Pics from South Australia Trip 2 -- Broken Hill/Fowler's Gap

Discussion in 'Field Herping and Reptile Studies' started by moloch05, Jan 29, 2009.

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  1. moloch05

    moloch05 Well-Known Member

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    On the way to/from South Australia, I camped near Fowler's Gap along the Broken Hill to Tibooburra road in far northwestern New South Wales. This area is about a 15 hour drive from Wollongong so it is a good place to spend the night. The habitat here is incredibly bleak with many gibber flats (flats covered with small stones) and only low growing shrubs except along creek beds.

    Here are a few habitat shots starting from the Broken Hill area in the south and ranging north into the drier country near Fowler's Gap.

    I found two Gould's Monitors (Varanus gouldii) in this sort of habitat just a short distance north of Broken Hill. Here, along dry creek beds, there were a few eucalyptus trees.
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    Bluebush was the dominant shrub along the drive north Broken Hill.
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    The road passed near rocky hillsides. This is the habitat where I found several Ctenotus skinks (photos below) as well as many feral goats.
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    ... very desolate country:
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    ... gibber flats were frequent near Fowler's Gap:
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    I visited this road a few years ago and found many geckos. Once again, it was productive and I saw many geckos by night and a few skinks/monitors by day.

    This is the only place where I have ever seen Gibber Geckos (Lucasium brynei). This species has a farily large distribution in inland NSW, SA and QLD but I have never encountered it elsewhere even though I have been in different parts of its range on a number of occasions. In this area, Gibber Geckos were the most common reptile on the road at night. These are photos of some of the Gibber Geckos that I saw on my two night drives. There was a fair amount of variation in colour and pattern among these geckos.
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    ... these little geckos will run rapidly a few meters then crouch like this. They blend well and are very easy to loose at night.
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    Tessellated Geckos (Diplodactylis tessellatus) were also common, especially in bluebush and gibber habitats. I only photographed two individuals.
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    I saw three of the nicely marked Box-patterned Geckos (Lucasium steindachneri) and photographed two of these (the third vanished when I briefly looked at the settings on my camera).
    ... gecko 1
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    ... gecko 2
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    I saw a single gravid Beaked Gecko (Rhynchoedura ornata).
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    I also encountered a single Gehyra variegata (no photo) and this Prickly Gecko (Heteronotia binoei):
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    This Broad-banded Sand-Swimmer (Eremiascincus richardsonii) was found on a dirt track at night. This skink is crepuscular or nocturnal.
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    I only found a single snake, this small Australian Coral Snake (Brachyurophis australis). It is another one of the burrowing, reptile egg specialists.
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    These big crickets were fairly common on the road:
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    This Gould's Monitor (Varanus gouldii) was initially on the road but then ran and attempted to hide in the low growing shrubs. Monitors often respond like this and attempt to blend with what cover is available:
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    ... the monitor shifted a meter or so and then leaned into a shrub to try and disappear:
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    ... I moved slowly and the monitor relaxed. It seemed to doze a little while I took these photos:
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    ... a cute face:
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    I was able to photograph two Ctenotus skinks. I think that both are Eastern Barred Wedgesnouts (Ctenotus strauchii) although there are other similar species here.
    ... skink 1
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    ... skink 2
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    I saw several Shinglebacks (Tiliqua rugosa) including this darkly coloured, grumpy one:
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    ... and a younger animal:
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    Regards,
    David
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2009
  2. Shannon

    Shannon Well-Known Member

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    Awesome shots - thanks for sharing!!!
     
  3. borntobnude

    borntobnude Guest

    yet again great photos david and tes your still having way too much fun --- keep it up:cry:
     
  4. wizz

    wizz Well-Known Member

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    great pics......herping is like sex you just need to do it all the time.....
     
  5. moloch05

    moloch05 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks, all.

    Here are a few more pics.

    Gibber Gecko:
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    Box-patterned Gecko:
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    Tessellated Gecko:
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    Shingleback:
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    Gould's Monitor:
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    Regards,
    David
     
  6. xScarlettex

    xScarlettex Active Member

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    im from broken hill!! i used to get those geckos on my windows all the time =)
     
  7. LauraM

    LauraM Well-Known Member

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    man i love australia :D:D:D great pictures .. man thats one ugly cricket
     
  8. W.T.BUY

    W.T.BUY Guest

    hey did you see any "Ctenphorus" or any other dragons
     
  9. Smithers

    Smithers Very Well-Known Member

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    Awesome cricket,...looks more colourful than some of the stick insects we have in Oz
     
  10. dougie210

    dougie210 Very Well-Known Member

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    good pics!! Wish i found stuff like that when i go herping lol
     
  11. moloch05

    moloch05 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks, all.

    W.T.Buy,
    I have been to that area three times now and have never seen a Ctenophorus. I have seen Tympanocryptis but my impression is that it is not sandy enough for the widespread Ctenophorus dragons and not suitable rocky habitat for the rock-dragons. A little to the east at Mutawintji, I have seen both Central Netted and Tawny Dragons:
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    This Central Netted was near Gundabooka:
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    dougie210,
    I think that where you live would be more productive than here. I would love to see pics of the Neelaps/Simoselaps/Brachyurophis from your area.


    Regards,
    David
     
  12. -Matt-

    -Matt- Suspended Banned

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    Great pictures! thanks for sharing, I would love to get out and see country side like that and also see the herps that inhabit those areas.
     
  13. Sdaji

    Sdaji APS Veteran APS Veteran

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    Great pictures again, David :)

    I've seen the Byrne's geckoes in that area, and a bit south of there. The steindachneri in that area are the best ones I've seen, absolutely gorgeous! I posted some pictures of a couple from just south of Fowler's Gap a couple of years ago. They're lovely and red around there. I'm surprised you've never seen a Ctenophorus in the area; they're so common! Mallee Dragons are extremely numerous everywhere you get Spinifex (although I suppose you don't get Spinifex in that area, you need to go a fair bit south of Broken Hill or a long way west) and Painted Dragons aren't rare. Did you go into the research facility at Fowler's Gap? They have a list of reptiles known in the immediate area. I have a copy of it somewhere in this room, in a large pile of paperwork :p

    Very jealous of the Coral Snake! I've never seen one anywhere near there!

    It's a great area, thanks for posting the pictures :)
     
  14. caustichumor

    caustichumor Very Well-Known Member

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    Great photo's as always, looking at that terrain you could get a job at NASA, I reckon you could find life on MARS...
     
  15. buffy

    buffy Not so new Member

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    David - you guys have done it again -
    "Great Pics" and making us all wish that we were there"
    keep smiling.
     
  16. moloch05

    moloch05 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks, all.

    Sdaji,
    Here is a link to the reptiles of Fowler's Gap:
    http://www.fowlersgap.unsw.edu.au/pdf/Reptile_guide_fg.pdf

    I also have seen Mallee Dragons south of Broken Hill but not north in this bleak country. Not certain why I have not encountered Painted since the habitat, especially the shrublands a little north of Broken Hill, look like good habitat. The Fowler's Gap checklist does include Central Netted Dragons so they must be there.

    You are correct about the steindachneri ... they really are beautiful in that part of NSW.

    What Ctenotus did you see from this area? There are a number of species on the checklist.


    Regards,
    David
     
  17. Sdaji

    Sdaji APS Veteran APS Veteran

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    That's the one I have a hard copy of :) I think Painted Dragons would be the Ctenophorus I've seen closest to Fowler's Gap, although I can't recall exact locations. There certainly does look to be a lot of good habitat for them in a lot of that area. I don't doubt Central Netteds are in the area, but I haven't seen them.

    How do you manage to do so much herping? I wish I could get away as often as you do!
     
  18. ShnakeyGirl

    ShnakeyGirl Well-Known Member

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    Love that Gould's- beautiful creatures, magnificent pics as always
     
  19. Kynance

    Kynance New Member

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    Stunning pics - wow - you have great skill there!
     
  20. moloch05

    moloch05 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks very much, ShnakeyGirl and Kynance. I am glad that you enjoyed the report.

    Regards,
    David
     
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