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moloch05

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This has been a good year so far for finding reptiles in Wollongong. Overall, the weather has been cool and fairly wet, but there have been enough warm days mixed in to bring out the snakes and lizards.

Here are a few shots of Wollongong and the surrounding areas where I search. Wollongong is a long, narrow city that is squeezed between the South Pacific Ocean to the east and an escarpment to the west. Wet eucalyptus forest is the dominant habitat type in the hills with patches of sub-tropical rainforest growing in some of the protected gullies.

… looking north towards Royal National Park. Although not visible in this photo, the towers of Sydney can be seen on a clear day.
habitat11.jpg



… Wollongong.
habitat12.jpg



… escarpment a little south of Wollongong.
habitat5.jpg


habitat8.jpg


habitat15.jpg



There are old and overgrown tracks along much of the escarpment. Many of these were built decades ago to extract Red Cedar (tall tree right of centre). There were once many giants of this species in the area but most were harvested for timber long ago.
habitat7.jpg



An abandoned house … with lots of tin and other debris. There is always something of interest here.
habitat18.jpg



A creek ... habitat of Eastern Water Skinks (Eulamprus quoyii), Weasel Skinks (Saproscincus mustelinus), Grass Skinks (Lampropholis delicata), Eastern Water Dragons (Physignathus lesueurii) and Red-bellied Blacksnakes (Pseudechis porphyriacus).
habitat10.jpg



My best find this year was this enormous Diamond Python (Morelia spilota). It was about 2m in length and heavy-bodied. I was surprised to find it warming itself on the road in an area of wet eucalyptus forest late one afternoon. I unfortunately only see these beautiful snakes once or twice a year.
Diamond1.jpg


Diamond3.jpg


Diamond7.jpg


Diamond8.jpg



A couple of years ago, I found a site with tin and other rubbish in the hills in habitat like this:
habitat4.jpg


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This has proved to be the only reliable place where I can find snakes near Wollongong. Eastern Small-eyed Snakes (Cyrtophis nigrescens) are by far the most often encountered species. Sometimes, I see several beneath the same sheet.
smalleyed1.jpg



Once disturbed, they usually race into abandoned ant nests.
smalleyed3.jpg



This one was about to shed.
smalleyed4.jpg



A pleasant surprise this year was this nice Tiger Snake (Notechis scutatus) that has taken up residence beneath one of the sheets. It is quite a surprise to lift a sheet and see one of these. This one is fairly large for a Tiger and is a little less than a meter in length and heavy-bodied. Here are a few photos of it from various visits and lighting conditions.
tiger2.jpg



… here is a series that shows the progression of defensive behaviour from first discovery to “leave me alone!”.
tiger1-1.jpg


tiger2-1.jpg


tiger3.jpg



... yesterday:
tiger1-2.jpg


tiger2-2.jpg



I have only seen a single Marsh Snake (Hemiaspis signata) so far this year. These are wary little guys and this one shot off after a single photo.
Marsh1.jpg



A surprise yesterday was this baby Red-bellied Blacksnake (Pseudechis porphyriacus). I see adults from time-to-time but this was the first baby that I have encountered. Adults usually race away when I lift the tin, but this little one did not know what to do. It would fan its neck and crawl towards me but then turn and crawl back to the tin. It was quick so hard to photograph.
redbelly2.jpg


redbelly1.jpg



Northern She-oak Skinks (Cyclodomorphus michaeli) are relatives of the blue-tongues. I have seen two this year but have only managed photos of this one. This individual mimicked a snake in the same manner as Common Scaly-foots (Pygopus lepidopodus). It would rear and slowly flick its tongue.
sheoak3.jpg


sheoak1.jpg


sheoak2.jpg


sheoak4.jpg



… the ventral surface was nicely marked:
sheoak6.jpg



I also have seen Eastern Blue-tongue (Tiliqua scincoides) a few times. This big adult was responsive.
bluetongue3.jpg


bluetongue2.jpg


bluetongue1.jpg


... a younger animal:
Bluetongue4.jpg


Bluetongue3.jpg



Small skinks are the abundant reptiles in the hills. Here is one of the nice and very glossy Three-toed Skinks (Saiphos equalis).
threetoed2.jpg



Weasel Skinks (Saproscincus mustelinus) are members of the genus of “Shade Skinks”. True to their name, they usually bask in complete shade.
sapro3.jpg


sapros1.jpg



Grass Skinks (Lampropholis delicata) are common in the hills. I believe that this was a communal nest site of these skinks. The nest was beneath a brick within a damp area of the forest.
skinkeggs1.jpg




Regards,
David
 

pythons73

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Very nice,that Diamond is stunning,very good find.Is it common to find tigers there...
 

Jungle_Freak

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More stunning pics of our wonderfull country and wildlife .
Great work David .
The She oak is my favourite but thats a very nice Diamond also

cheers
Roger
 

SamNabz

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ye seems like u had a great herping trip, alot of nice finds, that diamond is stunning...! great pics too, thanks for sharing
 

adz83

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wow theres sum awesome finds there......and not all that far from my house

cheers for sharing
 
F

FAY

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Thanks heaps David for your wonderful pics as usual.
I have always felt that the South Coast is very underrated IMO much more beautiful than the North Coast.
I love the fact that you can go on most beaches and not even see anyone and the escarpements are truly amazing!
Myself and Garth have never seen a diamond in the wild...maybe one day!
 

moloch05

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Thanks, everyone, for their comments.

Fay,
I agree that we live in a beautiful place. Here are a few more habitat shots taken earlier today.

Mt. Kiera, source of many of my finds.
habitat22.jpg



... sub-tropical rainforest that contains many figs, palms and tree ferns. The tree with the red flowers is a Flame Tree, a spectacular tree found from the Illawarra up through the northern tropical forests.
habitat20.jpg


habitat21.jpg



... Old-man Banksia (Banksia serrata) are a summer flowering species.
habitat23.jpg




Regards,
David
 

serpenttongue

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Myself and Garth have never seen a diamond in the wild...maybe one day!

Really, Fay?? You should pay a visit to Macquarie Pass or Minumurra Rainforest. I've seen loads of diamonds along the escarpment close to were i live.

David, excellent pics. I've never seen a Tiger Snake around Wollongong, and it's been years since i've seen a She-Oak Skink.
 

zulu

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Really, Fay?? You should pay a visit to Macquarie Pass or Minumurra Rainforest. I've seen loads of diamonds along the escarpment close to were i live.

David, excellent pics. I've never seen a Tiger Snake around Wollongong, and it's been years since i've seen a She-Oak Skink.
Thats amazing youve never seen a tigersnake serp,they used to be fairly common at least north of wollongong,ive seen them at macquarie pass near the bottom section.The she oaks used to be common in the kikuya grass around houses and railway lines under pieces of old cardboard and tin etc,youll have to get out more,less computers.
 

moloch05

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I've seen loads of diamonds along the escarpment close to were i live.

Wow, great to know that they are still common. I must not know how to find them. Most of those that I have seen were either crossing the road during the day or seen while I was bushwalking. I have only found 2 by night-driving.

Regards,
David
 

serpenttongue

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Wow, great to know that they are still common. I must not know how to find them. Most of those that I have seen were either crossing the road during the day or seen while I was bushwalking. I have only found 2 by night-driving.

Regards,
David

I have my secret little spots. Early mornings around 8 am work best for me. failing that, 6-7pm. I've never done a diamond night-drive, so i wouldn't know how successful that would be for me.

Yes, you're right, zulu. I have to get out bush more. Less time sitting in front of a computer (i'm starting to get a little bit of belly flab!).

I've only seen Tigers in the Royal NP.
 

KaneMortlock

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...

Another of a number of your posts I have really enjoyed sitting at my keyboard in Wollongong.

Thank you for making the effort to take those lovely photos and post them up on this forum.

Kane.
 
S

scorps

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Thanks heaps David for your wonderful pics as usual.
I have always felt that the South Coast is very underrated IMO much more beautiful than the North Coast.
I love the fact that you can go on most beaches and not even see anyone and the escarpements are truly amazing!
Myself and Garth have never seen a diamond in the wild...maybe one day!


You oviously havnt been to many beaches in the far north then :p
 
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