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naivepom

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I spent 3 weeks in Melbourne over Christmas 2012 visiting the girlfriends family but managed to make my excuses and sneak out as much as possible. Sorry for the generic descriptions under the pictures but I just copy/pasted them from Flickr. I live in the UK and most of the people seeing these pics have no idea about many of these places, hence the descriptions. Many, many thanks to all who helped me with locations and tips on how to get the most out of my trip, with a special shout out to Blakehose and VikingTimbo who really went above and beyond with their generosity - I cant thank you all enough.

In total a rough trip list was:
12 blotched bluetongues
2 black phase eastern bluetongues
2 normal eastern bluetongues
12 jacky dragons
1 brown snake
3 copperheads
10 tiger snakes
3 lerista bourgainvilli
4 growling grass frogs
10 cunninghams skinks
****loads of little brown skinks
****loads of l.tasmaniensis

Thanks for looking!

First a few scenery/landscape pics from Melbourne and the surrounds:

Buckley Falls by Kristian Bell, on Flickr





Briars Homestead by Kristian Bell, on Flickr





****farm by Kristian Bell, on Flickr
The famous Werribee Treatment Plant, fondly known to locals as Werribee ****farm due to the smell that is produced from the numerous water treatment ponds. A word of advice - the leaflet clearly states 'Stick to the path at all times'. That is good information. After taking this picture I ventured a little further into this dried up lake and found myself rapidly sinking in quicksand. Thank god I had watched an episode of Bear Grylls, and therefore knew I had to lie flat and crawl out. I wish I was joking - about watching the Bear Grylls episode that is. Also, by quicksand, I do in fact mean quickshit.







Galah (Eolophus roseicapilla) enjoying footspah by Kristian Bell, on Flickr
This slightly bedraggled bird was seemingly a victim of 46 degree heat. He/she was spotted perched on a fence near a main road with wings outstretched. A quick swim and several beers later (us that is, not the bird) and it was still sitting in the same awkward position. We approached and it made no attempt to escape. With some careful handling we took it back to a shaded area and plied it with water and melon. It took a while to grasp the idea that we were offering drinking water (as opposed to its usual foot-spa treatment?!) but soon got the idea and drank half a gallon. The next morning a decidedly more lively bird was given to the local wildlife rescue facility, just in time for a swim and some feel-good beers (again, us, not the bird),





Red-necked Avocet (Recurvirostra novaehollandiae) by Kristian Bell, on Flickr
Wish I could have had more time to spend with these beautiful birds. There were hundreds of them at this location and they can make for great photographs. However, after scouting out a good location (and scaring them all off in the process) I never got the opportunity to return - next time maybe.





Australasian Grebe (Tachybaptus novaehollandiae) by Kristian Bell, on Flickr
This beautiful male grebe was one of several proud parents on a small pond in Melbourne. When alarmed, its chick would rest its upper body on its fathers bum, giving the impression of a single, adult bird - perhaps as a way to deter/confuse potential predators.





Southern Boobook (Ninox novaeseelandiae) by Kristian Bell, on Flickr





Long-billed Corella (Cacatua tenuirostris) by Kristian Bell, on Flickr
Saw two of these birds digging by the roadside just outside Melbourne. I didnt even know such a species existed.





Koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) by Kristian Bell, on Flickr
With a few minutes to spare while traveling between Barmah Forest and Yarrawonga, I stopped at Ulupna Island to see if I could find the large re-introduced population of Koalas among the river red-gums. I wasn't disappointed as I saw half a dozen within 15 minutes, including a mum with a baby (too high up in a tree for a photo) and this individual, that was only 2 metres off the ground beside a small billabong - perhaps en route to getting a drink in the heat of a 46-degree day..



Kit by Kristian Bell, on Flickr
Saw plenty of these very Aussie mammals out and about. Including this little baby found under a log!?





Spotted Marsh Frog (Limnodynastes tasmaniensis) by Kristian Bell, on Flickr
Dozens of these little frogs were found in a small area of lawn at the edge of Lake Mulwala, and they were being keenly watched by a one-eyed boobook.





Peron's Tree Frog (Litoria peroni) by Kristian Bell, on Flickr





Growling Grass Frog (Litoria raniformis) by Kristian Bell, on Flickr
One of three recent metamorphs seen on a mild night in a pond on the Bellarine Peninsula. An adult was also calling but we couldn't get close enough for a photo. Once widespread and common, these frogs are in decline and are classified as endangered by the IUCN Red List.





Garden Skink (Lampropholis guichenoti) by Kristian Bell, on Flickr
This little guy was among many scurrying through the undergrowth in prime tiger snake habitat.





Jacky Lizard (Amphibolurus muricatus) by Kristian Bell, on Flickr
I saw about a dozen of these curious little guys in a park on the edges of Melbourne - all of them were found on the debris of fallen trees.





Bougainville's Skink (Lerista bougainvillii) by Kristian Bell, on Flickr
Several of these small, semi-fossorial skinks were encountered in grassland habitat in Melbourne. The tail of this lizard is very long and almost goes off the top of this photo.





Black Eastern Bluetongue by Kristian Bell, on Flickr
No idea if this is a separate sub-species of eastern bluetongue but at this particular location on the Bellarine Peninsula this dark colour variation seemed to be the only type of bluetongue around.



Blotched Bluetongue (Tiliqua nigrolutea) by Kristian Bell, on Flickr
One of many, many blotched bluetongues seen in a remarkable area not far from the centre of Melbourne. Amazingly, these lizards seem to get along fine with the numerous tiger snakes that I also encountered at this location.



Lowlands Copperhead (Austrelaps superbus) by Kristian Bell, on Flickr
Everything I have read about these snakes suggests they are cold-weather specialists that can often be found out and active on cooler days when other snake species remain under shelter. Having said all that, this placid individual was found foraging in the middle of a hot afternoon.





Eastern Tiger Snake (Notechis scutatus) by Kristian Bell, on Flickr
Had great fun in and around Melbourne looking for these guys. A locally abundant snake if you find the right areas. They are well-known to be 'aggressive' snakes but I think 'very defensive' is a much more accurate description. Aggressive or defensive, either way it makes for great photo opportunities.
 

Shotta

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awesome pics, beautiful animals lol at the koala
thanks for sharing
 

ronhalling

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Wow naivepom that has to be some of the best macro camera work i have seen outside of a professional publication that i have seen in a long time......................................................Ron
 

Vikingtimbo

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I'm glad you enjoyed your visit to Melbourne Kris. Your scenery photos are very evocative (even ****farm!) and the wildlife pics are absolutely superb! I love the Tiger Snake shot, you got the snake to pose perfectly.

Tim
 
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