Friday, October 18, 2013

September 2013 Simpson Desert Trip

It's been a while since I've posted anything from the Simpson Desert. I've been heading out there regularly with Sydney University's DERG (Desert Ecology Research Group). Check out a few select shots below or click through to the full gallery.

Moloch horridus, Thorny Devil

'Velvet Ant', a wingless female wasp (family Mutillidae)

Collared dragon (Ctenophorus clayi)

Perentie (Varanus giganteus)

Perentie (Varanus giganteus)

Spotted Nightjar

Dingo pup

Blue-Tailed Skink (Ctenotus calurus)

Rainbow Bee-Eaters

Long-nosed dragon (Amphibolurus longirostris)

Monday, September 16, 2013

From the centre

It's hard to believe that three years have passed since I was out in the Alice and kicking around Uluru and Kata Tjuta...

This Neobatrachus sudellae had recently emerged from the red dirt after a few drops of rain and is looking fairly unimpressed.

A sharp eye could reliably pick out the Tympanocryptis centralis on the rocks around Kata Tjuta.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Up on the cliffs...

Here's a small set of photos taken recently on the famous Coast Walk in the Royal National Park.

A large Eastern Brown Snake, Pseudonaja textilis

Rockwarbler, a Sydney endemic species

Peregrine falcon checking us out

Monday, September 9, 2013

Jervis Bay

A few photos from a great weekend in the beautiful Booderee National Park, Jervis Bay.

Jacky Dragon, Amphibolurus muricatus

Red-Bellied Black Snake, Pseudechis porphryacus, and a bull ant (Myrmecia sp.)

Sea eagle with prey


Antechinus species - not sure if stuartii or agilis
Check out the gallery here.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Imperial Blue butterfly caterpillar

A caterpillar of the Imperial Blue butterfly (Jalmenus evagoras) is here being not attacked but tended and protected by Iridomyrmex ants, drunk on the caterpillar's secretions.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Pied Lacewing

Pied Lacewing - Porismus strigatus

Noticed a few of these beautiful lacewings in the local bit of bushland yesterday evening so I returned to photograph them this morning. They have a very weak-looking, fluttery flight. Actually found an ID on these guys - Pied Lacewing - Porismus strigatus

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Big sucker (part II)

Toxorhynchites speciosus

Had to look way back into the archives to find this photo from 2004, taken on my first DSLR. It's the adult of the species in the previous photo - Toxorhynchites speciosus, the world's largest mosquito. The feathery antennae indicate that this is a male of the species.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Big suckers

It's been a long time since I played with anything like this... These are the rather beautiful larvae of the largest mosquito in the world, a resident of Sydney, Toxorhynchites speciosus. The mozzie itself is large and impressive (I'm sure I have an old photo somewhere...) and harmless to humans. These larvae are dangerous only to the larvae of other mosquito species, which they prey upon. I'd estimate these are getting up around 15 mm.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Meal for three

This mantid was joined at its meal of a honeybee by some uninvited guests in the form of tiny flies.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Catching up with the locals

I'm back in Sydney and will be here for some time. One of the things I really love about where I live is how bushland corridors spread into the leafy suburbs. From where I live I can walk a short distance and see a good variety of wildlife - including some threatened species such as the two below, encountered on a night a couple of weeks ago.

Red-crowned Toadlet, Pseudophryne australis

Powerful Owl, Ninox strenua

More Borneo material coming soon!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Borneo part III - Mammals at Mulu

Our next point of interest was Gunung Mulu National Park. Arriving in the afternoon, we were transported to Benarat Lodge where we would spend a few nights as a base to explore the park before travelling the head-hunter’s trail to Limbang.

After being assured that the river flowing past our accommodation was free from crocodiles (phew!) and false gharials (damn!), we plunged into the cool water for a swim. As we floated in the current, keeping an eye out for the longboats that travelled the river, we could hear a repetitive barking call from the limestone cliff that overhung the water. We spent some time searching with binoculars for the source (monkeys? birds?) to no avail, and were later told that it’s a huge gecko. Guides would often tell us a story about this species (which we later found to be the Green-eyed Gecko, Gekko smithii): that a large individual would be worth many thousands of dollars on the black market for the ‘medicinal’ (think men’s problems again) properties of the gall bladder, and that poaching was not unknown.

As evening and a light drizzle fell, we donned our torches and began the walk to the National Park. We hadn't walked far before George spotted some eyeshine that got him very excited – it was the eyeshine of a smallish mammal that was clinging to a slim tree-trunk at about head-height. George turned to me and exclaimed “Dave – I think I've just spotted a Tarsier!”

Western Tarsier

Monday, January 7, 2013

Borneo Part II: Bako National Park

There are places in Borneo where the visitor is rewarded for trekking for long hours through the jungle, using his or her skills and know-how and enduring discomfort in the pursuit of animal sightings. Then there are places, like Bako National Park, where the wildlife just makes it all too easy.

Arriving at Bako felt like an adventure, being deposited on the beach after a scenic small boat ride. Shoes in hand, we walked up the sand to the dining hall where we met some fellow Aussie ‘herpers’ who had been there for a couple of days already and who proceeded to take us on a little tour of the nearby area.

Colugo (Flying Lemur)

This is how, just a few minutes after landing, we saw our first Colugo.