Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Little Reptiles in December - Brown-snouted Blind Snake, Verreaux's Skink & Copper Tailed Skink

While working outside in the yard, gardening and working on the tractor, we often come across some little reptiles that are accidentally unearthed.  This little copper-tailed skink came off second best after coming in contact with the tractor bucket yesterday and was unfortunately too injured to be helped.  The Three-clawed worm-skink is the second one we have come across here, this one was found at night on the grass.  The Brown-snouted blind snake was also "unearthed" while planting trees.  We have come across many different sized blind snakes over the years here, but often they burrow back into the earth so quickly that they are hard to catch to get a photograph of them and thus have gone un-identified.  J & B.

Copper-tailed Skink, who came off second best after an incident with "Fergie" our Massey Ferguson Tractor.

Copper Tailed Skink (Ctenotus taeniolatus) at Jarowair 31/12/13

Three-clawed Worm Skink (aka: Verreaux's Skink) (Anomalopus verreauxii)

Three-clawed worm skink at Jarowair Dec 2013.

Brown-snouted Blind Snake (ramphotyphlops wiedii) at Jarowair - Dec 2013

Brown-snouted Blind Snake (ramphotyphlops wiedii ) note it is sheding its skin. 

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Carpentaria Snake at Jarowair 09/12/13

It has taken a couple of weeks to add this post as we had to bring in the advice from a few experts regarding the identification of this snake we found at Jarowair on 09/12/13. We have just received confirmation that the snake is a Carpentaria Snake (cryptophis boschami).  We must thank Bob & Judy Irwin, Joy from Scales and Tails and John McGrath for their help with an accurate identification of this snake from my poor photos - your help was greatly appreciated.

The addition of this confirmed snake sighting at our patch brings our overall snake list count to #12 which is pretty exciting for a 19 acre patch of previously stick-racked woodlands.  View the list here.

Below is a re-count of how we came across this new species of snake at our patch and what I sent to the experts for identification help:

Brendon came across a “different snake” (one we haven’t seen at our place before) two days ago while digging holes to plant some gum trees.  The place in which he was digging, used to have a tree in it which had since died, so it wasn’t compacted dirt at all – but had rocks around it and plenty of rocks in it.  The snake was around 55cm+ and was very quiet in nature despite being dug up.  Initially we thought it may be a juvenile red-bellied black snake, because of the dark back and a strip of a redish colour near the belly, but I don’t think that it is one due to the shape of the head and colour of the head.  My other thoughts are (with our limited knowledge) are Eastern-small eyed snake or Carpentaria Snake.   The photos I took aren’t very good I am afraid as it was moving quickly and hard to focus on as it was almost dark.  I have attached the better ones for you to have a look at if you get a chance.  We were pretty excited to see another new species at our place, but don’t want to identify it incorrectly for our list of recorded sightings.  The snake ended up finding a gap between some rocks and totally disappearing so we filled the hole back in loosely to leave it be – without planting a tree there!

Carpentaria Snake at Jarowair 09/12/13

Carpentaria Snake at Jarowair 09/12/13.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Juvenile Black-faced Cuckoo-Shrike

Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike, juvenile 

Common Bronzewing

Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo

Mud-dauper Wasp on a branch above the dam.

St Andrew's Cross Spider - Photo by C.R. Gray

Monday, December 9, 2013

Spike Centaury (Schenkia australis) 08/12/13

Spike Centaury (Schenkia australis) Family: Gentianaceae. Flowering at Jarowair End of November - Early December.  The flowers are more "Hot Pink" than the purple depicted in the photographs I have taken. Very pretty and vibrant little flowers.  J.G.

Spike Centaury Wildflowers at Jarowair

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Fringed Lily (Thysanotus tuberosus) 08/12/13

Yesterday I was thrilled to discover the Fringed Lily at Jarowair.  I haven't ever seen these before and found them mid-morning while mowing one of our walking tracks.  I marked the location of the flowers with a branch to come back to photograph them later, but by midday they had already almost closed up completely and didn't re-open for the rest of the day.  I returned today mid-morning with the camera, to not only see the three plants I had staked in full open flowers, but many more in the same area.  The Fringed Lily (Thysanotus tuberosus) from the Laxmanniaceae  is a grass-like herb said to live in moist sunny places amongst grasses.  The three petaled flowers with frilled edges only last for one day (most likely why we haven't seen them before).  The flowers are absolutely stunning and I now have a new favourite wildflower at Jarowair.  Judi.

Fringed Lily Flower that only last for one day at Jarowair 08/12/13

Cluster of Fringed Lily Flowers 

Fringed Lily

Closed Flowers of the Fringed Lily

Closed flowers of the Fringed Lily

Dollarbird's & Kingfishers

The Dollarbird's have been frequenting a hollow tree close to the house over the last few months.  Dollarbird's arrive to Northern and Eastern Australia in September each year to breed.  In March and April the birds return to New Guinea and the surrounding islands for the winter - lucky them!

We have also had the Chanel-billed Cuckoo's here early morning and late afternoons and I also saw for the first time here a Brahminy Kite soaring above the property - it was well in view and un-mistakable but by the time I assembled my camera it was far gone.

The Sacred Kingfisher's have also been busy ducking in and out of the termite mounds feeding their babies.

Gorgeous Dollarbird Pair at Jarowair 20/11/2013


Sacred Kingfisher calling out - early morning 08/12/13

Prickly Pear Tree - early morning with the sun coming through the trees.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

A Spotted Python & Carpet Python in one week. 28/11/13

A Spotted Python somehow managed to get into the bird aviary that has "snake and mice proof wire" at night.  The quails were not bothered by the python at all and showed their lack of fear going right up to it - of course the snake struck out at them, sending them up into the air and straight back down again (they aren't the best flyers) the python grabbing a few feathers! Only a few nights we saw a small carpet python crossing the culvert in the road in front of our patch.  We stopped the car and got out to watch it, slowly moving across the road in no hurry - it wasn't fazed at all by the lights of the car or the audience.  This is only the third small carpet python we have seen here, so it's good to know they are still around.

We have also been seeing quite a few Robust Velvet Gecko's inside the house and outside lately, both with full tail and regenerated tail's.

J & B

Spotted Python in the bird aviary with a fearless Quail 25/1/2013

Spotted python with a mouth full of quail feathers!
Brendon removed the spotted python from the aviary and let it go outside.

Carpet Python at Jarowair (iphone photo at night) 28/11/13

Robust Velvet Gecko inside the house. 25/11/13

Friday, November 22, 2013

Eastern Sedge Frog - Litoria Fallax 22/11/13

A new frog I.D for Jarowair - Eastern Sedge Frog (aka Eastern Dwarf Tree Frog) Litoria Fallax.
Found hear the house near our small fish pond which is surrounded by bromeliad plants (the perfect hiding place for frogs).

B & J
Eastern Sedge Frog

Eastern Sedge Frog (Litoria Fallax) in Brendon's hand - showing how tiny they are.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Garden Orb-Weaver Spiders at night. 15/11/13

While walking around last night looking for frogs (see previous post) - we literally ran into a huge amount of spiders in their webs.  The Garden Orb-weaver spider was the one we saw the most - their webs are just amazing.  Here is a couple of photos I took of them last night by torchlight. J.

Garden Orb-Weaver Spider at Jarowair 15/11/13

Garden Orb-Weaver Spider in it's stunning web.
A much smaller Garden Orb Weaver Spider in a spectacular web.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Frogs Galore by torchlight at Jarowair Our Patch 15/11/2013

We have recently had some much needed rain over the last few days at our patch with  +25mmls almost filling all of the rain-water tanks - thank goodness.

Around 8.30pm I went outside to check if the dog had wandered off, and stumbled upon a huge Scarlet-sided Pobblebonk Frog on our walking track that leads to the creek.  This is only the third time that we have seen these amazing amphibian's since owning this patch of land (although they are often heard).  I raced back to the house to get the camera, Brendon and the kids to show them as the children hadn't ever seen one before - the frog behaved perfectly letting me take a few photos by torchlight - what a magnificent frog they are!

The sound of the frogs mating at our little dam from across the creek was enticing so Brendon and I set off with the torches to see what else was around.  The sounds at the little dam amongst the Common Rush Grasses was deafening - we could hardly hear each other speaking.  Despite there being clearly an enormous amount of activity the frogs were really hard to see as most were in the water under the grasses.  We did manage a few photos of the ornate burrowing frog, bleating tree frog and a Great Brown Brood Frog clinging to the base of an ironbark tree.

We then decided to go for a walk all around the property and found a huge Green Tree Frog on the front door and on a power point outside of the shed,a tiny Eastern Sedge Frog,  a couple of Dainty Tree frogs including one tiny one and a whole heap of garden-orb weaver spiders.  While walking down to the back of the property I found another scarlet-sided pobblebonk frog near the chicken-pen where it is dry and there isn't any water nearby at all!!  I couldn't believe that we could see two in one night in different locations - when we are always looking for them! We also saw spotted marshfrogs and a robust velvet gecko with a regenerated tail, the salmon-striped marshfrog still remained elusive along with the emerald-spotted tree frogs.

After a great night walking around the property, we were saddened to find the carcass of a dead koala right at the back of our property near a large pile of logs.  This was a real downer on the evening, as we hadn't done a thorough walk of the whole property for over two weeks and I hate to think that possibly this koala may have been unwell and we weren't able to help it?  It is possible I guess that it could have died of natural causes, but the main possibility is that there has recently been dingoes or wild dogs in the area taking the neighbours chickens and ducks and one of these could have possibly gotten it while it was moving from location to location. :(  Not a nice thing to report but I will add it to the Koala tracker profile for research purposes.

Hope you enjoy the photos as much as we enjoyed taking them!  J & B.

Scarlet Sided Pobblebonk Frog 15/11/13


I took this photo with my hand near the Scarlet-sided Pobblebonk Frog to show it's size.

This is the second Scarlet-sided Pobblebonk frog we saw that night.

Bleating Tree-Frog - this shows how thick the rushes are making the frogs hard to see.

Unsure on the ID of this one yet - similar to a broad palmed rocketfrog? It was rather yellow underneath when it moved.

Eastern Sedge Frog

Brendon's hand near the tiny Eastern Sedge Frog to show how small it is.
Great Brown Brood Frog

Spotted Marshfrog

Spotted Marshfrog pair - one with the orange strip, one without

Spotted Marshfrog with orange stripe.

Bleating Tree-frog

Broad-palmed Rocket Frog

Ornate Burrowing Frog

Small Common Green Tree Frog

Common Green Tree Frog

Common Green Tree Frog on the front door.

Common Green Tree Frog on the front door - taken from the inside.