Herping in the Kimberley

Discussion in 'Field Herping and Reptile Studies' started by GeckPhotographer, Jul 10, 2012.

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  1. GeckPhotographer

    GeckPhotographer Very Well-Known Member

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    Recently I spent 3 weeks volunteering in the Eastern Kimberley with a scientific project radio tracking monitors, both Varanus panoptes and Varanus mertensi. The research was being conducted at El Questro Station a popular tourist destination in the East Kimberley and involved many different aspects.

    It was an awesome 3 weeks and I found and helped find many reptiles, frogs and most importantly (data wise) monitors with radio backpacks.
    Unfortunately because of the time consumption of doing the actual research/work I didn't have much time to photograph everything and the pictures I took were generally things I A) Desperately wanted to photograph. or B) Just happened to find at a time I had a bit of free time.

    So for those who don't like reading/don't care here's some pretty pictures. I'll update this thread a few times cause I haven't had time to organize all the pictures yet.

    I'm going to start at what for me was the absolute highest point of the trip, more or less the reason I went there was because I was absolutely dieing to see a Kimberley Rock Monitor in the wild, while I saw 2 early on deep in crevices it wasn't till nearly the last day I was lucky enough too see the most beautiful monitor in the world out basking (and shortly later in my hand, with all the appropriate licenses to do so of course)
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    Varanus glauerti by Stephen Mahony, on Flickr
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    Varanus glauerti by Stephen Mahony, on Flickr
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    Varanus glauerti by Stephen Mahony, on Flickr
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    Varanus glauerti by Stephen Mahony, on Flickr

    A second high point was a frog that is being researched (by another team) up there. These guys are absolutely beautiful but weren't actually my favourite frog of the trip.
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    Litoria splendida by Stephen Mahony, on Flickr
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    Litoria splendida by Stephen Mahony, on Flickr
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    Litoria splendida by Stephen Mahony, on Flickr

    This has to be just about the prettiest Skink I have ever seen. We caught 2 in pit traps but unfortunately the one with an original tail got away, me not realizing they are exceptional sand swimmers as well.
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    Morethia ruficauda by Stephen Mahony, on Flickr

    A skink I had seen before but not photographed, I will still have to photograph the other sub-species (which was the one I'd seen already).
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    Notoscincus ornatus by Stephen Mahony, on Flickr
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    Notoscincus ornatus by Stephen Mahony, on Flickr

    Now one of the best find of the trip for me, a snake that most people get bored of, the 'serious' herpers look at as rubbish and which occurs in next to every garden in most of Qld, yet I had never seen before.
    Tdah! my first Keelback, a ripper at nearly 10cm long. :p
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    Tropidonophis mairii by Stephen Mahony, on Flickr
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    Tropidonophis mairii by Stephen Mahony, on Flickr

    This guy was caught for data (although they don't radio track them) but I managed to grab some quick (2hrs to get 3 pictures) snaps one cool morning at camp. (The headshot I actually managed to get while sneaking up to grab him).
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    Varanus mitchelli by Stephen Mahony, on Flickr
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    Varanus mitchelli by Stephen Mahony, on Flickr
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    Varanus mitchelli by Stephen Mahony, on Flickr

    And a Mammal but no less an awesome Mammal! I have a soft spot for the Dasyurids of Australia especially Antechinus, so seeing a species of Pseudantechinus was a treat for me.
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    Pseudantechinus ningbing by Stephen Mahony, on Flickr



    As I said before I will update this when I get around to processing more photos (cropping, naming and tagging takes so long I can barely imagine the time taken those that actually edit the picture).

    Hope you enjoy.

    Stephen!
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2012
  2. Mo-Cheynei

    Mo-Cheynei Well-Known Member

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    Some awsome pics!
     
  3. moussaka

    moussaka Active Member

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    Great photos, and sounds like a fantastic trip! May I ask whose project you were working for?
     
  4. Waterrat

    Waterrat Almost Legendary

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    Stunning! Keep them coming please.
     
  5. abnrmal91

    abnrmal91 Very Well-Known Member

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    Great pics and sounds like you had a great experience helping catch all different herps.
     
  6. GeckPhotographer

    GeckPhotographer Very Well-Known Member

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    Thanks guys, was one of the most awesome trips I've been on. Would've topped it off if there were a few more geckos, but there's always next time.

    The project is a collaboration between a number of Universities. More or less it could be said that the main person who started the project was Sean Doody, with Colin McHenry and Simon Clulow also being pretty important in running parts of the project (I.e. Simon Clulow is studying the Magnificent Tree Frogs). The projects also linked strongly with the Stop The Toad Foundation and most/all of the research is linked to understanding toad impact on the fauna.
     
  7. moussaka

    moussaka Active Member

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    Sounds fantastic! :D
     
  8. Nephrurus

    Nephrurus Very Well-Known Member

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    Was this in conjunction with the wildlife survey trip up at El Questro, or was this sometime after?
    Looks like you did pretty well. The month I spent up there earlier this year was very ordinary from about the 17th May onwards. It seemed to get very cold and we got very few reptiles. I'll most up pics of the trip eventually.

    Did you get any Northern knob-tails?
     
  9. abnrmal91

    abnrmal91 Very Well-Known Member

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    We found two when I was in Arnhem land in May, they are awesome to find in the wild :)
     
  10. saratoga

    saratoga Well-Known Member

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    Beautiful images Stephen and that Rock Monitor really is fantastic.

    Are the toads at El Questro yet?... I suppose obviously not if you're still tracking panoptes. Can't be too far away.
     
  11. Tassie97

    Tassie97 Very Well-Known Member

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    i wondered where you were, great pics as usual!
     
  12. GeckPhotographer

    GeckPhotographer Very Well-Known Member

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    Thanks everyone I appreciate the nice comments towards the photography, I should have some more pictures up tomorrow.


    This is the same people involved in the AusGeo trips to El Questro and they have been doing wildlife surveys, however the wildlife surveys have all been in the riparian area and the people involved believe the species list could be extended considerably if the ridges etc were more extensively done. This trip was in the last 3 weeks.

    We didn't get any Northern Knob-tails only had very minimal time to look in the right habitat and weren't lucky, they have not been recorded on the station.

    They are on parts of the station, more or less as far as Emma Gorge and likely to move through the rest of the station the coming wet season.
     
  13. moloch05

    moloch05 Well-Known Member

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    Lovely shots, Stephen. You found many interesting species and have great photos of these.

    Regards,
    David
     
  14. Kitah

    Kitah Subscriber Subscriber

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    Nice photos as always! Love that first monitor- great markings and colour thats for sure. Such a slender looking species!
     
  15. Bushman

    Bushman Very Well-Known Member

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    Good stuff!

    You've taken some great photos there Stephen. 8)
    I especially like the Varanus glauerti shots and the close-up of Litoria splendida.
    Keep up the good work mate.
     
  16. $NaKe PiMp

    $NaKe PiMp Very Well-Known Member

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    wow i can see why your so happy about Varanus glauerti.
    What an amazing monitor.
     
  17. SteveNT

    SteveNT Very Well-Known Member

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    Great suff mate. Those fire tailed skinks are quite common in sandstone country right across the top end. But only for those who can sit still and wait. The varanus rocks (I reckon there are still a few to come from Arnhem Land and the bottom of the Gulf). Thanks GP.
     
  18. mad_at_arms

    mad_at_arms Very Well-Known Member

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    *sighs*

    Nice shots as always.
     
  19. GeckPhotographer

    GeckPhotographer Very Well-Known Member

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    I promised more pics and you get more pictures (though haven't got the centipedes up yet)


    A freshwater crocodile, we found lots of these doing our croc surveys at night where we went slowly along the rivers in a boat counting croc eye shine and estimating size.
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    Crocodylus johnstoni by Stephen Mahony, on Flickr
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    Crocodylus johnstoni by Stephen Mahony, on Flickr
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    Crocodylus johnstoni by Stephen Mahony, on Flickr


    Now some of our amphibian friends


    The most common frog in El Questro
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    Crinia bilingua by Stephen Mahony, on Flickr
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    Crinia bilingua by Stephen Mahony, on Flickr


    The Upes were fairly common too, and while some of the lithomoda were easy to ID I have a headache left over from trying to determine whether some were lithomoda or borealis or even any trachyderma...
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    Uperoleia lithomoda by Stephen Mahony, on Flickr


    This frog occurs more or less in my back yard, yet apparently I had to go all the way to the Kimberley to take photos of one...
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    Platyplectrum ornatum by Stephen Mahony, on Flickr


    Not as colourful as their eastern counterparts but these frogs are still really cool, and if you have a chance to handle them in the wild it becomes glaringly obvious why they are called melanoscaphus.
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    Notaden melanoscaphus by Stephen Mahony, on Flickr
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    Notaden melanoscaphus by Stephen Mahony, on Flickr


    I didn't really get good pictures of this species, but I figure I might be best off waiting to get pictures of one calling anyway.
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    Litoria rothi by Stephen Mahony, on Flickr


    While I have seen them before in plenty of numbers these guys were still my favourite frog for the trip. I just can't get over their awesome colours, jumping on water and huddling together in giant masses on rocks. If it weren't for daviesae, and subglandulosa these could almost work their way into my favourite tree frog spot.
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    Litoria meiriana by Stephen Mahony, on Flickr


    A frog ubiquitous with the arid zone and the top end I try and photograph these whenever the chance presents itself.
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    Litoria rubella by Stephen Mahony, on Flickr
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    Litoria rubella by Stephen Mahony, on Flickr


    Go to a rockhole in the Eastern Kimberley (and much of the top end) and you look correctly, day or night these guys are almost always around. We found heaps of them on the trip but they are nice frogs no less for their commonness.
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    Litoria coplandi by Stephen Mahony, on Flickr


    And a pretty dodgy shot of a frog that I found surprisingly hard to find, seeing as they were on every pandanus in Kakadu when I visited the low density here was surprising.
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    Litoria bicolor by Stephen Mahony, on Flickr


    A nice frog that unfortunately I was only able to get one quick photo of.
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    Limnodynastes convexiusculus by Stephen Mahony, on Flickr


    And because I like them so much, lets finish with a Gecko! These guys look much prettier in real life, even if no comparison to the Katherine form.
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    Strophurus ciliaris by Stephen Mahony, on Flickr
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    Strophurus ciliaris by Stephen Mahony, on Flickr

    More shots still to come, sorry about taking so long to upload them.

    Thanks heaps for all the compliments, I really appreciate them.
    -Stephen
     
  20. dickyknee

    dickyknee Almost Legendary

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    Great set of pics Stephen , looks like a good trip .
     
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