Field report

It’s Wednesday, 6:45 AM. We’re staying in some cabins just on the outskirts of Kenilworth. We’re looking at aspects of behaviour and performance in pacific blue eyes (Pseudomugil signifer). We’ve caught some fish, set two males and one female up in a tank, and we watch their behaviour. Males display to each other and to females. Dominant males will also chase subdominant males. We’re trying to establish what morphological characteristics are correlated with dominance (i.e. do all the dominant males have bigger/brighter fins than the subdominant ones?).

Behind the main cabin is a compost heap. It’s a 1.5 metre diameter pit lined with corrugated iron and filled with grass clippings. So it’s basically a big pit trap – things fall in and can’t get back out again. The first night we were here (Sunday) we found out just how effective this pit trap is. It had caught a whole bunch of cane toads (Bufo marinus) and one keelback (Tropidonophis mairii).

Keelback (Tropidonophis mairii)

At night we’ve been driving along some country roads looking for snakes. On Sunday night we found a dead keelback that had been run over.

Roadkilled keelback (Tropidonophis mairii)

We then found a very bitey live coastal carpet python (Morelia spilota mcdowelli). That was it for the first night. On Monday night we found a squished pink-tongued skink (Hemisphaeridon gerrardii).

Pink-tongued skink
Roadkilled pink-tongued skink (Hemisphaeridon gerrardii)

Tuesday night we found nothing. We’ll go out again tonight (Thursday) and hopefully find some stuff.

To get to the cabins you have to drive down a dirt road that crosses Booloumba Creek in two places. Every night the creek crossings are teeming with frogs. In fact, there are heaps of frogs all over the place here. We’ve seen Litoria brevipalmata, L. lesueuri, L. rubella, and no doubt more that I can’t remember and/or identify.

Stony creek frog
Stoney creek frog (Litoria lesueuri)

The official Team Wilson song has become Ghetto Gospel, by Tupac with Elton John. Team Leader Robbie feels that the song expresses all the beliefs and values The Team holds dear. Team Leader Robbie also has a connection with Tupac, with both young men sharing similar upbringings on the wrong side of the tracks, being involved with gangs, only to turn their lives around and become successful in their chosen fields.

About Stewart Macdonald

I'm a wildlife ecologist living and working in Queensland, Australia. I spend most of my time in the bush finding and photographing wildlife.
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