Return to Oz - part 1

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Jeff Lemm
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Return to Oz - part 1

Post by Jeff Lemm » September 20th, 2011, 6:24 pm

I just returned from a 2 week, non-herp trip to oz with my dad. Dad is 71 soon and has always wanted to go to Australia. When he was a guide in Denali, I promised him that if he guided me in Alaska, I would guide him in Oz. He lived up to his end and I had 3 kids! So my excellent wife said I could take him now, 8 years later. Dad has also had some health issues, and as you can see in the pics, half his face is paralyzed due to 2 brain tumor surgeries (benign luckily). Anyways, my dad is very in to geology, nature, the outdoors, and photography, so I tried to hit the big highlights. We started in Darwin and headed all through the Kimberley of W. Oz, back to Darwin, and down to Uluru and Alice Springs. The pics are just some highlights of the zillion pics we took. Not too many herps in the dry winter, but even when not looking you can find them. Enjoy!!
We started the first night meeting my good friend Grant Husband for some quick night-driving - all we really saw was this Children's python - the toads have trashed the place

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cool time exposure my dad took of us looking for aquatic snakes

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flock of galahs

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ring-tailed dragon

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the only toad we saw outside of Darwin was this fire-killed one just east of Kunanurra

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love those Kimberley boab trees

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red-tailed black cockatoos were common

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road train damage

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the Bungle-bungles, a favorite place of mine

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Cathedral Gorge in the Bungles

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Merten's water monitor I found in a hole in the evening

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bungles at night

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morning in the Kimberley

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dingo

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rainbow bee eater with bee

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many little Gehyras were around, as well as Heteronotia

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boab full of corellas in Derby

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aboriginal fisherman

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wedge-tailed eagle

From Derby we hit the 600 km dirt Gibb River road - so many cool sights. We started underground at Tunnel Creek

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freshwater croc in the cave

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black fruit bats in the cave

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the cave also had catfish, perch, shrimp, and other things

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at 71, dad is still a hardcore outdoorsman and photographer

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the next stop was the amazing Windjana Gorge

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the freshwater crocs were abundant and used to people

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some lady took this blurry pic of me

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on the nest

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lots of crocshine

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more wedgies

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peregrine

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beautiful king brown; I did see a huge one but he beat me to his hole

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Bell's Gorge

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more Merten's. Anyone who knows me knows that in Oz, I am usually looking for goannas. I got ditched by more than ever on this trip. I saw a glauerti here and failed on the pic. I also got ditched on this trip by storri ocreatus and baritji, but I have photo'd them on previous trips

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one of my dad's pics of me getting the above shot

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oblivious tourists

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blackhead

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Centralian bluey

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one of several fun river crossings

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jabirus

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Fogg Dam is being stalked by a large croc and the toads have hammered that place too

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plover beating down a kite

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Cogger's velvet gecko

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Okay, enough for part one, stay tuned for part 2

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Warren
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Re: Return to Oz - part 1

Post by Warren » September 20th, 2011, 7:12 pm

hi jeff,
nice shot of the stork making a C
nice kingfisher
good job all around! nice clear shots
warren

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Ribbit
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Re: Return to Oz - part 1

Post by Ribbit » September 20th, 2011, 7:15 pm

I can’t wait for part 2. (Fortunately I don’t have to since I see it has already been posted.)

A wonderful set of photos. Even with the cane toad horrors, there is so much to see there, and your photographs are terrific.

John

mikemike
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Re: Return to Oz - part 1

Post by mikemike » September 20th, 2011, 7:19 pm

Awesome post, Jeff. I love all the habitat shots. Do you have anymore of the Pseudechis?

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Re: Return to Oz - part 1

Post by monklet » September 20th, 2011, 7:31 pm

I think, unless you're Ozzie, cruising a Black-headed would be so incredibly odd and fantastic :crazyeyes:

Great stuff. 8-)

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Re: Return to Oz - part 1

Post by Natalie McNear » September 20th, 2011, 8:15 pm

Awesome! I love the incredible variety of everything (not just the herps) and the special meaning for you and your dad... One of the best Aussie posts I've seen on here yet. :thumb:

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Jeff Lemm
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Re: Return to Oz - part 1

Post by Jeff Lemm » September 20th, 2011, 8:52 pm

Thanks guys!! Mike, no more on that Pseudechis - they are quick!

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Re: Return to Oz - part 1

Post by mikemike » September 20th, 2011, 9:28 pm

Jeff Lemm wrote:Thanks guys!! Mike, no more on that Pseudechis - they are quick!
I'm sure it's not much different than cruising Coluber on a hot dirt road in that respect. haha.

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Fieldnotes
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Re: Return to Oz - part 1

Post by Fieldnotes » September 20th, 2011, 10:59 pm

Too cool... Now that is how to vacation in Australia :thumb:

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M.J.FRANETOVICH
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Re: Return to Oz - part 1

Post by M.J.FRANETOVICH » September 20th, 2011, 11:24 pm

Cool post Jeff, I know Denali NP well being a part time resident of Alaska. Pretty cool you had a chance to take your dad to Australia and guid him. :beer:




Mel

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StephenZozaya
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Re: Return to Oz - part 1

Post by StephenZozaya » September 21st, 2011, 12:50 am

Great series of posts, Jeff! Lots of great Kimberley scenery. I particularly like that pano of the Bungle Bungles. It's a shame you didn't get photos of the other goannas, but it's better than not seeing them at all.

To nit-pick, I think your ring-tailed dragon is a roundhead (Diporiphora) of some sort, and the Oedura is a marbled (O. marmorata). Cogger's velvets are only around the granite of far north-east QLD.



Stephen

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moloch
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Re: Return to Oz - part 1

Post by moloch » September 21st, 2011, 3:04 am

Wonderful shots, Jeff. You have some real beauties there. I especially like the shots of the Oedura ... incredible colours!

Regards,
David

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Re: Return to Oz - part 1

Post by mrichardson » September 21st, 2011, 4:13 am

Great post. I should really get myself back to Oz! I could never get over the amount of roadkill in the outback including feral hog, cattle, horses and Red Kangaroos.

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Will Wells
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Re: Return to Oz - part 1

Post by Will Wells » September 21st, 2011, 6:02 am

Very nice photography! I really like the night shots with stars. Keep up the great work.

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Re: Return to Oz - part 1

Post by dickbartlett » September 21st, 2011, 6:15 am

As always, Jeff, a fantastic post of a fabled land. Thanx for allowing all of us to accompany you and your dad on the journey. The habitat shots, from cavern to billabong added measurably. dick

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Re: Return to Oz - part 1

Post by Josh Holbrook » September 21st, 2011, 7:30 am

Reading posts and seeing pictures from Australia is like hearing a fairy tale of dragons and whatnot: completely otherworldly. Thanks for taking us there.

-Josh

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Jeff Lemm
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Re: Return to Oz - part 1

Post by Jeff Lemm » September 21st, 2011, 8:04 am

Thanks guys. Stephen, I think your id's are correct. The coggeri was a mindfart, I knew that one having seen both. Thanks for the roundhead id, that one was tough having not picked him up - always go with the resident ID's!! As fo9r goannas, like I said, I have wild pics of everything I saw, so no big deal. Its always a highlight to just see them, especially glauerti

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Re: Return to Oz - part 1

Post by Fundad » September 21st, 2011, 9:47 am

Thanks for taking us with you..

Love the Dad photos....

So Awesome.. :thumb: :beer: :beer: :thumb: :shock:

Fundad

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Bill Love
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Re: Return to Oz - part 1

Post by Bill Love » September 21st, 2011, 10:22 am

Very productive trip, with superb imagery to boot. Mucho grande thanx for sharing it!

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Mike Pingleton
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Re: Return to Oz - part 1

Post by Mike Pingleton » September 21st, 2011, 10:31 am

What a trip, on so many levels. I know who I want for a guide when I go to Oz :)

So many great pics, but this one just blows my mind!

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I'm flipping gobsmacked over that one.

thanks for sharing you and your Dad's adventure.

Mike

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Re: Return to Oz - part 1

Post by Hunter-MX » September 21st, 2011, 1:42 pm

First of all, amazingly diverse post. I love seeing everything, not just herps. Thanks

I was amazed how much this bird in Australia:
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looks like this bird in Mexico:
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Your Jacana looks exactly like the juvenile Northern Jacanas here as well.

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TNWJackson
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Re: Return to Oz - part 1

Post by TNWJackson » September 21st, 2011, 2:00 pm

Awesome post, some of the pics bring back memories because I was up there myself only a couple of months ago too - when I get my sh*t together (that'll be the day), I'll do a post of my own.

How well did you see that "king brown"? I can't see the head all that clearly in the shot but it looks a bit slender for Pseudechis.

Interesting that you say Fogg Dam has been hammered by the toads - the varanids there have been but the snakes/birds/crocs all seem to be thriving. The Shine Lab has actually found increases in the numbers of some snake species there since the arrival of the toads, presumably because of the disappearance of the varanids.

On the topic of toads, I was really bummed by the huge number of toads we saw on the road at night in the Kununurra/Lake Argyle area a few months back. I knew they were there but not that they were so thick on the ground - the density seemed (purely subjectively of course) to be greater there than anywhere else in the Top End in June/July.

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socalherper
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Re: Return to Oz - part 1

Post by socalherper » September 21st, 2011, 2:38 pm

Jeff, That was awesome!

Thanks for the post! I love that Black Headed Python ! Great stuff!

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Jeff Lemm
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Re: Return to Oz - part 1

Post by Jeff Lemm » September 21st, 2011, 2:58 pm

Thanks guys - when I first saw the king I thought w. brown, but when I got closer it was a king. I am comparing Fogg to 10-15 years ago and I was there in winter. I'm sure there's still quite a few things, but we saw nothing at all (which is a first for me)

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TNWJackson
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Re: Return to Oz - part 1

Post by TNWJackson » September 21st, 2011, 3:17 pm

Cool Jeff, I actually had the opposite experience in July, I grabbed a snake that was getting off the road, thinking it was a small mulga, but it turned out to be a western brown :lol:

I never went to Fogg Dam pre-toads so I can't comment on that. Greg Brown has some very interesting data from pre and post-toad nights (he's been on the wall over 80% of all nights in the past 12 years) though. A lot of the conclusions drawn from that dataset seem counter-intuitive in regard to the impact of the toads, but for that particular site at least, the data seem to speak for themselves.

As I said I never went there before the toads, but we walked the wall with Greg and in about an hour we saw 12-15 water pythons, a keelback and 5 or 6 slaty-greys. There were also lots of crocs (including the large "problem crocodile" that sits on the wall most nights) and frogs.

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Re: Return to Oz - part 1

Post by spiltbeerpirate » September 21st, 2011, 5:47 pm

Nice shots. So jealous! Love the black head. Ive been dying to get a woma. Saw a tiger snake in SA when I was there, but thats the only wild herp I saw in my 2 wks up and down the east coast. :( Some day I will do WA, so beautiful.

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Jeff Lemm
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Re: Return to Oz - part 1 (pics back up)

Post by Jeff Lemm » October 12th, 2011, 8:15 am

Sorry for the delay - enjoy!!

gus
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Re: Return to Oz - part 1

Post by gus » October 16th, 2011, 9:24 pm

Great photos,
I'd also suggest that your king brown may not be a king brown, it doesn't quite look right to me.

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Hans Breuer (twoton)
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Re: Return to Oz - part 1

Post by Hans Breuer (twoton) » October 17th, 2011, 1:55 am

The photo of your dad photographing the snake is simply wonderful. What a memory to cherish!

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-EJ
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Re: Return to Oz - part 1

Post by -EJ » October 17th, 2011, 2:36 am

Jeff... you probably know... that you are another one of those people that make me sick. The Galah Cocatoo flock is National Geographic quality... among others but that was my favorite. The Palm Cocatoo... You are one great photographer.

I can't put into words the feeling of this post in general. Nice. You are very luck all around and seem to share it very well.

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todd battey
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Re: Return to Oz - part 1

Post by todd battey » October 17th, 2011, 5:59 am

Jeff,

Great post of an obviously very memorable trip. You guys got some great long-exposure shots. Thanks for sharing your trip.

Todd

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Jeff Lemm
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Re: Return to Oz - part 1

Post by Jeff Lemm » October 17th, 2011, 8:30 am

Thanks everyone. Gus, I felt the saem about the king bgrown until I was on top of it. Just a real light young animal

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