Archive for April, 2012

Gang ganging around

by on Apr.25, 2012, under Birds, Fauna, Magazine, Victoria

Steve McNeil had a call out to see this Gang-gang Cockatoo, Callocephalon fimbriatum. It was happily munching away. We rarely see them in urban Melbourne and this qualifies as a secret sighting.


Gang gang Callocephalon fimbriatum

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Before and after Mallee Spadefoot Frog Neobatrachus pictus

by on Apr.22, 2012, under Magazine

After emerging during a rainstorm, old skin washed away.

Mallee Spadefoot frog – just after emerging during thunderstorm
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Albino Shingleback lizard

by on Apr.22, 2012, under Fauna, Information, Magazine, Reptiles, Western Australia

This shingleback lizard is currently the pride and joy of Armadale Reptile Park in WA. been a long term resident lizard, housed indoors and outside occasionally. its fleshy pink tongue and lack of colouration designates it albinistic specimen of bobtail, Stumpy – tailed or Shinglback lizard Tiiqua rugosa.



Shingleback lizard (Albino)

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Planet Dinosaur

by on Apr.21, 2012, under Birds, Mammals, Media, Reptiles

Planet Dinosaur DVD CoverI recently watched a remarkable series on dinosaurs from the BBC called “Planet Dinsoaur”.

This show is a must-see for wildlife lovers because it provides such a great context for the wildlife we currently see on the planet today. In particular, questions around the evolution of birds from dinosaurs, egg laying versus birth of live young, protective adaptations, symbiotic relationships amongst species and much more.


While many dinosaurs look nothing like animals in existence today, many are remarkably similar to species still found. These include many reptiles such as crocodiles and lizards as well as aquatic animals like sharks that have changed little over millions of years.

The last ten years has seen an extraordinary amount of unique fossil finds, mainly in new sites in China and Mongolia. The BBC take this as a focus point for their presentation, relaying the magnitute of the finds through amazing recreations of the likely scenarios the dinosaurs can be found in. These might include intra-species fighting (as evidenced by a fossil tooth of a dinsoaur lodged in a member of its own species), feeding, hunting and breeding.

These recent finds have apparently turned the tables on the previous limits of dinsoaur knowledge, finding as many new species of dinosaurs as there were known beforehand. In addition, the interactions and attributes of many dinsoaurs have been inferred through some remarkable fossil discoveries.

The subsequent recreations of the dinosaur world from the BBC are made all the more remarkable through the use of modern CGI graphics, which bring to life a wide mixture of dinosaurs in very realistic reproductions. Dinsosaurs run like you would expect them to do, pteradactyls fly like you would imagine!

With an extraordinary ability to infer things like skin colouration (explained through pigmentation finds in fossils), the reconstructions are extremely life like and, one gets the impression from the authority of the show, probably very close to how they were actually.

This show is highly recommended due both to the amazing presentation and the realisation that the scientific substance of these recent finds needs to be made public. Like many viewers of the show, my knowledge of the subject matter was shown to be horribly inadequate in light of the gap of knowledge since my indoctrinaation into the dinosaur world from high school days.

Planet Dinosaur DVD Cover










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Whale watching app for NSW

by on Apr.11, 2012, under Magazine, Mammals, Tools and Technology

Humpback migration will be starting soon on the East coast of NSW.  The “Whales NSW” app is the official whale watching guide to New South Wales, developed by NSW National Parks and Wildlife.  It’s available for both iOS and Android.

The app is free, and according to the official summary, you can learn about different whale species you might see, see tips for spotting them, get the latest whale sightings, record your own sightings and connect with other whale watchers via the Wild About Whales Twitter and Facebook accounts.

I’ve been using the Android version since last year and it’s very handy.  I can find out if whales are approaching Sydney by checking the sighting reports from north or south of here.  Of course, this only works if people actually post their sightings!

A lot more information on whale watching in NSW can be found on the official website:


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