I’d uploaded them…

    All the photos (more of the geckos, goannas, some birds and a handsome grasshopper) can be seen in this gallery here:

    Goldfields and Northern Wheatbelt - a set on Flickr

    I then drove back to Perth…

    A few days later a big storm rolled into Perth. Stinking hot day, storm rolling in… We all know what’s coming.

    I went driving roads in the hills with a work mate who, despite being interested, hadn’t really done much herping around this place he’d just moved (I KNOW- IT BOGGLES THE MIND). It frustrated me that that that night we got two of the more difficult species to track down. The magnificent Southern Death Adder…

    [​IMG]
    adder-0329 by Henry.Cook, on Flickr

    album of photos here:
    adder-0321 | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

    …and the rather impressive (and aptly named) FAT BLIND SNAKE Ramphotyphlops pinguis. I’d done a bit of driving and never come across one of these. They are a massive species, apparently feeding on the larger ant species like Bulldog Ants (Mymecidae).

    [​IMG]
    Pinguis-0374 by Henry.Cook, on Flickr



    Rockclimbing is another interest of mine and in the days before Christmas I was able to combine herping and climbing.

    Margaret River has some pretty cool places to climb, both sandwiched between National Park (or in National Park) and the Indian Ocean. On a visit to a limestone crag known as “bob’s hollow” I found a Crowned Snake Elapognathus coronatus on the way in. When we arrived one of the resident carpet pythons had emerged to bask. Apparently they’re pretty common in the cliff and are seen semi-regularly. Pretty cool!

    [​IMG]
    Elapognathus coronatus-0734 by Henry.Cook, on Flickr

    [​IMG]
    Morelia spilota-0495 by Henry.Cook, on Flickr

    Bobs Hollow Crag
    [​IMG]
    Bob's Hollow-0759 by Henry.Cook, on Flickr


    And that about rounds out the year… I flew back to the east coast for Christmas with the family.

    The start of 2013 was much less intense, but still herpetologically stressful. I’ll write that up next year.

    HERPING IS FUN!


    Henry
     
    Snapped likes this.
  2. mitchR1

    mitchR1 Active Member

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    Wow. That's all really. That's amazing. Your a lucky person. Especially to see the elusive aye-aye. Very jealous of that in particular.

    Cant wait for your 2013 in review
     
  3. saratoga

    saratoga Well-Known Member

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    Amazing post, incredible images...loved every bit of it
     
  4. ronhalling

    ronhalling Subscriber Subscriber

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    What a gr8 ride Nephrurus thank you for that brilliant tour, no wonder your photography wins prizes it is amazing.............................Ron
     
  5. Zipidee

    Zipidee Active Member

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    That is amazing. Great pics. :eek:
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 27, 2013
  6. Bushman

    Bushman Very Well-Known Member

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    WOW! This is a wonderful post Henry. Feel free to self indulge in this way anytime! :D
    Your photography really is first class. Excellent work. 8)
     
  7. JasonL

    JasonL Almost Legendary

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    You should really stop wasting your life.... Go get a real job!
     
  8. richoman_3

    richoman_3 Very Well-Known Member

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    amazing henry!
    blind snake and lerista were my fave!
     
  9. smithson

    smithson Well-Known Member

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    Wow I want to do that oneday love your work
     
  10. Shotta

    Shotta Very Well-Known Member

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    wow gorgeous animals and stunning pics
    thanks for sharing
     
  11. Bananapeel

    Bananapeel Subscriber Subscriber

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    Stunning photos mate. And some cracking animals! Love everyone of them. Can't pic a favourite! Scenery is beautiful too! Can't get over them!
     
  12. Zipidee

    Zipidee Active Member

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    Amazing photographs. Mind blowing stuff. :eek:
     
  13. Melzey

    Melzey Active Member

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    Nice!! :)
     
  14. borntobnude

    borntobnude Guest

    I think you should head over to the describe your day in 3 words thread !!!!!

    I am under the assumption that you would find this slightly dificult :lol:
    or just ------------Unreal another day !
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 27, 2013
  15. Pilbarensis

    Pilbarensis Active Member

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    Looks like you had a pretty good year then.
     
  16. Nephrurus

    Nephrurus Very Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the kind words guys. It's nice to get some positive feedback! My housemate is usually so negative ;-)

    I didn't really think much of the previous year until I sat down and looked back through my images to see quite a few cool shots from some neat places. You end up so busy it rolls into a big blur, until you go back through your pics and suddenly it all floods back.

    The trip through madagascar was definitely a highlight. Four intense weeks of herping, birding and mammalling. Lots of getting up early and staying out til late. Also getting soaked from storms. All part of the fun right? If you've got a bit of money to drop on a herping holiday I highly recommend it.

    i'll try to continue posting a bit more this next few months. I need to get back in the swing of it all.

    -Henry
     
  17. moloch05

    moloch05 Well-Known Member

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    Wonderful photography, Henry. Your shots are always so good.

    I would love to see Madagascar with its strange and beautiful animals. The geckos these are really incredible.

    Regards,
    David
     
  18. PieBald

    PieBald Well-Known Member

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  19. Endeavour

    Endeavour Well-Known Member

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    It never ceases to amaze me the quality of the contributions we get on this forum. Just superb mate that's all I can say.


    Kindest regards

    Endeavour
     
  20. Dragonwolf

    Dragonwolf Well-Known Member

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    I remember Hammersley Gorge.... was there in 1988. Beautiful.
    Thanks for sharing your spectacular photos.
     

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