Monday, January 5, 2009

Gecko night

From Toowoomba I drove the short distance north to the campsite at Crow's Nest National Park. As dusk approached I set off on the walk to Crow's Nest Falls and plunge pool. This area has been hard hit by a few dry years though there had been a bit of rain that was enough to put a little flow in the creek and falls.

I arrived at the swimming hole below granite cliffs just as darkness fell, and after scoping it out for platypus, slipped into the black water for a dip. Around me I could hear rock wallabies thumping on the rocks, chasing each other and making little noises of aggression.

Thick-tailed Gecko, Underwoodisaurus milii

After my swim I donned my headtorch and began walking back to camp. It wasn't long before I heard a rustle in the leaf-litter - I checked it out and found a charming little Thick-tailed Gecko, Underwoodisaurus milii. A few steps further on, another rustle - this time Gehyra dubia. Then the 'Ocellated' gecko, Oedura monilis. Then another Oedura, this time Lesueur's Velvet Gecko, O. lesueuri (I think). I was quite dumbfounded at this high diversity of geckos in such a small area - I guess the combination of granite outcrops and dry forest was just perfect for them.

Ornate Burrowing Frog, Opisthodon ornatus

I spotted a couple of frogs too - the Northern Banjo frog, Limnodynastes terraereginae and a very sandy Ornate Burrowing Frog, Opisthodon ornatus. I also came across a large, impressive frog that surprised me despite my familiarity with it - the cane toad (Bufo marinus)! A few were calling from pools in the creek. From here on, Cane toads were abundant virtually everywhere I visited. It's always a bit disappointing to see them in so many varied environments and in such huge numbers, but it's also in a way a testament to their astonishing properties of survival and spread.


Belle said...

I love geckos! They look so soft and velvety... but Philip thinks they're probably scaly. Are they? And, who are the three people wearing the same hats in the pictures? And, did you bother those bats in the tunnel JUST for a cool photo? And, did you get pooed on?

Miss ya,

Anonymous said...

Love your geko photos!
Looking forward to further updates.

David Nelson said...

G'day Belle! Yes these geckos are quite soft and velvety, though of course things like that Prickly knob-tail are rather the opposite...

Regarding the bats, they didn't poo on me but I felt a few drops of fluid when they flew over...