New lizards and endangered bats

•January 20, 2010 • Leave a Comment

The past few weeks have been dominated by some fantastic work programmes, so much so i’ve not had the time to even download images much less put some of the interesting details up here. However in the past two weeks I’ve been monitoring long tailed bat roosts, searching out specimens of a new species of skink, pit tagging short tailed bats and squeezing in a bit of mountain adventure with a short tramp into the fiordland alpine zone in fantastic conditions. I’ll add some images as soon as I can.

A red xmas in the palm forest

•January 1, 2010 • Leave a Comment

I’ve lots of adventures to report for December, but time seems to have just evaporated. Anyway, I went to visit the nikau palm and northern rata forests of northern West Coast NZ after xmas day. The trip was well worth the effort, with simply stunning views of breath-taking uniqueness. Just goes to show that sometimes remoteness is right on our doorsteps.

The best commute in the world

•December 10, 2009 • 1 Comment

I wanted to put this video here for two of my best friends, one of whom still has to suffer the grinding misery of commuting into London each day, and for the other who is a true mountain man in spirit and actions – these are mountains that can satisfy!

There’s no doubt I’m a lucky man and amazing trips like this are part of my work. Here we were changing rangers over on Anchor Island in Fiordland. This island is extremely special as it is pest free, with none of the introduced predators that are common on mainland New Zealand and which have wreaked havoc on the delicate ecosystems of this amazing South Pacific island. As a result Anchor is one of the key locations for endangered species management, and thus is one of the few places on earth where kakapo, a giant flightless parrot, live in relative safety.

Takahe chicks and puppet mum

•December 9, 2009 • Leave a Comment

The takahē (Porphyrio [Notornis] hochstetteri) is the worlds largest rail and critically endangered with extinction. They were considered extinct until rediscovered in the remote Murchison Mountains in 1948. The introduced stoat from Europe has been sited as the major cause of their decline but rats, cats and other introduced species may also be predating on birds, their chicks and eggs as well as competing for food.

With fewer than 200 animals it is essential that as many chicks are recruited to the adult wild population so the Department of Conservation, NZ (DOC) has an assisted rearing fascility. Whilst there I snapped some footage of some young chicks:

Check out for more information.

Herp highlights of Northern Queensland

•November 13, 2009 • Leave a Comment

A few years back I went over to PNG with Conservation International,but on the way, managed to spend a few days with the CI guys in Atherton, up on the Queensland table lands. A great place and th battle ground of some mighty environmental struggles to prevent the logging of the last of the tableland rainforest. The result is a patchwork of rainforest patches between lush pasture and dairy. But those little patches still retain an element of the biodiversity, not least the reptiles and amphibians. I snapped a few, here they are:

Hypnale nepa Sri Lankan hump nosed viper

•November 8, 2009 • Leave a Comment
Hypnale nepa Sri Lankan hump nosed viper

Hypnale nepa Sri Lankan hump nosed viper, Kanneliya Forest, Sri Lanka, May 2009

This beautiful little viper was found hunting forgs such as the Philautus hoipoloi in the vegetation overhanging a fast flowing stream in the lush rainforest of south west Sri Lanka. This little fellow is endemic to Sri Lanka.  Whilst venomous, these little snakes are neither agressive nor dangerous as long as they are treated with the respect they deserve, and left, undisturbed where they are found.  Photographing this chap was quite a challenge as I had to get myself into the think of the ferns without spooking him and stand in a relatively fast flowing stream at the same time, all in the dark.  Part of the fun of being a herpetologist

Philautus hoipoloi

•November 8, 2009 • Leave a Comment
Philautus hoipoloi, resting at day on trackside ferns, Kannelia forest, Sri Lanka, May 2009


Frog photography for me is often about trying to capture naturally the moment when the little animal is animated, about to jump or interacting in some way with the environment. But sometimes the true nature of the animal is best captured by the very static nature of its pose. By day most frogs of the genus Philautus are hiding amongst vegetation, using their cryptic colouration and perfect stillness to disappear into the background. This little P. hoipoloi (superb name given the species by Mr. Rohan Pethiyagoda) was just a little to bright a shade of green to blend completely and i was able to spot it at the trail-side.


Alsodes barrioi

•November 6, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Alsodes barrioi on gloved finger during chytrid survey (Bd) - Nahuelbuta National Park, Chile 2008

Loris tardigradus, the red slender loris

•November 6, 2009 • Leave a Comment

loris tardigradus

Loris tardigradus, the red slender loris, this is a 'parked' juvenile, Sri Lanka 2009

Camping in rainforest on Normanby Island, PNG

•November 6, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Camp above Waikaiuna village