Rockhampton trip November 2023.

Rockhampton trip November 2023.

My fourth book Reptiles and Amphibians of southeast Queensland has been a work in progress for many years and I've made a commitment to myself this spring to get off my backside and get out into nature every chance I get. I will be attempting to find and photograph the remaining (there are many) critters required to finish it. Just to clarify I’ve extended the normally accepted southeast Queensland region to include the granite belt and the brigalow belt west to around St George/Surat and Roma and north to Rockhampton.          

So, early this November the Rockhampton district was my target area with a list of twenty or so reptiles and frogs to find and photograph. Some will be firsts for me (some people call them lifers) and others just need some better shots to replace the ordinary photos in my existing portfolio. I stepped well and truly outside of my comfort zone and approached via FB a local Rockhampton snake catcher/removalist to ask for guidance and advice on the area and some of my target species. Thanks to that approach I have met and made several new friends and discovered that some people are truly worth the effort to get to know. I May have to reconsider my “hermit” lifestyle in favour of a more gregarious one, but that's a story for another time and I’ll take it one step at a time for now.        Thanks to Max, Hayley, Jake and Rob from Central Queensland Reptile Services for your help and hospitality. If you live in the area and happen to require the service of a snake catcher I don’t think you could find a more dedicated and caring mob. So much respect for and understanding of the animals that they relocate.

The timing of the trip itself wasn’t perfect mainly due to consistently strong winds and lower than average temperatures especially at night. Needless to say, I didn’t achieve any of my “lifers” however I did manage a couple of species that I can now scratch off my list of “better photos required”. Another thing I did learn (I must be a slow leaner because it has happened before) was to check the camera settings before and after each use. I never touch them but somehow the resolution setting had changed from high to off and the photos were a much smaller file size than usual with greatly reduced resolution. Thankfully I still managed some decent photos for the trip, it could have been a lot worse. 
Righto, time for some photos. Thanks to all these critters for allowing me to take their mug shots without getting even the slightest bit cranky with me. Thanks also to the Central Queensland Reptile Services team for the access to some of their display animals, the Coastal taipan, Death adder, Lace monitor and one of the Spotties.
A gorgeous cental Qld Keelback, super chilled.
A couple pretty Spotted pythons, once again super chilled.
This skink is a great example of how difficult it is sometimes to identify and animal by colour and pattern alone. It took some help from others more knowledgeable than I to narrow it down to a Martin's skink Concinnia martini. The photo below it is of a "normal" colour variant of the species which until now is the only variation I had ever seen.
Coastal Taipan, majestic critters.
Beautiful Dajarra Death adder.
It took all of about 60 seconds to bury into the dead grass in the first spot chosen for the pic.
A stunning Lace monitor.
A not so chilled Brown tree snake. Nothing unusual for them though.
A chilled out and very pretty Carpet python.
Unexpected on a dry night, very cool though, a Common long-necked turtle out looking for a more reliable water source.
Another stunning but totally different looking Keelback.
The only frog photographed this trip. Salmon striped frog.
Not a reptile or a frog, cute though and deserving of having her photo taken.
That's it for now, thanks for reading and we hoped you enjoyed our blog.
Mike Donovan.
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