Saturday, 31 January 2015

Tokay Gecko in Our Shed

Tokay Gecko

The above photo shows a Tokay Gecko in the roof of our shed. It was facing directly downwards as shown. This Tokay is fully grown with a head and body length of roughly eighteen centimetres. Tokay's normally sport a tail of a similar length to their bodies, but this one has lost its tail – I don't know what happened to it.... therein lies another tale I guess....

Tokay Geckos have acheived a certain notoriety because the males of the species emit a very loud, extremely eerie, haunting sound to impress the ladies (of course...). Below is a recording* of it:
Just click play to listen to it.....

You don't get much sleep if a male Tokay comes to stay.

Today's final photo shows the Tokay in context, facing downwards on a centre roof support in our shed. You can gain an idea of the Tokay's size when you realize that the support that it's standing on is ten centimetres wide:

This blog post is linked to these blog hops:-
Nature Notes
Saturday's Critters
Do pop over and take a look at them.

* The original audio file and details of this recording can be found at this Wikipedia page.

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Olive-backed Sunbird

Olive-backed Sunbird

Olive-backed Sunbirds are regular visitors to our garden. They're cute, pretty, and cheeky, but very difficult to move close enough to in order to snap a decent photo. The specimen pictured above looks unusually scruffy for this species. This is because it had been swooping into and briefly hovering in the spray from our hoses as we watered our veggie patches just prior to posing for this photo.

This blog post is linked to the following blog hops:-
Wild Bird Wednesday
The Bird D'Pot.
Please do pop over and take a look at 'em.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Snake Under My Bed

One of the worst ways of being woken in the morning is by someone saying, "There's a snake under the bed"....

The photo shows a Common Rat Snake under my old bamboo bed
- sorry about the laundry basket in the bottom right corner of the shot.... the blimmin' snake would have to choose such a place to pose....

I'm not going to tell you that I wasn't anxious about the creature until I'd positively identified it as a relatively harmless rat snake. Once I'd identified it I proceeded to photograph it. At first it simply observed my movements but soon the flash fired and startled it, so it decided to move on.... to my relief.

But then it couldn't find the opened door.....

So proceeded further into the shed.....

And then back again....

Finally it found the open door and departed.

I was pleased to see it go. It was sufficiently large at two metres long to cause me not to want to chase it out.

Common Rat Snakes are neither venomous nor aggressive, in fact they're fairly timid. They're also very prettily marked and rather graceful in their movements. We and other folks had seen this particular specimen in our garden in the early mornings on several occasions over a period of several weeks prior to this visit. It moved on immediately following its near brush with us. The following day it was seen on our neighbour's gate, but quickly moved on to who-knows-where.

By the way, it's visit inside our hut was precipitated by our carelessness and not by any mischief or malice on the snake's part. It almost certainly entered our open, unguarded front door in search of somewhere shaded and cool to rest.... and very nearly found what it was looking for.

This post is linked to Camera Critters blog hop.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Common Mynahs

Here's a pair of Common Mynah birds strolling on our front grass....

These Mynahs are not the ones that talk, and if they were I doubt that anyone would want to chat with them. They have a very contrary and confrontational nature. I've seen them attack snakes, lizards, and small water monitors during instances of what appears to be nothing more than unprovoked rage. I've seen them rush at flocks of birds feeding on the ground in the same way that a mischievous toddler will rush at a flock of pigeons in the park, but with greater malice. On the plus side though they are almost always seen in pairs, which is kind of cute. And they are rather pretty and elegant - beady-eyed, defiant stare notwithstanding. And despite their far less than affable natures I like them.

This blog post is linked to The Bird D'Pot blog hop. Please do pop over and take a look at it.

Friday, 23 January 2015

Peeking Butterfly Lizard

The title of today's post isn't a misspelling of "Peking Butterfly Lizard" but is in fact the caption for today's first photo, which shows an Eastern Butterfly Lizard peeking from her burrow. Witty uh....? Okay, maybe not.

Eastern Butterfly Lizards spend a lot of time watching the world go by from the relative safety of their burrow entrances.

The Eastern Butterfly Lizard shown in the first photo now exiting her burrow, cautiously

We spend a lot of time admiring the antics of these delightful creatures.

This blog post is linked to the following blog hops:-
Nature Notes
Saturday's Critters
Camera Critters
Please do pop over and take a look at 'em.

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Snake Eyes

There were a couple of comments left on my Indo-Chinese Rat Snake Video expressing a desire to see in some detail the adorable face and big, beautiful, hazel eyes of the Indo-Chinese Rat Snake. So, here's a photo of them for you....

Ptyas Korros, commonly known as the Chinese Ratsnake or Indo-Chinese Rat Snake

It's not my photo. Unfortunately I don't manage to take superb photos such as this.

The above photo is attributed to Steve Kharmawphlang.
The photo details including the jpg file, permissions, and license terms can be found here.
The photo can also be found on this Wikipedia entry.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Common Kingfisher

We were enjoying a quiet picnic by the lake when we spotted this little beauty....

Common Kingfisher

I've never seen a Common Kingfisher in the wild before. It was even more cute and pretty than I'd ever imagined.

The next picture shows the bird in context. The Kingfisher was scouring the depths for its next meal:

These pretty little birds endure dreadfully perilous and uncertain lives (please follow this link for more info).

This blog post is linked to the following blog hops:-
The Bird D'Pot
Wild Bird Wednesday
Outdoor Wednesday
Please do pop over and take a look at 'em.

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Indo-Chinese Rat Snake Video

We shot this video in our garden recently. There's never a dull moment here....

This is the write-up that we added to the video on Our YouTube Channel:-

"We often see these snakes in and around our garden. This one was a regular resident-visitor for a couple of months. This species are superb and discreet pest control experts. They're also relatively harmless and very timid. The featured specimen is almost two metres long. An idea of its actual size can be gained when it crosses the path near the end of the video. That path is exactly one metre wide. It can move very quickly, although throughout the video its actions are relatively slow - it's in browsing-foraging mode. It became rather deliberate in its movements when it became aware of and slightly disturbed by our presence - you can see evidence of this when it retracts its head back into the grass at 1 min 36 secs.

Finally one of the voices in the background of the video says, "Such beautiful eyes"..... - and they are. This species is famous for its big beautiful eyes."

This snake was formerly featured on this blog in this post.

Saturday, 17 January 2015

The Sooty-headed Bulbul Incident

This photo shows a Sooty-headed Bulbul, in our shed, being very vocal:

These pretty little birds are usually very well behaved, but this one was miffed and throwing a tantrum. It had found its way into our shed but now couldn't find the way back out of it, and it was very unhappy about its situation. After a prolonged bout of shrieking and squawking it made a dash in the direction of the shed door, and missed. I followed it only to discover it on the shed floor looking shocked, dazed, and worryingly poorly.

I approached very close to it and even gently touched it with a stick. It was obviously conscious but didn't react at all. It just stayed there looking puffed up and pitiable.

I stayed with it. I knew that my presence would only add to its discomfort but I felt that if I withdrew it would be far too vulnerable to predators, of which there are many in the area. I could minimize its risk of being attacked only by closing the door, which would have rendered its escape back to the great outdoors impossible. I was very worried.

I sat with it for several minutes convinced that I was watching it die. But then without prior warning it fluttered a little and then flew precariously to a bench that we keep just outside the door. It remained on the bench for no more than a few seconds then flew to a nearby frame beneath which we grow vegetables. I was thrilled.

It commenced preening itself:

It remained on the frame for some considerable time. When it eventually left it looked to be back to normal - composed, elegant and pretty....

So I put the kettle on and made myself a nice cup of tea.

This blog post is linked to the following memes:-
Wild Bird Wednesday
The Bird D'Pot.
I thoroughly recommend that you pop over and take a look at them.

Friday, 9 January 2015

An Expired Wolf Snake

Look What The Cat Dragged In....

Indo-Chinese Wolf Snake - recently deceased
- it suffered a catastrophic end

This tiny, harmless, pretty, little snake was left dead on our path during the nighttime by a local predator. We received three similar gruesome deliveries in three consecutive nights. I've never seen a live Indo-Chinese Wolf Snake (also known as the Laotian Wolf Snake). Maybe one day, or more likely one night, I will. They're nocturnal. This little beaut is just about full grown at roughly fifty centimetres long.

Although this little fellow was harmless many similarly striped snakes are not. Many are venomous, and a few are quite deadly.

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Eastern Butterfly Lizard

The little guy in the photo below is an Eastern Butterfly Lizard. His colours were particularly striking on the day that this photo was taken because he was wearing his "flirtin' shirt". What self respecting gal could pass him by without a second look.....?

We see a lot of Butterfly Lizards in our garden. They live in burrows.  They're mildly territorial but even so their burrows are often fairly close together. They're very pretty, very active during the day, and very amusing to watch.  They become quite tame but wisely always remain a little cautious of us. They do show great interest in us. They often follow us around. Sometimes they approach us although rarely move closer than a couple of metres from us. We can move very close to some of them if we do so very slowly.

The next photo is cropped from the same original photo as the first one on today's post.  It shows the little guy in his entirety, tail and all. He's about 12 to15 centimetres long (40 to 50 cms including his tail). He's pretty much fully grown.

These delightful little creatures are my favourite of all the ones that we encounter so it is with some sadness that I've noticed a neighbour's cat stalking and harassing them. I don't think that it has yet caught one, or at least not many if it has done, but I fear that its presence is moving them on. We've invested in a water pistol as part of our attempt to encourage it to hunt elsewhere. Let's hope that we can move it on before it decimates the wildlife in our garden, a task that it has already commenced with some success.

This blog post is linked to blog hops
Viewing Nature with Eileen - Saturday's Critters and
Please do take a look at 'em.

Tuesday, 6 January 2015


This bird is a Hoopoe....

We photographed this hoopoe in our garden. These little beauties are always delightful - elegant, active, dashing, and of course very, very colourful. It's a shame that their name sounds like something that you'd use with a stick-oe....

This blog post is linked to the following blog hops:-
The Bird D'Pot
Wild Bird Wednesday
Please do pop over and take a look at them.

Monday, 5 January 2015

Pulling on a Python

This guy is pulling on a Python's tail. I kid you not....

And this is the Python, pre-pull:

My best guess is that this is a Burmese Python, although it might possibly be a Reticulated Python. Either way it's not welcome. The Burmese Python grows to six metres long and the reticulated Python grows to ten. Both are extremely dangerous to humans. The specimen in the photo is a little less than three metres long, but strong, stubborn, defiant, and not in the least bothered by our presence.

The guy moved it on, humanely, because the people who were working with him were very bothered by it being in such close proximity to them. So would I have been!

This blog post is linked to Nature Notes blog hop. Do pop over and take a look at it.