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moloch05

Well-Known Member
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.



Bluebush was the dominant shrub along the drive north Broken Hill.


The road passed near rocky hillsides. This is the habitat where I found several Ctenotus skinks (photos below) as well as many feral goats.





... very desolate country:





... gibber flats were frequent near Fowler's Gap:





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.











... these little geckos will run rapidly a few meters then crouch like this. They blend well and are very easy to loose at night.



Tessellated Geckos (Diplodactylis tessellatus) were also common, especially in bluebush and gibber habitats. I only photographed two individuals.





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






... gecko 2





I saw a single gravid Beaked Gecko (Rhynchoedura ornata).





I also encountered a single Gehyra variegata (no photo) and this Prickly Gecko (Heteronotia binoei):





This Broad-banded Sand-Swimmer (Eremiascincus richardsonii) was found on a dirt track at night. This skink is crepuscular or nocturnal.





I only found a single snake, this small Australian Coral Snake (Brachyurophis australis). It is another one of the burrowing, reptile egg specialists.





These big crickets were fairly common on the road:



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:



... the monitor shifted a meter or so and then leaned into a shrub to try and disappear:



... I moved slowly and the monitor relaxed. It seemed to doze a little while I took these photos:



... a cute face:




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






... skink 2





I saw several Shinglebacks (Tiliqua rugosa) including this darkly coloured, grumpy one:





... and a younger animal:




Regards,
David
 
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borntobnude

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

wizz

Well-Known Member
great pics......herping is like sex you just need to do it all the time.....
 

moloch05

Well-Known Member
Thanks, all.

Here are a few more pics.

Gibber Gecko:



Box-patterned Gecko:



Tessellated Gecko:



Shingleback:



Gould's Monitor:



Regards,
David
 

Smithers

Very Well-Known Member
Awesome cricket,...looks more colourful than some of the stick insects we have in Oz
 

moloch05

Well-Known Member
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:





This Central Netted was near Gundabooka:



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
 

-Matt-

Suspended
Banned
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.
 

Sdaji

Almost Legendary
APS Veteran
Trusted Seller
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 :)
 

caustichumor

Very Well-Known Member
Great photo's as always, looking at that terrain you could get a job at NASA, I reckon you could find life on MARS...
 

buffy

Not so new Member
David - you guys have done it again -
"Great Pics" and making us all wish that we were there"
keep smiling.
 

moloch05

Well-Known Member
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
 

Sdaji

Almost Legendary
APS Veteran
Trusted Seller
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

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!
 

moloch05

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

Regards,
David
 
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