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 Post subject: North Kimberley, WA, Australia
PostPosted: June 24th, 2010, 4:44 am 
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Joined: June 23rd, 2010, 9:45 pm
Posts: 50
Location: Perth Australia
G'day all,

I've just been up in the North Kimberley taking part in a 6 week long fauna survey. We samped several sites based on the burning regimes in previous years. Although not specifically after certain animals, we were always hopeful we might catch mammals. We did get quite a few this year along with some nice reptiles and some unexpected frogs. Here are some of the better shots. Unfortunately I turned up a couple of my photos on another site I didn't post them on so I'm watermarking some of my photos now.

Enjoy!

Frilled Dragons are always nice to see and babies are particularly cute. We saw alot this trip, as well as a few adults.

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The first snake of the trip, a nice big childrens python.
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A freshwater croc in the local creek.
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Notaden melanoscaphus was another nice, albeit common, find. This one spent a few minutes showing me his broadest side, then promptly burrowed into the sand.

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This is a newly described species of skink: Ctenotus halysis. The type specimen was collected at the same site we were sampling by our survey team a few years previous (I wasn't involved at that point, no credit to me!).

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I spotted a Gouldian Finch down by the river.
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Another baby frilly.
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An ordinary photo of a Black Whipsnake
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Pygmy Mulga Snakes Pseudechis weigeli turned up a few times. This one was the first we got this trip. Nice looking snakes.

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In the same area we got Northern knob-tails Nephrurus sheai, both adults and juveniles.

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One of the neatest little skinks around Cryptoblepharus megastictus
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An approaching storm bought out this neat little critter. Kimberley spadefoots are the last species of Notaden I needed to see and they didn't disappoint.
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One continued to eat ates while we were photographing them so I tried to get a feeding shot. It took about 40 ants, but i got one. Unfortunately I chopped off the ant :(

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More photos later on when I've processed them (and watermarked).


-H


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 Post subject: Re: North Kimberley, WA, Australia
PostPosted: June 24th, 2010, 6:09 am 
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Joined: June 12th, 2010, 3:08 pm
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Location: Pasadena, CA or Mission, TX
Wow, great animals. The photography was really good, I hope my camera is capable of that kind of stuff. I have to say though, the gecko picture in the corner of each photo is somewhat distracting.


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 Post subject: Re: North Kimberley, WA, Australia
PostPosted: June 24th, 2010, 7:12 am 

Joined: June 7th, 2010, 5:32 am
Posts: 240
Beautiful shots - I always love seeing photos of pigmy mulgas!


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 Post subject: Re: North Kimberley, WA, Australia
PostPosted: June 24th, 2010, 8:15 am 
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Great stuff, especially the Knob-tail sequence. If you didn't take such nice, clean pics you wouldn't need the watermark ;-) - Looks like it's gonna get eaten in a couple of those images.


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 Post subject: Re: North Kimberley, WA, Australia
PostPosted: June 24th, 2010, 8:16 am 
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Joined: June 8th, 2010, 7:08 pm
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awesome, and nice job on the weigeli!


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 Post subject: Re: North Kimberley, WA, Australia
PostPosted: June 24th, 2010, 4:51 pm 

Joined: June 7th, 2010, 7:43 am
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I never get tired of looking at posts from Australia. You guys are in herp heaven!


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 Post subject: Re: North Kimberley, WA, Australia
PostPosted: June 25th, 2010, 6:10 pm 
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Joined: June 23rd, 2010, 9:45 pm
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Location: Perth Australia
We managed to find quite a few P. weigeli. There were surprisingly common in some areas. At one small site we found three snakes.

I'm in the middle of cleaning my captive reptile collection so while i'm waiting for F10 to dry in western sydney, so I'll put up some photos from warmer climes (the rest of the Kimberley trip).

I manage to get some nice pics of Litoria rubella, an unremarkable little tree frog that is a complex of species begging to be split.

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These frogs are common and represent a tastey food item for snakes such as this young childrens python.

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Occasionally I'd rake some leaf litter between rocks and turn up one of these guys. Lerista kalumbaru has a very limited range: the north Kimberley.

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I've never seen them active but I'm told they are like lightning, we found a few Varanus storri ocreatus underneath some rocks.

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In the larger sandstone outcrops we'd sometimes find the woodworker frog Limnodynastes lignarius.

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And we found a few of these neat little guys in the sandstone as well: Kimberley spadefoot Notaden weigeli.
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Skinks didn't really feature during this wet cold week until the last day of trapping. Carlia gracilis is usually pretty common along waterways. It was nice to see a male in his breeding colours.
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ANother endemic to the Kimberley, Ctenotus ehmanni turned up on the last day of the week as the sun came out.

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Also moving around was this monster. At 157cm SVL it was the biggest King Brown Snake Pseudechis australis I'd seen (until a few weeks later). He didn't want to cooperate and sit still for a nicely coiled full body shot so all I have of him is this head shot.

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Back at the homestead this Little Spotted Snake was found cruising about during the night.
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And sitting in the middle of the road on the drive to the next set of sites was this nice Frilled Dragon. Initially he was sitting quietly on the road, so I approached with my camera, down low to minimise my outline... I got a shock when he pounched forward, erecting his frill and opening his mouth.. I managed a few shots before he had devised an escape plan and ran past me up a tree.

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Of course, there is heaps more to come. Three more weeks worth in fact!


-H


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 Post subject: Re: North Kimberley, WA, Australia
PostPosted: June 25th, 2010, 8:41 pm 
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Joined: June 16th, 2010, 12:26 pm
Posts: 561
Fantastic, Henry! It is great to see so many of these specials from the Kimberleys. Loved the shots of the Little Spotted Snakes as well.

I don't think that there would be many herpers at all who have seen all of the Notaden.

Regards,
David


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 Post subject: Re: North Kimberley, WA, Australia
PostPosted: June 25th, 2010, 11:20 pm 
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Joined: June 8th, 2010, 5:29 pm
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Location: I love L.A.
Wow, amazing post. :thumb:


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 Post subject: Re: North Kimberley, WA, Australia
PostPosted: June 26th, 2010, 6:31 am 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 6:42 am
Posts: 433
Location: Boerne, Tx
THese finds are truly amazing! You make me want to go to australia even more now.


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 Post subject: Re: North Kimberley, WA, Australia
PostPosted: June 28th, 2010, 10:20 am 
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Joined: June 9th, 2010, 8:33 am
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Location: SF Bay Area
Awesome animals and really good shots. Those spadefoots are really cool!!

I can't wait to get to Aus.


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 Post subject: Re: North Kimberley, WA, Australia
PostPosted: July 3rd, 2010, 1:13 am 
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Joined: June 23rd, 2010, 9:45 pm
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Location: Perth Australia
Ok, this is my 4th instalment for the 6-week trip. I took alot of photos and these are the better ones. Again, apologies for the watermark.

I actually took a few habitat shots for those planning a trip up there, so look out for them as well!

This Spotted Goanna Varanus panoptes was hanging around the station and are often found digging in the garden. Probably after beetle grubs or insects.
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Most of the habitat we trapped this week was sandstone country alongside or near a large river.

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Consequently, Freshwater Crocodiles were reasonable common! This young one allowed me to creep up at night.

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Litoria copelandi are pretty common aroudn the rocks.
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The magnificent tree frog Litoria splendida is also found in the rocks. This fella is a Kimberley endemic and a beautiful species.

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Another good find was this Chattering rock frog Litoria staccato. These guys are only recently described and are found only in the kimberley region.

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Our old friend the Northern Knob tail gecko was also found around the rocks
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A great find, although not new to me, was this stunning little clawless gecko Crenodactylus occelatus rostralis. I'm sure as soon as someone has time and money they'll examine this species and discover a fair few species.

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And just to give you some scale, thats my little finger.
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A rock dwelling specialist, Cryptoblepharus megastictus was pretty common. They would ahve to be one of my favourite skinks. SO much personality, and absolutely stunning.

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Another species associated with rocks, Heternotia planiceps.

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This fat kimberley spadefoot Notaden weigeli is shown here in it's full defensive posture, complete with thick sticky glue exuding from it's back. This glue will stick wet to wet, wet to dry etc etc etc.... and it's very sticky. Get it on your hand and shut your hand... you'll have trouble opening it once it's been given a chance to set. Really amazing stuff.

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And of course, with all those small soft critters getting about in the rocks, there are a heap of critters that like to eat them.

And speaking of weigeli... This monstrous Pseudechis weigeli was 115cm SVL... thats a big weigeli, as big as I've seen them.

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Also creeping about the rocks is this wonderful brown tree snake Boiga irregularis. They are particularly beautiful in the Kimberley and I never get tired of seeing these great snakes.

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Another frog eater is this Common tree-snake Dendrelaphis punctulatus. This tiny hatchling was about 25cm long and as thick as a pencil. A stunning little creature and a fearsome predator (if you're a frog).

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Also relatively common in the rocks during the day but incredibly hard to get a decent look at is the black-palmed goanna Varanus glebopalma. They move so quickly over the rocks it's as if they are mammals, racing off the edges of cliffs and down into caves. They are a beautiful monitor with an angular, bird-like head giving the impression of a certain degree of intelligence.

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The soles of their feet are quite remarkable with a very soft, moist feeling to them, like the very soft rubber on a rockclimbing shoe.

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Ah, thats the end of the photos I uploaded. More soon (still 2 more weeks to go!).

All the best,

Henry Cook


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 Post subject: Re: North Kimberley, WA, Australia
PostPosted: July 3rd, 2010, 6:02 am 
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Joined: June 23rd, 2010, 9:54 pm
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Location: Darwin, NT, Australia.
Good work Henry. Notice the trend yet? After I arrived the reptile species found were a lot cooler :D
You might need to add a "Nephrurus shaei" caption beneath each photo to cover your watermark.
Looking forward to seeing the rest up here.

Brendan.


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 Post subject: Re: North Kimberley, WA, Australia
PostPosted: July 3rd, 2010, 8:17 am 
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Location: Apache Junction (near Phoenix), Arizona
I'm really enjoying this continuously growing post!


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 Post subject: Re: North Kimberley, WA, Australia
PostPosted: July 5th, 2010, 12:05 am 
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Joined: June 23rd, 2010, 9:45 pm
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Location: Perth Australia
Thanks Brendan. What would we have done without you? (probably have left that massive king brown alone...) Glad you came along on the trip.

Bill, glad you're enjoying the post. After this post there should be about 20 more pics for the final week. More goannas and more elapids.

Ok, this is the penultimate (2nd to last) instalment so I'll make it quick. Week 5 was a fairly slow week as we trapped some pretty boring areas, but somehow managed to clean up. One member of the team, being new to the Kimberley, spent any spare time he had trying to locate a Kimberley speciality (photos in a sec).

Here are a few of the captures from that week.

Diporiphora bennetti are a pretty common little dragon in the basalt areas. Massive basalt boulders are also great habitat for some other critters including black-palmed monitor and Pseudechis weigeli(above).

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Carlia johnstonei is pretty common amongst the basalt. This one became very tame after he was fed flies several days in a row. By the end he'd run out from his rock crevice and greet us.

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Amongst the large boulders is this gecko that keys out as Gehyra australis.
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Interestingly you get this critter on the trees right next to it that also keys out as Gehyra australis...

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The Northern Knob-tails were a surprise in the basaltic country as I'd always pegged them to occur in sandy country. Clearly this is not the case.

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It was getting cold at this time of year. So cold in fact that one morning the river was steaming.

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The riparian habitat sites yielded a few nice critters....

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How's this? Two whipsnake species in the same funnel trap....
Grey Whipsnake Demansia simplex
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and Greater Black Whipsnake Demansia papuensis.

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Litoria copelandi are pretty common all over.

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In our spare time we went and searched this sort of habitat... What were we searching for?

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Well, this is one i spotted from a moving quad bike. In-situ....

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That's right, the kimberley speciality, Kimberley Rock Monitor Varanus glauerti.

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A stunning animal, I was very happy to get some more photos of this one.


One more instalment to go! Should go in sometime next week.


-H


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 Post subject: Re: North Kimberley, WA, Australia
PostPosted: July 5th, 2010, 5:22 am 
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Location: Yorkshire, England
AWESOME! Did you find any unusual or unexpected mammals?


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 Post subject: Re: North Kimberley, WA, Australia
PostPosted: July 5th, 2010, 3:40 pm 
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Location: Norcal Bay Area
I'm really enjoying this series. Nice assortment of critters, and awesome photography!


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 Post subject: Re: North Kimberley, WA, Australia
PostPosted: July 6th, 2010, 3:26 am 
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Amazing photos, Henry! You really found some terrific animals and your photos are just superb. I love the little defensive Notaden and the the freshwater croc staring at your lens. I did not realize that the Kimberley Rock Monitors were so tiny! Great little animal.

I am looking forward to the rest.

Regards,
David


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 Post subject: Re: North Kimberley, WA, Australia
PostPosted: July 7th, 2010, 10:25 am 

Joined: June 7th, 2010, 7:51 am
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I didn't notice your water mark until I saw your first pic of the Notaden melanoscaphus about to eat a Knobtail. It's my fault for skimming past non-snake photos. I wish you had a full body shot of that King Brown. He looks impressive. Fantastic photos!

Jamison


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 Post subject: Re: North Kimberley, WA, Australia
PostPosted: July 8th, 2010, 5:16 am 
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EPIC, can't wait for more!


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 Post subject: Re: North Kimberley, WA, Australia
PostPosted: July 12th, 2010, 6:16 pm 
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Mrichardson, we didn't get any unexpected mammals. We barely get any mammals, so anything is a blessing! It was a surprise to get water rats (see below) but they are usually present along water ways in the Kimberley (and over alot of australia).

Moloch, Kimberley rock monitors do get alot bigger (about 80cm?). Baby ones are best for photography as there is less distance between the camera and the goanna so the flash(es) doesn't/don't have to work as hard.

Jamison... Full body shots of king browns? There might be something for you in this post... :D


Finally, I've got around to having a look at the final lot of photos. Two of my favourite animals of the trip feature in this post.

I'll start on the birds, the hardened herpers can skip these first few pics...

Finches were pretty common, so long as all you wanted to see was Crimson, Longtailed and Double-barred ones. I saw one gouldian and a few chestnut mannikins. No pictorellas :(.

Young crimson
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Double Bar FInch
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Some of the grevillea was flowering, and small honeyeaters were abundant for a change, outnumbering the large honeyeaters. The only one I bothered to photograph was the tamest and unfortunately least spectacular one, the Rufous-throated Honeyeater.
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Mammal-wise, we caught a few at the last site. The most common dasyurid was the very cool red-cheeked dunnart Sminthopsis virginae. Typically found in damp areas, I can imagine these fellas eat alot of frogs. I'd think they might be affected by toads, but I have found them on the dam wall at Fogg Dam...

Another critter that relishes the toads is the slightly frightening water rat Hydromys chrysogaster. These guys eat toads by killing them with their chisel-like teeth and then disembowelling them, eating the non-toxic fat bodies and the like. I've seen plenty but never caught them in traps before. They are very intimidating animals, growling and hissing as they pace the cage trap.

Here's the only pic I have of a water rat where I'm not making a goofy face. At about 400grams I was quite awake to the possibility of losing alot of skin, flesh and blood if i slipped whilst handling. On the other hand it was nice to see them up close and see their big whiskers (very seal-like) and massive paddle-shaped hind feet.
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The other end of the size spectrum is the Delicate mouse Pseudomys delicatulus. A tiny little native mouse that is ferocious. They bite alot, and hard.

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Herps now I've done with the mammals.

This Roth's treefrog is pretty common along creeklines and made a nice subject...

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... as did this Litoria rubella poking out from a knot-hole in a tree.

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It was refreshing to find that spiny tail geckos Strophurus ciliaris were common amongst the rocky outcrops. They seemed to be active on the coldest nights when most other critters had gone to ground. Perhaps they were the most evident as they were "roosting" in trees though...

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There were plenty of Oedura gracilis, Gehyra nana & australis, Nephrurus shaei about as well but i didn't photograph then as I already had a bunch of pics.

We did get a couple of blind snakes though,

Ramphotyphlops unguirostris

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and R. kimberleyensis were both interesting and slightly different finds.

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As well as the blind snakes we got some black and olive whipsnakes. Blacks featured in the last post, here are the olives.

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This black headed python was found crising about during the day. It was pretty cold at night so not all that surprising. We'd previously (several weeks earlier) found a big one at night, but temps at night would have been 10degrees warmer.

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I picked up the final two monitor species at this site. I need two more to get the full complement of goannas recorded on the two stations we worked on. I'd seen mitchelli, mertensi, panoptes, scalaris, Storrs, glebopalma, glauerti and I need two more.

I was happy to find this sweet little ridge tailed goanna Varanus acanthurusunder a rock.

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And I was absolutely stoked to finally get my hands on an elusive freckled goanna Varanus tristis. This big adult male was stunning, a really impressive animal. We saw one individual in a large dead tree, and this one was found in a rock crevice.

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The find of the trip would be a toss up between the elusive tristis, the amazing N. weigeli and this, the top predator of the Kimberley. At 221cms total length this King Brown Snake was the largest wild non-python I'd ever seen.

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Obviously to get the measurement we had to catch the snake. Here it is be handled to show actual size.

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The final herp for the trip was seen on the evening of the last full day.
Whilst washing traps back at the homestead this nice little King Brown came wandering through, probably curious at the commotion near the frog pond. After some photos it was released back at the pond, the station managers happy to have such a beautiful creature living close by.

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I hope you've enjoyed the post. I apologise for the long time between additions, but i did what I could.

All the best,

Henry Cook


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 Post subject: Re: North Kimberley, WA, Australia
PostPosted: July 12th, 2010, 11:35 pm 
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Location: Kuching, Sarawak (Borneo)
N. I. C. E.!!! Loved that King Brown!


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 Post subject: Re: North Kimberley, WA, Australia
PostPosted: July 13th, 2010, 1:16 am 
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Excellent, Henry. It was nice to see those monitors, but wow, what a King Brown!

Regards,
David


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 Post subject: Re: North Kimberley, WA, Australia
PostPosted: July 13th, 2010, 2:16 am 
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Location: Darwin, NT, Australia.
Good pics mate :thumb:
Who's the stud holding that King Brown? :lol:

I'd bet Henry $10 that he was going to get the end of his finger chewed off by that water rat. Sadly he kept his finger and I lost $10.

Brendan.


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 Post subject: Re: North Kimberley, WA, Australia
PostPosted: July 13th, 2010, 5:56 am 

Joined: June 7th, 2010, 5:32 am
Posts: 240
Fantastic shots of fantastic animals. Anyone who doesn't love a mulga doesn't have a heart.


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 Post subject: Re: North Kimberley, WA, Australia
PostPosted: July 13th, 2010, 5:20 pm 
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Location: Perth Australia
Brendan, where are your photos? I've got a shot of you here that Gina says is "disgusting"... I'll send it through.

Just put a few of the crackers up here. Like the glebopalma photos...

It was certainly a memorable animal. I have no idea how old animals like that are, but it'd take a while to get that big.

-H


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 Post subject: Re: North Kimberley, WA, Australia
PostPosted: July 13th, 2010, 6:11 pm 
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WW** wrote:
Fantastic shots of fantastic animals. Anyone who doesn't love a mulga doesn't have a heart.

And is probably a communist, too :D


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 Post subject: Re: North Kimberley, WA, Australia
PostPosted: July 13th, 2010, 9:38 pm 

Joined: June 7th, 2010, 11:59 am
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very nice pics of some interesting animals.
I love those spadefoots.

I thought this one was looking to eat your signature at first glance:
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 Post subject: Re: North Kimberley, WA, Australia
PostPosted: July 13th, 2010, 10:37 pm 

Joined: June 7th, 2010, 5:32 am
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LOL @ twoton!


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 Post subject: Re: North Kimberley, WA, Australia
PostPosted: July 14th, 2010, 3:48 am 
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Location: San Antonio, TX
This might be one of the best photographic series we've had here on FHF. Even your "ordinary photo" of the black whipsnake was better than most of the stuff the rest of us shoot. I can't imagine why people steal your photos? ;) You're going to need a bigger watermark!

A 221cm King Brown??? I'm not sure I would have the guts to have done anything more than a in situ shot of that!

Superb stuff, thanks for sharing.

Chris


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