During a pruning frenzy yesterday I came across this rather large Spiny Leaf Insect or Macleays Spectre (Extatosoma tiaratum). She was looking decidedly nervous as I approached enthusiastically with my secateurs, snipping away at branches and so removing leaves she had been happily feeding upon.
I don’t blame her for feeling under threat as she was left somewhat exposed, despite her good camouflage. Needless to say I changed course and left that area of the garden for another day. Luckily we have planted quite a number of Xanthostemon verticillatus as it appears to be a favourite food for a variety of stick insects. A quick check today has revealed that she is on the same bush but safely tucked under some green cover. This garden surrounds the pool where I found a male Spiny Leaf Insect in 2013. Which leads me to wonder if I need to improve my powers of observation ….. or perhaps I haven’t been spending enough time tending to the shrubs in that garden.
And in other news ……….. the Amethyst python curled up around her eggs since November last year has now moved on. My granddaughter and I checked under the cover on Jan 1st and both snakes were there. When I checked on Jan 3rd the Carpet Snake was still guarding her eggs but only the empty shells of the Amethyst were left. No sign of young snakes and no sign of the adult. The Carpet snake is still curled up in the same area but in recent days I have seen her stretched out and I can see her eggs are empty. We have no idea why she remains in the same position.
A peak under the weed pile plastic yesterday afternoon didn’t reveal any reptiles but Allen did find a small clutch of eggs. However, when he returned after dark, once the day had cooled down, he found a Carpet Python curled tightly around her eggs. About 400 mm apart, also taking advantage of the warm, dry place was an Amethyst Python nestled well under the vegetation.
The pink arrows point to the snakes. Carpet python on the left and the Amethyst Python on the right.
This morning they were both still there – we moved a bit of vegetation away from the Carpet Python’s head and as she moved it was possible to get a glimpse of an egg. After a couple of quick photos we carefully replaced the plastic and weed mat and left them both in peace.
As far as we know there is only one clutch of eggs – we’ll try to keep an eye on events under the cover without causing too much disturbance.
A beautiful sunny morning after several days of rain and I wasn’t the only one happy to enjoy the warmth of the sun today.
This Carpet Python was basking on the weed pile plastic this morning ……. the Amethyst Python photographed a couple of days ago wasn’t visible but we didn’t check under the plastic as we didn’t want to disturb whatever arrangement they had. The two species don’t usually hang out together so we suspect they are taking turns.
Carpet Python (Morelia spilota)
Meanwhile the chooks are having green feed brought into their outside run as we think it’s a bit risky to let them out when the weed pile is one of their favourite places to scratch. I enjoy having pythons around but I draw the line at providing them with a feathered meal!
Several days of rain has cooled our ambient temperature somewhat and I found this beautiful Amethyst python (Morelia amethistina) lying on some black plastic that I use to cover my weed pile. The snake was seemingly content to absorb the warmth from the plastic and made no attempt to move but as the pile of weeds is quite close to the chook pen I decided to leave the girls inside for a while.
Maximizing exposure of its’ body to the warmth of the plastic.
A closer view showing a glimpse of the iridescence shining on the skin.
Then a short time later Allen called me outside to look at a different snake he had uncovered while cleaning up a dead palm that had collapsed. It’s not a particularly good photo as this little reptile was feeling rather vulnerable and was not wanting to pose for a photo. As we were not entirely sure of its’ identity at the time, we were not inclined to pick it up for closer examination.
Identification has been suggested to be Small-eyed Snake (Cryptophis nigrescens)
Today the temperature rose dramatically but the humidity remained low, a breeze was blowing and it would have been enjoyable weather if it hadn’t been for the smoke haze from the extensive fires on the Atherton Tablelands. As an ex-resident of country Victoria I particularly dislike smoky, hot, dry days.
After spending a beautiful (and productive) morning in the garden I went looking for the Barred Cuckoo-shrikes I could hear – they were feeding out-of-sight in a large fig tree but I had a happy time observing the Double-eyed Fig-parrots that were much lower down in the same tree, along with Fig Birds and Yellow Orioles. The melodic calls of the Yellow Orioles seem to increase in frequency as the weather warms until they become a background to our summer days.
The last few months of dry, windy weather has been quite a contrast to last year’s seemingly endless ‘wet’. The windy periods usually ease off later in the afternoon – a delightful time to be enjoying the outside.
Some of our shallow ponds are mere puddles and there are lots of exposed bank which can make for some interesting sightings – many not captured on camera owing to hands being full with other equipment!
This Keelback or Freshwater Snake (Tropidonophis mairii), one of many that we have recently sighted, is of the typical colouration that we see in our area. Continue reading
…skin and although I sometimes fantasize about a total skin renewal, this post is about snakes. I’ve written about Carpet Pythons in a previous post ‘Keeping Warm’ but this particular Carpet Python (Morelia spilota), resting on some mown grass near one of our ponds, was just starting to slough its old skin. Continue reading
Although we’ve been home for more than a week it has taken a little while to settle down to writing and we have had the distraction of family visiting as well – that’s enough excuses! We thoroughly enjoyed our trip and have many treasured memories, not always accompanied by a photo! The following are a few of my favourites.
As I was showing my brother David the growth in the vegetation in our newest wetland system he pointed to some ripples coming across the water and we wondered if it might be a snake. The source of the ripples was just out of sight so we both stood quietly watching the movement coming closer Continue reading