Going batty in Cairns

I got an email Saturday morning telling me that a rare bat species (Saccolaimus saccolaimus) had just been seen near Cairns. That’s a mere 4.5 hour drive from home, so I jumped in the car and planned to be at the site before dusk so I could see the bats as they emerged from their roost. I found the roost easily with the help of my local contact, and also found a nesting Papuan frogmouth in a nearby tree.

Papuan frogmouth (Podargus papuensis) on nest
Papuan frogmouth (Podargus papuensis) on nest

Papuan frogmouth (Podargus papuensis) on nest
Papuan frogmouth (Podargus papuensis) on nest

As the sun set, the bats streamed out of the hollow in the tree. The entrance to the hollow tree was quite high, so I didn’t manage to get any decent photos of them, but it was a privilege just to be able to see them at all.

Bare-rumped sheathtail bats (Saccolaimus saccolaimus)
Bare-rumped sheathtail bats (Saccolaimus saccolaimus) in hollow tree

Spectacled flying-fox (Pteropus conspicillatus)
Spectacled flying-fox (Pteropus conspicillatus) in a nearby tree

Word quickly spread about the bats, and the next week I was back up there to show a friend and bat expert the roost. I had a bit more time to plan this second visit, so another friend came along. On the way back home we stopped at a number of sites to track down some other critters, including what would be my first reptick for 2012.

Myola tree frog (Litoria myola)
Myola tree frog (Litoria myola)

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

Atherton Tableland mulch-skink (Glaphyromorphus mjobergi)
Atherton Tableland mulch-skink (Glaphyromorphus mjobergi). Reptick number 1 for 2012!

Giant white-tailed rat (Uromys caudimaculatus)
Giant white-tailed rat (Uromys caudimaculatus)

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

Fry's frog (Austrochaperina fry)
Fry’s frog (Austrochaperina fry)

Batick:
Saccolaimus saccolaimus

Reptick:
Glaphyromorphus mjobergi

Amphibitick:
Litoria myola

Avitick:
Papuan frogmouth

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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