about us

Australia, 2011
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6

Part II: First Night in Darwin
     Peter, Nick and I joined up with Rico Walder and headed out on a late flight to Darwin. Arriving after dark, we took a cab to Grungle Downs, a fantastic bed and breakfast outside of Darwin. After a warm welcome from Christie, the owner, and a quick look around to claim our rooms and stash our gear, we headed out to have a look around for herps in the landscaping and outbuildings around Grungle Downs. A few frog species, including one of my favorites, the iconic green frog (Litoria caerulea), were found in a garage.  Rustling in the leaf litter alerted us to the small, but beatiful northern bar-lipped skink (Glaphyromorphus douglasi). A Dtella gecko (Gehyra sp) or possibly a house gecko (Hemidactylus frenatus) was cruising around the Grungle Downs sign along the roadside, so I snapped a quick picture of this fast moving gecko.
green frog

bar-lipped skink

      We then moved on to search the treeline along the perimeter of the horse paddock. The haunting sound of the resident curlews accompanied us on our search. A brushtailed possum was spotted low in a tree, but retreated when the cameras came out. A small agamid rustled through the leaves, but also dissappeared before we could get an id on it. Turning the corner, Peter and I almost stepped on a beautiful Darwin carpet python (Morelia spilota variegata), one python I was really hoping to see on this trip. We were very happy with this find and took many pictures of this amazing snake.
Darwin Carpet
     This also fueled our fire for continued searching around the grounds, and in short order another frog species, ***, was found, as well as a tiny Binoes gecko (***).

binoes gecko
       After a fairly disappointing search through some bush behind the grounds, we decided to make our way back to Grungle Downs. Upon one last check around the swimming pool yielded a slatey grey (***) in the middle of consuming a cane toad (Bufo marinus). The snake, however, was not moving, and while trying to ascertain if it was alive, the snake proceeded to spit out the toad. This may have saved the snake from an untimely death, but instead of thanking us, he decided to strike repeatedly, making a photo shoot very difficult. After getting some photos, we retreated to the air conditioned rooms after a great first night of herping!

slatey grey

Rapid deployment herpers
Guys (L to R: Rico, Peter, and Nick) hanging at Grungle Downs
      The following morning, we took another look around the grounds in the light. Another highlight of the trip for me was finding a beautiful female Northern Territory frilled lizard (Chlamydosaurus kingii). It was a magnificent and large animal with vibrant reds and yellows on the frill. These lizards are highly entertaining in their actions and it was fun to observe this animal. Unfortunately we didn't see any other frillies around the grounds, although Christie reported that they are fairly common around the homestead, including an impressive male that dominates the area. I spent a few hours looking around the paddock and the yard for more frillies, but this gal would be the only one we found.
frilled lizard

Frilled lizard frilling

frilled lizard
Back of the frill shot
frilled lizard
Another "wanker shot"
Part III: The Dorat Road