I have been busy over the Christmas holidays so here is a short trip report with photos of what I have been up to. Please click here. All the best for 2019, I have some great trips planned, including an eagerly awaited return to Greece in the summer!
Have a smashing do lads and lasses!
As we roll into December here are a collection of recent photos from Phuket and Khao Sok NP where I spent the past week on a school trip with some of my students. After a period of illness which caused me to cancel my trip to Sumatra I have managed to reschedule a few trips for the coming year;
December: Khao Sok NP (focussing more on birds and mammals in the areas surrounding the main lake)
February: Sumatra (Indonesia)
April: Central Thailand (Kaeng Krachen NP and everything in between!)
June/July: An eagerly awaited return to Greece (Cyclades islands, Ios, Sifnos, Milos etc)
On Wednesday evening we went to feed our regular group of stray dogs at a local lake and occasionally this allows observations of Reticulated pythons (Python reticulatus) and other snakes. It started to rain and this usually increases the possibility of seeing a python, often slowly moving across a road. As we left the lake we could see a large truck stopped in the middle of the road, as we approached further we could see a large python crossing and the driver had stopped to let it cross. However this was in a fact a Brongersma’s short-tailed python, also known as a Blood python (Python brongersmai)! As the habitat on the other side of the road was just houses we decided to catch the python and release it nearby in a less populated place. Of course I had to take some photos before it disappeared into the vegetation.
I have not been feeling well for the past month or so which involved me cancelling my trip to Sumatra. Despite this I have felt a bit better lately and I have been out a couple of times looking for wildlife. The monsoon rains have not been so strong so far so I have mostly avoided getting caught out in stormy weather! I caught up with the endemic Phuket pit viper (Trimeresurus phuketensis) which I had not seen for a good number of months as well as a number of other species.
Currently I have plans for trip further a field to Kui Buri NP, Kaeng Krachen NP in the dry season as well as a trip around the Greek islands in the summer after several years without visiting my favourite European country.
I am now back in Thailand after a busy summer where I spent time in the UAE, Slovakia, Hungary and the UK. I have added three photo galleries from these trips which can be viewed on the links below.
Back in Phuket and I have had a few nice observations this past week. A three metre Reticulated python (Python reticulatus) crossed the road in front of my car whilst out herping with Norbert. The same evening around ten Asian vine snakes (Ahaetulla prasina), a female Wagler’s pit viper (Tropidolaemus wagleri) as well as a number of lizard and amphibian species. Then as I dropped Norbert off back home a baby python was crossing the road in front of his house.
On a different day I moved a beautiful Dog-toothed cat snake (Boiga cynodon) from a Buddhist temple toilet into the nearby forest and while looking for Oriental Bay owls we found two Striped bronzebacks (Dendrelaphis caudolineatus) our favourite restaurant. On a different afternoon a Clouded monitor lizard (Varanus nebulosus) and an Ornate flying snake (Chrysopelea ornata) crossed the road as I was driving around the island.
It has nearly been a year since I moved to Thailand and there is not a day that goes by where I regret my decision. Professionally I now teach in a wonderful international school filled with students who wish to learn and a very supportive staff. From another point of view more relevant to my website is that I can explore my interest in herpetology in much greater depth having so many species living on my doorstep.
On Saturday I will fly to the United Arab Emirates for a week long field trip, swapping rainforest for desert. After that I will travel on to Slovakia and Hungary before heading back for a short while to the UK. By early August I will be back in Thailand!
Below are a collection of some of my photos from Phuket and southern Thailand this past year.
Last night while out looking for bats with Kat and Paul we came across a fantastic scene. This large Wagler’s pit viper (Tropidolaemus wagleri) was striking at bats as they were flying past. It only just missed a meal on a number of occasions and continued to move up and down the branch to try and get a better position for a strike. Despite watching it for over half an hour it was not successful, however I’m sure this is a good hunting spot for the snake with so many bats flying through every night
It’s been a busy time at work but I have had a number of good finds over the past month. I have done especially well with Wagler’s pit vipers (Tropidolaemus wagleri) having seen six females, including four big adults. Furthermore, I have found two Blood pythons (Python brongersmai) who sit in ambush each evening by their holes and have been around for over a month now.
In two weeks time I will leave Phuket for six weeks travelling to the UAE, Slovakia, Hungary and then the UK.
April started as a very hot, dry month but gradually the rains are returning and with them some better observations, especially snakes. Over the past few weeks I have seen two female Wagler’s pit vipers (Tropidolaemus wagleri), three Phuket pit vipers (Trimeresurus phuketensis), a reticulated python (Python reticulatus), a Blood python (Python brongersmai), a speckle-headed vine snake (Ahaetulla fasciolata), many Asian vine snakes (Ahaetulla prasina), a Speckle-bellied keelback (Rhabdophis chrysargos), a Dog-faced water snake (Cerberus rynchops), a Green cat snake (Boiga cyanea) and a Sunbeam snake (Xenopeltis unicolor). I’m hoping for more monsoon rains in the coming weeks!