Thursday, August 28, 2008

Spider Sniffing

This week I bought a pretty powerful LED headlight with the hopes of getting some night rides on the mountain bike. But then Dan told me that with a powerful flashlight, you can see spiders at night. It's called spider sniffing and it's really cool, it does work !

You just walk around at night with your light mounted as close to your eyes as possible facing forward and when you look down into a field, you'll see the reflection of spider's retinas from really far away, even small ones. Because they have 8 eyes, chances are one of them is pointing your way and you'll see a reflection.

I managed to get a picture of what it looks like to spot one from far away. Click on the pics to see properly.

The big ones are Huntsman Spiders from what I can tell and the smaller ones are burrowing Wolf Spiders. Both very common in Queensland. The ones in these pictures had sizes ranging from 2cm for the little guys up to 10cm leg-span like this one on the fence.

My setup for these shots was my Canon 60mm EF-S macro, plus diffused flash + LED headlight, so the lighting almost looks like daylight, but these were taken in pitch dark.

Notice the two outer eyes on the top row, they're inside a cavity and facing almost completely backwards!

Mmmm, fuzzy !

Sunday, August 24, 2008

I'm ready for crocodiles !

... little ones.

You might have already read our big blog posting about our holiday in Port Douglas, but I kept this picture for this blog because it's funny and it fits nicely with my critter theme.

Poor little guy was pretty cold. I guess they have to be to stand still for pictures.


Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Wild Bird Feeding


As you may or may not realize, it's winter here. Which means the reptiles and insects are pretty rare on these cold(ish) days. But the birds don't care, actually they're probably having a harder time finding food by themselves and are happy to fill the critter-picture void created by the "cold" season. (FYI nights are 8degC, days 22degC, harsh :-p )

The parrots we get coming around to our bird feeder are wild. Some don't mind us being outside as I'm sure they're used to the sight of people, but they aren't tame by any stretch. So I'm happy to say that after many weeks of getting closer and closer to them with limited success, we finally earned their trust enough to let us feed them "by hand". Ok, they're not exactly perched on my shoulders or eating out of my hand just yet, but still ... one small step ... and hey, I was really excited to be that close to them.

The feeding line up

A happy cockatoo and a happy gecko hunter!

Clo gets in on the action

Extra trivia: Did you know the Crocodile Hunter was afraid of parrots ? Here's a excerpt from a Larry King interview that explains why:

[Irwin is holding a Macaw parrot and explaining why it's endangered]

KING: I thought you were afraid of parrots.

IRWIN: I am. You might see my head's way back, and I'm shaking like a leaf.

KING: Because?

IRWIN: Have a look at that beak.

KING: Have you been bit by a parrot?

IRWIN: I've had a lot of nasty bites by parrots, and it hurts. I set up a big wildlife hospital at Australia Zoo. In fact, it's the biggest wildlife hospital in Australia. And last month, we had 80 koalas come through and 27 parrots and, I think, 13 of those bit me.