Last month I spent a couple of days out Alpha, west of Emerald. We saw a bunch of critters. Driving out from Emerald we saw on the road what was probably a black whipsnake (Demansia vestigiata), but neither of us got a good enough look to ID it with any confidence.
Driving along the roads (both dirt and sealed), we saw lots of dragons scuttling off into the roadside vegetation. I saw one of these dragons perched on a bit of tyre in the middle of the road. As we approached in the car it deperched (is that a word?) and sought cover under the tyre. We got out to investigate and found a central netted dragon (Ctenophorous nuchalis) under the tyre. He obviously didn’t see us as a threat, and he soon came back out onto his perch.
We found plenty of central netted dragons sunning themselves on the roads or perched on elevated objects, such as sticks and termite mounds.
We also saw a couple of other dragon species.
The patches of spinifex on red soils were skink central. We saw lots of supercharged lizards darting between clumps of grass. A bit of patience revealed two species of Ctenotus.
Another spinifex inhabitant was the ubiquitous Burton’s legless lizard (Lialis burtonis). These widespread legless lizards are found in most habitats across most of mainland Australia. I’ve seen most of mine at night, but they can be active by day, as this one was.
As we were driving around some paddocks we saw a few bits of corrugated iron. Sheets of iron on the ground make great homes for a variety of critters. We had a look under all the iron and found some really exciting creatures such as house mice (Mus musculus) and Bynoe’s geckos (Heteronotia binoei). One particularly large pile yielded the first close snake encounter of the trip.
At night we’d drive the roads trying to find some nocturnal critters running around. I was hoping to see a prickly knob-tailed gecko (Nephrurus asper), but I think all the rabbits were keeping the knob-tails at bay. I’m pretty sure there were knob-tails around, as there was a complete absence of dolphins. While knob-tails were nowhere to be seen, we found plenty of other beasts to keep us busy.
We found two black-headed pythons (Aspidites melanocephalus) on the road. The second one we found was a big, boof-headed individual who, judging by his scars, had seen a fair bit of action.
The area had received a fair bit of rain just before we got there, so a few frog species were out in force.
During the day we saw plenty of bird life, including some dancing brolgas (Grus rubicunda) who of course stopped dancing as soon as we got the cameras out.
On the way back home we stopped off at a lookout and found a Carlia pectoralis running around.
We got back to Emerald and flew back to Brisbane.