Warrnambool Herping 2016-17

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NickGeee

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Late last year, I caught the VLine down to Warrnambool to get in a solid herp trip in.
The train left Southern Cross station at 7:20 in the morning, and arrived at Warrnambool at 11:15.
I met up for my mate Steve, and we drove to a nearby park. It has no doubt the highest concentrations of Lowland copperheads in Victoria, and we saw half a dozen in 15 minutes easily. However I wasn't overly keen on jumping off an elevated path to nab them, and Steve promised me we would see some later in areas that would make photography more easy.
We did a whole loop of the park, and saw more copperheads and tigers basking on the side of the paths.
This stink pot was sitting on the path, and wasn't too fussed on our approach.
Eastern long-necked turtle (Chelodina longicollis) by Nick Gale, on Flickr
We then came across many Stumpies and Blotched blue tongues, and Steve got very excited at one very nice looking Blotchy, that was until it bit him and scampered off. I was too preoccupied in photographing this Rugosa however, sorry Steve :(
Shingleback (Tiliqua rugosa) by Nick Gale, on Flickr
We then came across a large, patternless brown Tiger. As we photographed it a woman jogged passed and didn't even see the thing sitting in the middle of the path. I only realised now my camera lens was switched to macro mode, and all of my photos turned out trash.
We continued on, and found another cute bubby tiger.
Eastern tiger snake (Notechis scutatus) by Nick Gale, on Flickr
We saw more Whites skinks, stumpies and blotchies, but headed off to the next area, after Steve got chased by a hungry (and maybe horny?) emu.
The next area was near to Steve house, and Steve had found Swamp skinks here before. Swamp skinks not on the Mornington Peninsula? unthinkable!
Steve wasn't lying, and much to my joy we saw several of these guys basking off the path and in the dense vegetation.
Swamp skink (Lissolepis coventryi) by Nick Gale, on Flickr
I was waiting out another Swampie that had run off into some thick vegetation when I heard Steve scream tiger. Oh Bwoi.
This monster was one of the biggest wild snakes I have ever seen, and was a brilliant poser.
Eastern tiger snake (Notechis scutatus) by Nick Gale, on Flickr
We headed off yet again, and I was restless as I still had no photos of the copperheads Steve promised me!
After a sweaty walk up a coastal track and several misses with some more whites I heard Steve scream "copperhead!" (read in pommie accent).
This skinny looking individual was covered in ticks, but ii got his good side ;)
Lowlands copperhead (Austrelaps superbus) by Nick Gale, on Flickr
I went home full of Macdonalds, and promised to be back very soon!

Skip to April 6th, 2017.
I headed back, with some different targets in mind.
We headed off to the same coastal track we went to last time, and immediately found another Tiger!
However it was rather rude and didn't want to stick around, we moved on further down where Steve has seen some Brown tree frogs earlier. Why would I spend a 4 hour train trip to see Ewengii?
Brown tree frog (Litoria ewengii) by Nick Gale, on Flickr
We found heaps of these guys in some trash dumped next to the track!
Brown tree frog (Litoria ewengii) by Nick Gale, on Flickr
I eyed off a nice looking piece of carpet further up, and when I shook it a baby copperhead fell onto my foot, and I flipped out.
We headed off to the Swampie spot and got pretty skunked after seeing another tiger curled up in the reeds.
On the way back to the car I saw a yellow, brown and green lizard basking on the side of the boardwalk. Could it be? a beautiful Lissolepis coventryi, perfectly posed for an insitu shot. I readied my camera and immediately a dog ran past be, followed by a jogger. The skink ran to cover and 10 minutes later did not return. I was fuming but we had one last place to go.
We drove about 40 minutes east to the beautiful Nirranda.I stepped out of the car and was overwhelmed at the rugged beauty, and how isolated the beach was. We were looking for White Lipped Snakes, but an hour searching in cushion bush revealed only some small frogs and some small skinks.
Still! the view!
Nirranda by Nick Gale, on Flickr
We got back to Warrnambool but it was getting dark, so Steve took me to the breakwater to see some non-herp stuff.
Many rays and Seals gathered around the pier as fishermen threw scraps into the water.
The seal (I affectionately named Steve Jr.) came onto the boat launching pad for a quick photoshoot.
Australian Fur Seal (Pusillus doriferus) by Nick Gale, on Flickr
Steve dropped me off at the station and I dribbled on myself the whole way home.
Enjoy :)
 
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