Busselton holiday – tales of herps, underwater & possums..

Last weekend we enjoyed an extra long weekend at a holiday house in Busselton with my wife, 2 kids and my mom-in-law.

It started well from a wildlife point of view, as I parked outside our house to collect the keys I saw a new species of skink – southwest cool skink.

Later that afternoon we discovered we had a resident King skink pair that slept behind a plant pot just on our front porch and spent the late afternoon sunning itself there – not sure where they spent the rest of the day but we did see one in the back garden.  They were very camera shy and the kids also wanting to see didn’t help me!

We also had quite a few bobtails out and about – we had a pair being friendly in the garden just next to the carport.

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I see you and I need some privacy!

That night we took advantage of my mom-in-law babysitting our baby and my wife, Liam and I went to the possum trail I have blogged about before – see blog for directions.  We kitted up with headtorches, cameras and mozzie repellent.

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Ready to go!

We didn’t see possums straight away – our first sighting was this spider and pair of tawny frogmouth.

Liam was having a great time looking for critters in all places like this hollow log.  He did say he saw bears!

We then saw our first Western ringtail possums – all up about 15 that night.

…..then followed by some roos.

And some brushtail possums – they look quite different from the ringtails – especially the ears.

The last possum sighting of the night was this cute mum & bub which completed our night out very nicely.

Western ringtail possum @ Busselton

On one of the days we took the train out to the end of the Busselton Jetty – one of the longest wooden jetties in the southern hemisphere – over a mile!  At the end of the jetty they have built an observatory in approx 8m of water.  I have dived the jetty before in the past but was keen to show the family.

We had a lovely time seeing heaps of marine life – Liam proudly pointing out a dead crab which he said was asleep on its back!  We all really enjoyed the observatory – while not a cheap thing to do – it was good to experience while on holiday and you are supporting the upkeep of the jetty.

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We had a lovely relaxing holiday – I got to see plenty of wildlife and better yet show my kids!

Frogging – the Quacking Frog

On a wet saturday night in late May I persuaded my brother to come out in the cold and wet and look for frogs – the clincher was a promise of whisky after to warm up!

I had been at a WA Naturalists talk by WA Museum‘s Paul Doughty – Curator of Herpetology.  He inspired me to get out when it is cold and wet as that in when you find frogs in the South-West of WA – frogging in a beanie I recall him mentioning!

He had said there had been Hooting Frog Heleioporus barycragus heard at Lesmurdie falls recewntly so I thought we might head to a spot nearby – Whistlepipe Gully – at the end of Lewis Rd. Forrestfield (just off Welshpool Rd).

As we arrived we could hear Quacking Frogs Crinia georgiana – but they all went quiet as we moved towards them.  Unperturbed we walked alongside the stream thinking we heard Hooting Frog higher into the bush areas.  No frogs were seen – despite lots of looking and waiting patiently in the dark – the frogs are sneakier than us amateur froggers!

At one point we knew why the frogs were quiet – a Tawny Frogmouth had flown in and was checking out a late night supper.

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Blurry Shot of a Tawny Frogmouth

We kept at it for about an hour and a half in quite a lot of rain – it kept happening – we heard frogs and as we approached they shut up and we couldn’t spot them – our technique needs some serious refining.  I was trying out my new headtorch – Led Lenser H14.2 – it worked really well.

At this point the whisky was sounding pretty good as it had been raining much of the time.  We jumped into the car and my eagle eyed brother spotted something in the car headlights – definitely hopping.  We investigated and found a Quacking Frog – yes one of the ones we had been trying to find all this time!  Photos taken then back to the car for a warming whisky!  Successful night – no Hooting Frog but yes to Quacking Frog.

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