Australia trip Part 3

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ClosetHerper
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Australia trip Part 3

Post by ClosetHerper » April 4th, 2014, 7:37 pm

This is the 3rd of 3 posts covering our 6 week trip to Australia from late December 2013 to early February 2014.

Part 1 can be seen here: http://www.fieldherpforum.com/forum/vie ... =2&t=19112
Part 2 can be seen here: http://www.fieldherpforum.com/forum/vie ... =2&t=19156

Travel details can be seen in part one.

This portion starts as we continued our way south from southeast Queensland, across SE Australia to the eastern end of the Great Ocean Road, spending our final week in Tasmania. My skills at finding herps are not up to those of many on this forum, and at this point, I had completely struck out on seeing any of the native geckos. I most wanted to see one of the leaf tailed geckos and that was high on my hit list upon reaching Lamington National Park. One was pointed out to me on a building on our first night in the area but I completely struck out finding one on my own in the forest. The second night was different, however, and I found three, two on the same trail I had walked the night before... go figure. Anyway, they were spectacular.

Southern leaf-tailed gecko
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Although I wanted to find and photograph one of the spiny-tailed geckos, because their eyes looked fascinating in photos I have seen, the eyes of these guys did not disappoint.
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The following image is one of my favorites. I draw a pretty firm line on photoshop manipulation of my images and do not alter any content (i.e. I don't remove twigs, blades of grass or other "distracting" elements). The single on-camera flash used for this image, however, created a relatively harsh shadow on the bottom of this geckos limbs, so I have taken the liberty to remove most of the shadows digitally. I was really impressed how this thing blended in with the lichens on the tree.
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I also found a few frogs in the area:

Orange-eyed tree frog
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Fleay's barred-frog
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And a few pythons. One 8 foot specimen was not photographed but is probably the largest snake I have seen in the wild. This one apparently had been in the same location for several days digesting a large prey item.

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Back on the coast, we awoke to one of my wife's favorite mornings of the entire trip. There were 28 kangaroos grazing around our tent at 5AM, including a little joey who was touching the tent wall. We could see his tiny little hand silhouetted through the tent fabric.

Eastern gray kangaroos
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A pair of bats from another spectacular yet controversial bat "camp" or colony on the outskirts of a small town.

Little red flying foxes
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We then skipped across the SE corner of the country getting another all to brief glimpse of some of the interior, including Warrumbungle National Park.

This was the largest monitor of the trip at close to 6 feet. Wary at first, he eventually let me walk along beside him as he made his way up a hillside.

Lace monitor
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Emu
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We eventually made it to the south coast where we saw lots of one of Australia's major icons. I am surprised one of the girls on the trip did not try to bring one home with them!

Koala
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I do not think that this sign would be very effective at keeping members of this forum on the designated trail!
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Lastly, on to Tasmania where I largely kept glimpsing or missing snakes, and seeing another major target of mine, blue-tongued skinks, DOR in many locations! While riding bikes on Maria Island, I had pushed on ahead of my wife. I finally stopped to wait for her and when she caught up to me, she had a disgusted look on her face. Apparently a large tiger snake crossed the road behind me. She rode up to it and started yelling for me trying to get my attention without luck. Taught me not to zoom ahead of her in the future!

Tasmania had lots of great wildlife and many great parks for hiking.

Cape Barren goose
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Bennett's wallabies
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Wombat
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Night hikes were a staple everywhere we went and resulted in many great finds other than herps (Some of these images were from areas other than Tasmania).

Yellow-footed antichinus (a mouse-sized marsupial photographed on the Atherton Tablelends)
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We ran into common bush-tailed possums and common ring-tailed possums EVERYWHERE!

Common ring-tailed possum
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Tawny frogmouth
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Eastern barred bandicoot
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And I was incredibly fortunate to see a Tasmanian devil in the wild, although the photo is not the greatest. I believe it was hunting penguins!

Tasmanian devil
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And FINALLY, after seeing all the skink road kill, and being obsessed with finding one on the final days of the trip, I found one! On the FINAL day of our 6 week trip. Yet another spectacular lizard!

Blotched blue-tongue skink
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The take home message from our trip is that Australia is a spectacular place to visit. Particularly for anyone interested in not just herps but any wildlife including birds and mammals. I could have spent the entire 6 weeks in any of the many locations we visited, and never become tired of photographing the wildlife. Although I missed many of the neat herps that occur there, I was tickled to death at what we came up with on our own. As I said before, it was all new and exotic, especially for someone living in Alaska. It has whet our appetite for many vacations to come.

As I sit here in my office on a Friday evening in early April, there is snow falling outside. I have spent evenings after work earlier this week photographing whales that are gathering around the annual herring spawn event. One of our first signs that spring is coming. Although spectacular in its own right, the cold waters and winter breeze are a complete contrast to our time spent in Australia's tropics. Reliving our trip by putting these posts together has been fun and I hope it inspires others to visit Australia as well.

Humpback whales, Prince William Sound, Alaska
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Thanks for looking!

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Antonsrkn
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Re: Australia trip Part 3

Post by Antonsrkn » April 4th, 2014, 10:27 pm

Incredible work all around, your 3 posts are the stuff dreams are made of. I'm really impressed by your bird, mammal and herp photography as well. How in the world did you spot the leaf tailed geckos? I feel like I could closely inspect a specific tree trunk with one on it and still miss it half the time.

Carl D. May
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Re: Australia trip Part 3

Post by Carl D. May » April 5th, 2014, 3:57 am

Absolutely fantastic shots! The joey peering out from the pouch made my wife tear up, "That's soooo cute!"
All three posts are just great, great, great!

speedy
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Re: Australia trip Part 3

Post by speedy » April 5th, 2014, 1:15 pm

Fantastic way to finish off. Amazing shots. Great work on the Mixophyes fleayi, they can be difficult to find. Also the Antichinus is a great shot, they are very difficult to photograph. Your mammal list and shots are brilliant, I am quite jealous and I live in Aus.

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Hans Breuer (twoton)
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Re: Australia trip Part 3

Post by Hans Breuer (twoton) » April 5th, 2014, 10:31 pm

You, Sir, sure know how to sling a camera. All my hats are off in awe (and I have a lot of hats!)

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krisbell
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Re: Australia trip Part 3

Post by krisbell » April 6th, 2014, 10:10 am

Superb shots once again Milo - though its your long telephoto stuff that really shines. The kangaroo, emu, goose, all oozing quality.

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John Martin
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Re: Australia trip Part 3

Post by John Martin » April 6th, 2014, 8:44 pm

Wow! Your photog skills are just killer. I've enjoyed all three of your Oz posts. The lighting in that last shot of the whale fluke makes it one of my favorites for sure. I'm with you on photoshop - somehow it just seems to be, well, cheating...

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Bostaff of Asclepius
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Re: Australia trip Part 3

Post by Bostaff of Asclepius » April 7th, 2014, 6:33 am

Great stuff, those gecko photos are just awesome!

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justinm
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Re: Australia trip Part 3

Post by justinm » April 7th, 2014, 11:10 am

Every shot was very good and interesting. I was shocked by the Gecko shots though. Outstanding post, thanks.

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ClosetHerper
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Re: Australia trip Part 3

Post by ClosetHerper » April 7th, 2014, 12:01 pm

Thanks for the comments
Antonsrkn wrote:... How in the world did you spot the leaf tailed geckos? I feel like I could closely inspect a specific tree trunk with one on it and still miss it half the time.
I was given a tip by someone on the forum to look for eye shine (kind of a dull red), and that is how I located all three on the second night.
speedy wrote:... Great work on the Mixophyes fleayi, they can be difficult to find. ...
Glad I had the ID correct; I saw that they are listed as endangered. I found it on a trail at night while looking for the leaf-tails.
Carl D. May wrote:...The joey peering out from the pouch made my wife tear up...
Thanks. That is the ultimate compliment for a photograph!

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Ribbit
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Re: Australia trip Part 3

Post by Ribbit » April 7th, 2014, 9:05 pm

Gorgeous photos! I look forward to part 4. Please, let there be a part 4. I understand that you will have to go back to Australia for it, but I will wait.

John

Y.Morgan
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Re: Australia trip Part 3

Post by Y.Morgan » April 8th, 2014, 8:58 am

All 3 parts of your post were amazing! As you said, some of the iconic mammals might be old hat to Aussie herpers, but to me they're fantastic. And your photos make them seem even moreso. Wombat, Taz devil, and all...you really tore it up! The shot of the kangaroos around your tent really tells a story. The engorged python, the leaftail, and the huge blue-tongue...what a great trip and a great post. Thanks!
York

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orionmystery
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Re: Australia trip Part 3

Post by orionmystery » April 9th, 2014, 1:25 am

Great set!!!

Strongestwoman
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Re: Australia trip Part 3

Post by Strongestwoman » April 10th, 2014, 6:23 pm

You Rock! These are awesome photos! I was recently in Australia too, and these pics are as stunning as the real thing. I love the Frilled lizard, Leaf Tailed Gecko, and ofcourse the Roos!

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ClosetHerper
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Re: Australia trip Part 3

Post by ClosetHerper » April 10th, 2014, 6:34 pm

Strongestwoman wrote:You Rock! These are awesome photos! I was recently in Australia too, and these pics are as stunning as the real thing. I love the Frilled lizard, Leaf Tailed Gecko, and ofcourse the Roos!
It seems my wife has registered on this forum... great to have an enthusiastic fan! Also, one who spots cool things for me like the first frilled lizard and the tiger snake (even though I was nowhere to be found when she found the tiger :( ) Also, that is her peeking out of the tent surrounded by kangaroos!

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Hans Breuer (twoton)
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Re: Australia trip Part 3

Post by Hans Breuer (twoton) » April 10th, 2014, 10:13 pm

ClosetHerper wrote:
Strongestwoman wrote:You Rock! These are awesome photos! I was recently in Australia too, and these pics are as stunning as the real thing. I love the Frilled lizard, Leaf Tailed Gecko, and ofcourse the Roos!
It seems my wife has registered on this forum... great to have an enthusiastic fan! Also, one who spots cool things for me like the first frilled lizard and the tiger snake (even though I was nowhere to be found when she found the tiger :( ) Also, that is her peeking out of the tent surrounded by kangaroos!
Wonderful! :-)

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Roki
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Re: Australia trip Part 3

Post by Roki » April 14th, 2014, 12:40 pm

Great posts, I have enjoyed all of them. Love those leaf-tailed geckos.
Roki

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Field Herper
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Re: Australia trip Part 3

Post by Field Herper » April 15th, 2014, 7:01 am

You've taken some excellent photos and created a very good thread Milo.
Well done and thanks. Even though I live here and see wildlife like this (in some form or another) almost every day, it's still nice to see such good shots and to hear your appreciation of our wonderful wildlife.

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chrisr
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Re: Australia trip Part 3

Post by chrisr » April 15th, 2014, 11:19 am

So awesome! Thank you for these posts,

C

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