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)

Monday, December 21, 2009

Accidental Art

On a recent fauna survey up at Camballin in the Kimberleys, my boss' camera went a little strange, probably from the extreme heat which affected the processor. It began taking wonderful artistic pictures.

This is a picture of me at one of the trap sites. It is straight from the camera with no modifications or alterations what so ever. I really do think you could have a good art exhibition with some of the photos!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

To The Top of Mt Kinabalu

My wife Liz and I are almost ready for our my Christmas/New Year wildlife adventure. This year it's wildlife-watching in North Queensland and a birding trip to the top of Cape York and islands off the coast of New Guinea.

Last year it was birding in Sabah Borneo, with one of the highlights being, finally seeing a group of the elusive Bornean Bristleheads. One of my wife's highlights was also climbing to the top of Mt Kinabalu by herself. I thought in honour of that achievement almost one year ago, I would put up some pictures of that event.

The goal, to climb up Mt Kinabalu (4101 m) to the small point on top in the middle. The highest peak between the Himalayas and New Guinea.

My wife and her mountain guide Miak ready to begin the two day journey. I'm laughing because I don't have to go! I can stay down here and do some birding.

About 3/4 up the mountain, the overnight stop at the Laban Rata guesthouse, with an early start at 3 am to begin the final journey in darkness to the top.

The rainforest is far below and only the toughest high altitude plants survive, till higher up there is only rock.

One cold but happy Liz. Been to the top, now for the long journey back down.

Low's Peak (4101 m)

Spectacular views and rock formations.

Kinabalu conquered and a happy wife with secret plans for Everest Base Camp, Mt Kilimanjaro etc......

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Barking Geckos

With the Western Australian summer here, the temperatures are too hot to find our garden and local geckos just under sheets of tin or thin slabs of rock. Most are now deeper down in cracks or under larger rock outcrops.

Here is a video I took of a Barking Gecko when temperatures were cooler and geckos could sometimes still be found moving in the early morning.

These beautiful Barking Geckos (Underwoodisaurus milli) are found over most of southern Australia. They are one of the two species of thick-tailed geckos found in Australia. They are called barking geckos because of their threat display, where they lunge forward, raise their body and yelp and hiss.

They grow to 17cm and have a wonderful fat tail, especially if it has been a good season, but can quickly drop it if you pick them up. These geckos can also give you a good nip and not let go, if you get your finger too close. There was one time where I had to sit for ten minutes with a gecko attached to my hand, before he decided to let go and went his way.

They look very similar to the nine species of Knob-tailed Geckos found in Australia and will shortly (or already) be placed in the Nephurus genus.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

The Quacking Frogs of Winter

Well, summer is here in Perth with temperatures reaching 37 and higher ones expected soon. Most of the creeks near our home have dried up and only the large ones with granite outcrops have pools of water in them. The Quacking Frogs (Crinia georgiana) of winter have gone quiet, with only the local tree frogs calling from the better-watered gardens in the street.

Here is a video I took of Quacking Frogs a few months ago when the streams were flowing.

A little info about them. The Quacking Frog or also called Tschudi's Froglet, is a common frog found in creeks and swamps around Perth, Western Australia. The colour and pattern variations on individuals are incredible. The best way to identify these frogs is to look for the gold or red eyelids and red markings on the inner thighs, and the loud 'quack' call.