Dolphins in the Swan River

Just a quick blog with no real photos today.

I rode my bike into work today and had a lovely view of a mother dolphin with calf as I crossed over the Windan Bridge – very close to the new Perth stadium.  No photos unfortunately.

The Swan River is host to a pod of approx 25 Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins.  More information can be found at Dolphin Watch and they encourage people to become dolphin watchers and use an App to record sightings.

There were reports of 2 calves born in March – so perhaps the one I saw this morning was one of them.

Wonderful that we have mammals in our river so close to the CBD.

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Turtle Frog Mania!

My wildlife buddy Jimmy and I had been watching the weather for a few weeks.  Jimmy had researched that in October to November after a day of pour rain means turtle frogs come out to find a mate.  He had seen them twice before.

Turtle frogs spend most of their life underground in burrows and they mainly eat termites.  They come to the surface for a short period to find a mate and then spend 4 months of foreplay whispering sweet nothings to each other.  Then in Feb they mate, eggs are laid in the burrow and they turn into frogs – effectively bypassing the tadpole swimming stage.

Anyway back to the weather – we had made plans twice already but the rain either didn’t happen or just wasn’t enough.  Anyway this Wednesday had 10-15mm+ rain and it had dried up a little in the arvo but things were still damp.

Jimmy did a recce and sent excited texts that he could hear them calling and that he had found one.  I left home later as I was getting kids in bed, etc but it looked like I was going to see my first turtle frog!

I drove to Reabold Hill carpark – parking about halfway up Scenic Drive – not going past the bollards which go up at about 8pm.  I could hear the frogs and Jimmy wanted me to find my own.  The tips were – use their calls to triangulate and narrow down their location (as you get closer they stop calling so you have to remain with headtorch off just waiting for them to call again) and they were often on the slightly more cleared sandy patches under the Banksia trees.

I heard quite a few and picked one to focus on finding.  It took me a while to get my ear in and I went a fair way into the bush – I could hear one calling really close but I couldn’t spot it!  Then there it was – just under a few pieces of dried grass were two – maybe they were a pair?

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The photos make them look much larger than there are – these shots will help get an idea of the scale in my hand.

I found about 6-7 that night which I was so pleased at – all the build up and two failed plans made this night more awesome!

These shots give an idea of the habitat they are calling from.

And a few more photos for good measure.

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I also spotted this insect – I think it might be some sort of native cockroach.

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Well another species found – now onto the next target – what might that be?

Herping at night

I had information from my wildlife buddy Jimmy that the first really hot day after winter is when the Herps (reptiles) will come out and can often be found on or by the road especially in the north around Two Rocks.

My bro and I got headed off for the hour odd drive about 8ish getting to Two Rocks Rd about 9:15pm – it was still in the low 20s so warm but nothing like the 37° odd day it had been.

We drove slowly along – pulling over for the mush faster other traffic – we went really sure what we were looking for but giving it a go anyway.  We saw lots of stick snakes 🙂 but this was our first herp but unfortunately road killed.

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I had this ID’d on a facebook page as a dugite.  I had been hoping for a Bardick but it wasnt to be.

We drove plenty more and then we saw this tiny grey thing right in the middle of the road but we were past.  We reversed back and saw this amazing south-western spiny-tailed gecko on the road.  We chuffed it onto the verge for its safety and to get some shots.

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My bro and I were so pleased to see this amazing gecko – the couple of hours driving were all worth it!  We will have to try again on another warm night…

Quenda, quenda, quenda – Piney Lakes

I had been on parental leave and this was my last weekday before heading back to work – there was a play date on at home so I was going to head out for some exploring.

In some of my research I had seen Piney Lakes had lots of Oblong Turtles and it was a place I had driven past many times wondering what it was like in there.  In my reading up they also spoke about Quenda that can be found there.

I drove in from Leach Hwy – noting you can’t park inside on weekends.

As soon as I got out of the car I heard the unmistakable call of a rainbow bee-eater – they are a summer visitor and fly down from the North & PNG to breed in sandy tunnels – so lots of places in Perth play host to them.

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Rainbow Bee-eater

There is an education centre which I suspect is the main function of the place.   I headed past there seeing lots of honeyeaters and wattlebirds.

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White-cheeked honeyeater

I walked through sculpture garden to the walk around the wetland.  Just as I entered the gate I saw a quenda dash away but wasn’t able to grab a photo.

As I walked on the track the vegetation is quite close and you can hear lots of birds.  I came across this awesome juvenile bobtail lizard getting some sun on this warm day.

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Just beyond I found a bigger bobtail with one eye – must have been a violent encounter in the past perhaps with a cat, dog or maybe fox?.

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I hadn’t seen or heard any more quenda for a while but then saw one dash into the bushes – they are pretty timid here.  Flitting about on a nest box was this striated pardalote.

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I also saw a skink dash away – I didn’t manage a shot – I was missing lots today.  Looking at the reptile book at home I think it was an odd-striped Ctenotus and they are pretty hard to identify without a really good shot or catching them.

I walked all the way round the vegetated lake and then went onto the boardwalk where I quickly spotted a quenda – this time I was quieter and it was feeding during the day but under vegetation most of the time.

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I spotted a couple more – if you were patient and quiet you could really watch their feeding behaviour.

I then spotted a bird which was zipping up and down tree trunks and I thought it might be a varied sittela but on examination it was a rarely seen but common white-browed scrubwren.

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I had a nice view of a family of splendid fairywrens – also known as blue wrens where the dominant male is an iridescent blue – it didn’t pose nicely for me!  I also saw a nice Western Wattlebird.

I was so pleased seeing quenda feeding in late afternoon – this has to become one of my spots to see them.

On leaving I saw another Western Wattlebird feeding on Banksia.

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This is a really nice spot – I am sure there are more reptiles to be seen and also amphibians – but the quenda during the day was the standout.