|Land mullet, Springbrook.|
Last Friday, I spent the morning searching for reptiles at Springbrook National Park, with great success.
Walking the Purlingbrook Falls circuit (with Warringa Pool detour), I found six different reptile species, mostly skinks.
|Garden skink, Springbrook.|
The first sighting was made almost immediately after stepping out my car, with a large black land mullet (Bellatorias major) found sunning itself at the carpark edge.
A white-spotted juvenile was found soon after on the circuit track, sunning itself outside of a burrow in the dry eucalypt forest, an unusual habitat choice for a species mostly associated with rainforest.
Garden skinks (Lampropholis delicata) were common throughout the entire National Park, their only habitat requirement being leaf litter to forage in.
|Orange-tailed shadeskink, Springbrook.|
A more unusual skink species that I found was the orange-tailed shadeskink (Saproscincus challengeri).
It was quite approachable as far as skinks go, and often ventured onto the exposed surfaces of logs and mossy rocks, allowing for good views once I made out its slender, camouflaged form.
Two closely-related and very similar-looking species are found on the Gold Coast and in the Scenic Rim, making identification difficult for all three.
Hunting for all these little creatures living amongst the leaf litter were common tree snakes (Dendrelaphis punctulata), of which I found two on the way to Warringa Pool.
The first one was quite large for a tree snake, with an estimated length of between 120 to 150 centimetres.
Even a fully-grown tree snake still has predators of its own to watch out for, however—sunning itself in a nearby clearing was a large lace monitor (Varanus varius).
I had been so focussed searching an adjacent log for more snakes that when I straightened up and turned around, I almost came face-to-face with the impressive creature.
|Bar-sided skink, Springbrook.|
I gasped in surprise, and then we both flinched, before the goanna scrambled down the fallen tree it had been perched on, making me curse my inattentiveness for ruining what would have otherwise been an amazing photo and interaction.
Rising up out of the valley and back into the clifftop dry eucalypt forest, my spotting skills returned with the sighting of a bar-sided skink (Eulamprus tenuis) perched outside its tree hollow.
|Toothed guinea-flower, Springbrook.|
By now, I was also starting to pause and take note of all the unusual plants and trees thriving in the volcanic soil of the area.
Of particular note were toothed guinea-flower (Hibbertia dentata) vines, golden tree peas (Daviesia arborea) and rhyolite hoveas (Hovea impressinerva), all in bloom.
Fruiting blueberry ash (Elaeocarpus reticulatus) trees in the woodland had managed to lure a beautiful green catbird (Ailuroedus crassirostris) out of the valley below for a feed.
|Satin bowerbird, Springbrook.|
Other great bird sightings included several pairs of logrunners (Orthonyx temminckii) scattered along the rainforest sections of the track, and a gorgeous male satin bowerbird (Ptilinorhynchus violaceus) observed in the carpark, both when I started the walk, and also when I finished it hours later.
If you're a bird enthusiast more than you are a reptile fan, visit 'Wild Bird Wednesday' for a collection of bird blogs from around the world.
|Kidney-mark tussock moth, Springbrook.|
A winged beauty further in the depths of the forest was a kidney-mark tussock moth (Lymantria nephrographa), sheltering on a mossy boulder.
Moths are still a great unknown to me, so I was grateful to an Amateur Entomology Group on Facebook for identifying this minibeast for me.
|Whitewater rockmaster, Springbrook.|
I had no trouble identifying the brilliantly-coloured whitewater rockmaster (Diphlebia lestoides), however, as it dashed around the flowing creek waters.
With beasts, birds, bugs and plants all competing for my eye, I almost found it difficult to focus on the jaw-droppingly beautiful scenery also.
No matter what your natural interests might be, they are sure to get a workout at Springbrook National Park!
|Purlingbrook Falls, Springbrook.|