Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Searching for the Broad-headed Snake

Yesterday afternoon Jaime and I went looking for my favourite animal, the endangered Broad-headed Snake (Hoplocephalus bungaroides), in hopes of taking some photos. We went to a patch of escarpment where I had previously encountered one under the first rock I lifted, back in 2002. It was surprisingly a sunny and warm day, and the lack of wind was pleasant. Several small skinks were heard and seen scurrying away.
One of the first reptiles we encountered was a nice adult Lesueur's Velvet Gecko (Oedura lesueurii), the main prey item of the Broad-headed Snake, clinging to the underside of a rock. Jaime, 10 metres away, missed seeing it, as it wriggled into a crevice before she came over, but I guaranteed her we find another.

Shortly after finding the gecko, we found a small, dark, non-descript lizard underneath a rock. It was a Grass Skink (Lampropholis delicata), a very abundant, but interesting little skink nonetheless.

A couple of young Wall Skinks (Cryptoblepharus virgatus) were taking advantage of the sunshine and were running from crevice to crevice. They are small, fast, slender lizards, with two prominent cream stripes running down each side of the back (dorsolateral stripes).

Nearing the end of our search, Jaime lifted a rock which had a juvenile Lesueur's Velvet Gecko clinging to it. She was elated to have finally seen one, as all she was finding under the rocks were rock huntsmans, trilobite-looking cockroaches and ants with golden abdomens.
Unfortunately we couldn't find the elusive and beautiful Broad-headed Snake, but we didn't try lifting some of the 'best' rocks as we didn't want to risk damaging them, or whatever was sleeping underneath.

We heard a few birds calling away while we were there which included several Superb Lyrebirds, Laughing Kookaburra, Noisy Friarbird, Yellow-faced and White-eared Honeyeaters, and White-throated Treecreeper.

Reptiles for the day:
Lesueur's Velvet Gecko (Oedura lesueurii): 3
Wall Skink (Cryptoblepharus virgatus): 2
Grass Skink (Lampropholis delicata): 1

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