Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Chichester to the coast

The rest of my time in the Watagans was fairly rewarding - though all the extra rain made the roads pretty interesting! Highlights:
- Red-backed toadlets (Pseudophryne coriacea) calling off the side of the road
- seeing Great Barred Frogs (Mixophyes fasciolatus) also turn up at Boarding house dam
- waking up to a male Lyrebird scratching its way boldly around camp
- lots more Sandpaper Frogs (Lechriodus fletcheri)
- a beautiful Brown Treesnake (Boiga irregularis)

I next drove up through Maitland and Dungog (through occasional pouring rain which washed the mud off my car nicely!) to Chichester state forest where I made my next camp at Frying Pan Creek.

Southern Forest Dragon (Hypsilurus spinipes)

Driving through the forest I saw lots of Eastern Water Dragons basking on the road, but at one spot I was lucky enough to spot something different - a Southern Forest Dragon (Hypsilurus spinipes) warming itself! I've only ever seen one of these lovely creatures before so I was stoked. I love the mossy-green looking spiny scales. Unfortunately, metres from where it sat, another of these dragons had been roadkilled. The following night I was to see another live forest dragon (sleeping at night) and another roadkill - both the corpses were evidently full of eggs when they were run over - probably warming their eggs by sitting on the roads. A real shame to see these poor things.

As night fell over the campsite, the frogs began calling - Leaf green treefrogs (Litoria phyllochroa) in the creek, but also more excitingly, the low groaning of Red-eyed Treefrogs (Litoria chloris) from vine thickets around the camp. I saw a big mob of them chorusing from a puddle beside the road.

A walk along the road turned up a rough-scaled snake (Tropidechis carinatus), no doubt searching for some frogs to eat. There were plenty of Stony Creek Frogs (Litoria wilcoxi) and Sandpaper frogs (Lechriodus fletcherii) on the road, I'd be surprised if it didn't find something.

The following day, I had planned to work my way north through Chichester into Barrington Tops National park, but the day was so beautiful and I felt like a swim so I headed out of the forest towards Gloucester and drove to Blackhead (north of Forster). Had a refreshing snorkel - lots of fish including a big ray with some sort of attendant fish attached.

Nightfall found me a fair way to the south - I actually drove down to Wallingat for a look around there, then ended up staying the night at the Grandis. Interestingly, I saw another Rough-scaled snake (Tropidechis carinatus)! A couple of Great Barred frogs were calling as well and I spotted one of these too, as well as a Golden Crowned Snake (Cacophis squamulosus).

I'll have to save the last couple of days for another time as I want to do some things before the shops close...

Check out the photos!

1 comment:

Stewart Macdonald said...

That forest dragon is gorgeous. I've never seen (a wild) one mottled like that.