In the 1950s Fogg Dam was constructed in the western part of the Adelaide River floodplain for the Humpty Doo Rice Project. The agricultural project ultimately failed, but Fogg Dam was left and remains a haven for wildlife.
We drove through the forest and saw a number of Amphibolurus temporalis running around. They’d dash up the nearest tree if you got too close to them.
We needed to sort out some accommodation, so we drove to Humpty Doo and got some beds at the pub. While we were at the pub, a storm hit us. It was very loud, but with not much wind and rain. As evening approached, we headed back to the dam. Spotlighting along the dam wall is a great way to see a whole bunch of reptiles. Even though the dam was only about 10 minutes away from us, the storm had obviously been significantly more powerful up there. There was debris and fallen trees all over the place, including a large fallen tree across the dam well. We got out and tried to shift it, but it was too heavy (even for someone with my brute strength). Luckily we could squeeze the car underneath the trunk.
As the sun set, flying insects came out by the millions. This is where wearing a head torch can be impossible. The light just above your face attracts every flying insect in the area, and you end up with things in your eyes, down your throat and up your nose. I had to take mine off (my head torch, not my nose) and use it as a hand torch. On dusk we saw a whole bunch of little skinks wriggling across the dam wall and into the surrounding vegetation. Unfortunately these lizards were far smarter than us, and we didn’t manage to get a good look at them. I think they were Glaphyromorphus douglasi.
After the sun had set, the frogs came out. Hundreds of Litoria dahlii crossed the road, or just sat on it. It was almost impossible to drive along the road without hitting some. We parked the car on the side and decided to brave the insects and walk along the wall.
When I was photographing the Roth’s tree frog, I heard a rustle in the grass just at the edge of the dam. I walked down through the grass towards the water. As I got close, a freshwater croc lunged at me to let me know I was getting a bit too close. He sat there on the bank while I took some pics (making sure, of course, not to smile at him).
Fogg Dam is well known for its population of water pythons (Liasis mackloti). I really wanted to see an adult, having seen only a little hatchling at Kakadu. I’ve known of people who’ve come to Fogg Dam to find water pythons, and found everything but water pythons. And I’ve known of people who come here and find 13 in an hour. Thankfully the herp gods were still kind to us, and it didn’t take long before we found a water python on the side of the road.
We also found (but didn’t photograph) a brown tree snake (Boiga irregularis), a slaty-grey snake (Stegonotus cucullatus), another snake that disappeared over the edge of the dam wall before I got a good look at it, a northern blue-tongued skink (Tiliqua scincoides intermedia) and a whole bunch of nankeen night-herons (Nycticorax caledonicus).