I have been wanting to go out herping in the colder weather for a while now. It’s a good time when reptiles can be found brumating (the reptile version of hibernating) and can be quite sluggish giving good views up close.
Jimmy was again game to join me with my 4 year old son and we managed to pick a beautiful clear winters day, but with some rain looming in the evening. We headed out at midday with Liam enjoying the car trip.
We headed to Sullivan Rock on Albany Hwy in Mt Cooke – it’s where the Bibbulmun track crosses the highway and there is a good sized car park. We crossed the road following the track where it crosses Sullivan Rock.
As we got to the rock we headed East to get to some areas where we thought less people would visit. Along the way we lifted rocks looking for reptiles – always carefully placing the rock back in exactly the same spot to minimise disturbance. Many rocky outcrops in the Perth Hills have been damaged with people taking rocks for their gardens, rock cairns being built, vehicles driven on the rocks damaging habitat and rocks just generally being moved. Many living things use the rocks as habitat – so they must be treated with care.
The first reptile we found was a Barking gecko (Underwoodisaurus milii). This is a pretty cool gecko that, when threatened, will raise its whole body up on its legs and ‘bark’ like a small dog. This one was pretty sluggish and ambled off underneath another rock.
The next thing we found was a scorpion under a rock – Liam was very keen to touch but we had to insist it was a bad idea!
We enjoyed a picnic lunch on the rock and then kept looking. There was quite a lot of water seeping down the rock but we didn’t find any frogs under the wet rocks or in some of the rock pools.
We found a couple of small skinks that moved off too quickly to ID or photograph.
We then found a family of Ornate crevice dragons (Ctenophorus ornatus) – there was one larger with three smaller. Three of them dashed off to another rock but one just sat there, pretty much motionless.
We then headed for home – pleased we had found 3-4 species of reptiles and really giving Liam a good nature experience. He loved his time and had been so good clambering over the rocks. He was pretty tired after this and got a few Zzz’s in the car on the way home!