Wet Tropics, Queensland

After fleeing the approaching tropical cyclone Ului, we ended up at Tully Gorge. This spot is famous for scrub pythons, but the last time I was there I found only a road-killed one. This time I was hoping we’d be able to find a live one, but the light-but-unending rain seemed determined to throw a spanner in the works. We poked around the campground as the final rays of sunshine disappeared over the horizon. We saw the ubiquitous Carlia rubrigularis dashing around in the leaf litter, and there were dozens of baby cane toads bouncing around the place. As darkness fell, we realised that while the rain might dash our hopes of finding a huge number of reptiles, it would mean that frogs would be out in force. Tully Gorge is home to a great variety of frogs, including some threatened species. Sure enough, poking around the various creeks proved very fruitful on the froggy front.

Common mistfrog (Litoria rheocola)
Common mistfrog (Litoria rheocola)

Australian lacelid (Nyctimystes dayi)
Male Australian lacelid (Nyctimystes dayi) calling from vegetation by the side of a stream.

Australian lacelid (Nyctimystes dayi)
Australian lacelid (Nyctimystes dayi). They get the name ‘lacelid’ from the metallic patterning on the lower eyelid.

While driving between creeks, we did manage to find a number of snakes on the road. We saw eastern small-eyed snakes, brown tree snakes, and a stumpy-tailed scrub python.

Scrub python (Morelia kinghorni)
Scrub python (Morelia kinghorni)

Scrub python (Morelia kinghorni)
Scrub python (Morelia kinghorni)

The following morning we went looking for waterfall frogs (Litoria nannotis). These frogs are unusual in that they not only breed in streams, but they also spend most of their non-breeding time in there. On top of that, they can be active during the day. I sat by the stream quietly for about 30 minutes before getting a brief glimpse of one as it climbed into view, but the flash of my camera frightened it and it jumped back down into the stream.

Waterfall frog (Litoria nannotis)
Waterfall frog (Litoria nannotis)

After Tully Gorge we headed to Wooroonooran National Park. The rain hadn’t eased, so it was going to be another night of frogging.

Green-eyed tree frog (Litoria serrata)
Green-eyed tree frog (Litoria serrata)

Green-eyed tree frog (Litoria serrata)
Green-eyed tree frog (Litoria serrata)

Creaking nurseryfrog (Cophixalus infacetus)
Creaking nurseryfrog (Cophixalus infacetus)

Robust whistlefrog (Austrochaperina robusta)
Robust whistlefrog (Austrochaperina robusta). This male was calling from under a curled up leaf in the middle of the walking track. While standing in the dark trying to pinpoint the location of this frog, another frog started calling from head-height in a tree about 30cm in front of my face…

Ornate nurseryfrog (Cophixalus ornatus)
…I flicked on my head torch and saw an ornate nurseryfrog (Cophixalus ornatus).

Ornate nurseryfrog (Cophixalus ornatus)
Ornate nurseryfrog (Cophixalus ornatus)

The next day we headed to Davies Creek to try our luck at northern bettongs and an assortment of other interesting beasties. That night we saw three bettongs bouncing across the road. If you keep driving up the road, you leave the dry forest and enter the rainforest. At night in the rainforest we found a northern barred frog (Mixophyes schevilli), and during the day we found Cogger’s sun-skink (Lampropholis coggeri, another new reptile species for me) and lots of Carlia rubrigularis.

Northern bettong (Bettongia tropica)
Northern bettong (Bettongia tropica)

Northern barred frog (Mixophyes schevilli)
Northern barred frog (Mixophyes schevilli)

Cogger's sun-skink (Lampropholis coggeri)
Cogger’s sun-skink (Lampropholis coggeri)

Carlia rostralis
Carlia rostralis. Seen running around the dry forest during the day.

We spent our final night at Mt Lewis and Kingfisher Park, north of Julatten. I managed to see (but not photograph) a number of interesting birds, such as a blue-faced parrot-finch and buff-breasted paradise kingfishers. I did manage to photograph some other critters.

Jungle carpet python (Morelia spilota cheynei)
Jungle carpet python (Morelia spilota cheynei)

Chameleon gecko (Carphodactylus laevis)
Chameleon gecko (Carphodactylus laevis)

Chameleon gecko (Carphodactylus laevis)
Chameleon gecko (Carphodactylus laevis)

Cogger's barred frog (Mixophyes coggeri)
Cogger’s barred frog (Mixophyes coggeri)

White-lipped tree frog (Litoria infrafrenata)
White-lipped tree frog (Litoria infrafrenata)

Northern dwarf tree frog (Litoria bicolor)
Northern dwarf tree frog (Litoria bicolor)

Noisy pitta (Pitta versicolor)
Noisy pitta (Pitta versicolor)

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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3 Responses to Wet Tropics, Queensland

  1. Thanks Neil! When are you coming over to see these things for yourself!?!

    Stewart

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