29 April 2012 – herping mooi river
After the late night last night, we had a reasonably late start this morning. We had arranged to meet up with James Harvey and Tyrone Ping today to do some herping in the Midlands as it was a relatively unexplored area for us herpwise and what better way to do it than with local experts.
James and Tyrone met up with us at 9am at Kildare Cottages where we stood around talking nonsense for quite some time before eventually heading out into the field. Our first stop was at a spot just outside the town of Mooi River where we quickly found a Common River Frog within minutes of arriving, our first photographic distraction.
Further searching of the general area turned up a few Montane Speckled Skinks, a Brown Water Snake and a cracking Western Natal Green Snake which Tyrone found sunning itself on top of a bridge. These green snakes are incredibly beautiful and this individual was no exception!
After having worked the area fairly well, we moved just a short distance away to another spot and started searching again. More Common River Frogs, a Raucous Toad, a gorgeous Herald Snake and a feisty Spotted Skaapsteker were the best finds in the area. Both the Herald Snake and Spotted Skaapsteker looked quite different to the ones we are used to finding in the Cape, so it was good to get a look at these individuals, even although they are all still the same species…
We lunched at a local fast food outlet and then headed out to a rocky hillside in the afternoon. After climbing the hill and starting to turn rocks near the top, we were very excited to bag two lifers, firstly a Bibron’s Blind Snake which proved to be extremely difficult to photograph and then Van Son’s Thick-toed Gecko, another cracking little gecko of the genus Pachydactylus. Most of the geckos in the genus are really good looking individuals and this one just cemented that fact again!
By late afternoon, we had covered the area reasonably well and so decided to move off and try one last spot near Nottingham Road again that James had managed to arrange permission to access for us. After negotiating the interesting road in our hire car, we eventually got to the spot and started working the area. Unfortunately, apart from a couple of Cheloctonus jonesii scorpions, it didn’t yield anything else, so because the guys still had to get back home and had a reasonable drive ahead of them, we called it a day and headed back to Kildare Cottages for the evening going to have dinner at the Nottingham Road Hotel in the evening.