Brigalow, Mulga lands and Channel country, QLD

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Azemiops
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Brigalow, Mulga lands and Channel country, QLD

Post by Azemiops » March 10th, 2012, 8:09 am

Back in November 2011 whilst we were still living in Brisbane, myself, my girlfriend Kayleigh and two friends from the UK - Matthew Minchin and David Nixon - headed out for a two week herping trip, driving 3,000km west to Windorah, Queensland. We had many target species for this trip, but there was one in particular that we had all our fingers and tossed crossed for - the Inland taipan, Oxyuranus microlepidotus. Now, its need to be known that on this trip, we were unsuccessful in finding this species, but we were lucky enough to come across many others.

We started out by driving to an area close to Dalby, around 3 hours from Brisbane. After an hours herping in the area, we had already photographed our first few snakes.

Dwyer's snake, Parasuta dwyeri

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Spotted black snake, Pseudechis guttatus

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We also got this little Lace monitor, Varanus varius

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That evening, we continued to drive west and ended up camping in Westmar. During that evenings road cruising, we came across four live eastern brown snakes, Pseudonaja textilis, crossing the road, along with 8 DOR.

During a short photography session, this is the best one I got.

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The next day was short of herps, and we spent much of our time trying to get some miles under our wheels, this time getting as far as Charleville. The most notable find of the day was a juvenile speckled brown snake, Pseudonaja guttata, but this little elapid disappeared down a hole, just as we were getting our cameras ready - so sadly no photos!

Early one morning, we were driving down the road and spotted a small, dark-coloured lizard sat in the middle of the road. As soon as the car doors were open, the lizard bolted for the nearest tree with us in hot pursuit.

I was roped in to the climb the tree

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And we were rewarded with a Freckled monitor, Varanus trisits

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A short drive later, and we had another snake species photographed. This adult western brown snake, Pseudonaja mengdeni, was found crossing the road midday.

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Ridiculously common were Central bearded dragons. They littered the sides of the roads for most of the trip.

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It wasn't long before we hit the red sands. These are very impressive when seen 'in the flesh' so to speak.

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Burn's dragon, Amphibolurus burnsi

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We finally made it to Windorah, and continued on for a further 100km west to the Morney plains, home of the Inland taipan. This was where we would be camping for the next 3 days.

The Morney plains. The Inland taipans live down this large cracks in the ground, feeding on plains rats that also inhabit the area.

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View from my tent

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We got up early each morning and head out searching, both on food and by car for Inland taipans, only giving up when the heat got unbearable. As previously mentioned, our attempts were unsuccessful.

I did managed to catch a Plains rat though. This is the main food source for most snake species that live out on the Morney plains. These rodents were in incredible numbers due to a lot of rain in the previous months.

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I think that's enough for now. There are a lot more photos to come, which I shall add in the coming days.

Thanks,

Tom

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monklet
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Re: Brigalow, Mulga lands and Channel country, QLD

Post by monklet » March 10th, 2012, 9:15 am

Must be nice! ...how do you get those big lizards to poise so well! :shock: :thumb:

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Re: Brigalow, Mulga lands and Channel country, QLD

Post by SnakeDude » March 10th, 2012, 11:30 am

I could only dream of ever seeing any of those species in the wild! nice job...
-Ian

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Re: Brigalow, Mulga lands and Channel country, QLD

Post by Fieldnotes » March 10th, 2012, 3:42 pm

Congrats on the cool herps, but i think I like the habitat pictures the best, especially the catch picture and view from your tent. It's amazing how barren that place is and how the creatures adapted to utilize the massive fissures in the soil. Australia Rocks!! :beer:

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Re: Brigalow, Mulga lands and Channel country, QLD

Post by mikemike » March 10th, 2012, 8:24 pm

Awesome man.

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Azemiops
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Re: Brigalow, Mulga lands and Channel country, QLD

Post by Azemiops » March 10th, 2012, 8:32 pm

Each evening whilst camping out on the plains, we would start to road cruise right on dusk. The herping this far out really didn't turn to much up, apart from a couple of species.

Stimson's python, Antaresia stimsoni

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Burton's snake-lizard, Lialis burtonis

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Just show how baron these plains are, heres a shot of Dave whilst we were out looking for Inlands

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During the day, we were on the trail of one of the largest reptiles found in the area

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And they really aren't too difficult to find.

Yellow-spotted goanna, Varanus panoptes panoptes

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Ring tail-dragon, Ctenophorus caudicinctus

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With the pickings pretty slim this far out, we decided to start slowly making our way back, in the hope that we would have a little more success. This proved to be a good idea.

One of our many campsites throughout the trip. Yep, thats a rented Nissan Tiida that we hired from Brisbane city. We told them we'd be heading up to the Sunshine coast for 2 weeks (about an hour north of Brissie). When I asked for unlimited kilometers, the lady obliged but did question it - "its not like you'll be driving to Sydney and back". Nope, we drove about 4,000km further than that........

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Eastern hooded scaly-foot, Pygopus schraderi

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A rather annoyed Burton's snake-lizard, Lialis burtonis

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One amphibian species I was really hoping to photograph was the Holy cross frog, Notaden bennettii. We eneded up finding several over the course of a few nights.

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Beaked gecko, Rhynchoedura ornata

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Box-pattern gecko, Lucasium steindachneri

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We found several of these fantastic rusty-coloured king browns, Pseudechis australis.

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Once again, still plenty more to come.

Thanks,

Tom

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Re: Brigalow, Mulga lands and Channel country, QLD

Post by stewart_macdonald » March 10th, 2012, 8:52 pm

Great stuff, Tom! That speckled brown snake east of Charleville would be a mega range extension as far as I know. Did you get any pics of it at all?


Stewart

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Re: Brigalow, Mulga lands and Channel country, QLD

Post by Curtis Hart » March 10th, 2012, 8:53 pm

I'm really enjoying this series. I particularly liked the Holy Cross Frog.



Curtis

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Azemiops
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Re: Brigalow, Mulga lands and Channel country, QLD

Post by Azemiops » March 10th, 2012, 9:00 pm

stewart_macdonald wrote:Great stuff, Tom! That speckled brown snake east of Charleville would be a mega range extension as far as I know. Did you get any pics of it at all?


Stewart
Sorry Stew, I didn't really make that very clear about where we found the Speckled. It was caught in Wyandra, not to far from Cunamulla, whilst we were driving out to Charleville. Unfortunately, we didn't get a single photo between us.

Thanks,

Tom

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Re: Brigalow, Mulga lands and Channel country, QLD

Post by StephenZozaya » March 11th, 2012, 2:07 am

Great post, Tom!

I haven't been there, but I would assume that Cunamulla is still out of the known range of P. guttata. Are you confident it wasn't an aspidorhyncha?

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Azemiops
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Re: Brigalow, Mulga lands and Channel country, QLD

Post by Azemiops » March 11th, 2012, 2:23 am

StephenZozaya wrote:Great post, Tom!

I haven't been there, but I would assume that Cunamulla is still out of the known range of P. guttata. Are you confident it wasn't an aspidorhyncha?
Thanks Stephen. This little snake was lacking the large rostral scale of P.aspidorhyncha. We also caught a juvenile P.aspidorhyncha in Bollon (photos to come) - they are quite distinct and are an easy Pseudonaja sp to identify, so I doubt we will have been mistaken in that way. We were pretty sure of our ID at the time, even with the knowledge that we were out of their known range (although I didn't think that we were too far away at the time). Perhaps it could have been a juvenile P.mengdeni? Very frustrating that we didn't get a photos, I guess i'll never know.

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Re: Brigalow, Mulga lands and Channel country, QLD

Post by StephenZozaya » March 11th, 2012, 2:30 am

Fair enough. What was the habitat like? I suppose you'd have mengdeni and textilis out there to make things difficult, although you could rule out textilis if it had a black mouth.

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Re: Brigalow, Mulga lands and Channel country, QLD

Post by Eipper » March 11th, 2012, 4:00 pm

Could also be modesta

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Re: Brigalow, Mulga lands and Channel country, QLD

Post by Azemiops » March 12th, 2012, 3:51 pm

Some more animals from this trip - these were all found whilst slowly making our way back to Brisbane through Bollon, St George, Westmar and Dalby over the period of 3 days.

Eastern spiny-tailed gecko, Strophurus williamsi

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Snouted brown, Pseudonaja aspidorhyncha

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Curl snake, Suta suta

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De Vis banded snake, Denisonia devisi

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Red-naped snake, Furina diadema

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Australian coral snake, Brachyurophis australis

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Grey snake, Hemiaspis damelii

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Spotted black snake, Pseudechis guttatus

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Spotted black habitat

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After getting back to Brisbane, we had a few days before David flew back to the UK, so we finished off with a little bit of local herping.

Rough-scaled snake, Tropidechis carinatus

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Eastern carpet python, Morelia spilota mcdowelli

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Thanks,

Tom

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Re: Brigalow, Mulga lands and Channel country, QLD

Post by stewart_macdonald » March 12th, 2012, 3:58 pm

I really like the spotted black snake photo. I've never been able to get a decent photo of that species.


Stewart

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Re: Brigalow, Mulga lands and Channel country, QLD

Post by SnakeDude » March 12th, 2012, 4:09 pm

I love the last carpet python pic. really shows how beautiful their scales are :beer:
-Ian

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Re: Brigalow, Mulga lands and Channel country, QLD

Post by Bill Love » March 13th, 2012, 6:46 pm

Great shots from interesting angles!

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Re: Brigalow, Mulga lands and Channel country, QLD

Post by Hans Breuer (twoton) » March 13th, 2012, 7:21 pm

I'm black, blue and green with envy. I wanna shoot pix like that!! You seem to use a lot of flash. Where do you position it? And what f-stop did you use - what ANYTHING, in fact? (sorry, no EXIF data in your chopped pix).

Thanks!

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Azemiops
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Re: Brigalow, Mulga lands and Channel country, QLD

Post by Azemiops » March 14th, 2012, 1:10 am

Hans Breuer (twoton) wrote:I'm black, blue and green with envy. I wanna shoot pix like that!! You seem to use a lot of flash. Where do you position it? And what f-stop did you use - what ANYTHING, in fact? (sorry, no EXIF data in your chopped pix).

Thanks!
The postion of the flash unit will differ with each photo - a lot of it depends on the weather, the time of day we are shooting and where the sun is. Same goes for the F-stop, but I always aim for maximum depth of field.

We are in the process of sorting our flights out the Borneo from KL in July, so I can show you how I do things when we get to Kuching.

Thanks,

Tom

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Re: Brigalow, Mulga lands and Channel country, QLD

Post by Hans Breuer (twoton) » March 14th, 2012, 1:13 am

yessssssss!

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Re: Brigalow, Mulga lands and Channel country, QLD

Post by TNWJackson » March 18th, 2012, 1:32 pm

Stunning photography Tom. So many great photos - far too many to single out individually. I am particularly envious of the H. damelli.

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Re: Brigalow, Mulga lands and Channel country, QLD

Post by jordo » March 18th, 2012, 3:28 pm

Great photos Tom, I can't wait to do the Brigalow Belt.

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