And the bush has friends to meet him, and their kindly voices greet him, In the murmur of the breezes and the river on its bars,
And he sees the vision splendid of the sunlit plains extended, And at night the wonderous glory of the everlasting stars.

Banjo Paterson (1889)

Sunday, August 9, 2009


With spring approaching we often have fauna work in the Pilbara region, which located about half way up Western Australia. One of the areas that we have been to a number of times to do surveys, is the Woodie Woodie area. This is a beautiful area, basically on the western edge of the Great Sandy Desert.

Some of the red rock gorges of the Woodie Woodie area surrounded by golden spinifex grasslands.

In certain areas, the red gorges are cut by a grey clay-like stone ridges with sharp edged rocks.

This has to be one of the most beautiful monitors (goannas) found in Australia. A well-camouflaged, with what looks like aboriginal paintings, Pilbara Rock Monitor (Varanus pilbarensis). I think this is my favourite goanna species and when we are up here, I always look forward to catching one, but they are not easy to find.

"You want me to climb up where? Up here?"

Some of the gorges have lots of caves, ranging from small holes to big caverns. These caves make great homes for a large number of animal species found in the area, especially as shelters during the extremely hot summer temperatures.

This cave is being used by a small colony of Fairy Martins (Hirundo ariel), who have built their mud bottle-shaped nests at the entrance.

The little nooks and crannies in the caves provide a good environment for geckos and many insects, such as this lovely Crusader Bug.

In many places at the bottom of steep gorges, you can find very good patches of spinifex due to the extra water runoff. These are usually good places to find many arid habitat animal species.

One of the reptile species you may catch is this beautiful large skink, the Centralian Blue-tongue (Tiliqua multifasciata). It's always good fun to find out what lives in a certain area.


Wilma said...

Love the goanna and the skink!

Tom said...

Hi Richard, I visited Oz back in 1999 but never made it to WA. I recently came across your blog. Your images here are amazing, thanks for bringing me back. I have a nature blog here in Ohio, USA.


Denis Wilson said...

I am glad someone got the image of the Fairy Martin nests. Red rocks give red mud, obviously.
Lovely Blue Tongue.

Richard King said...

Thanks people. Those outback Blue-tongues are really beautiful lizards and make great pets I believe!