Limnodynastes peronii

Frog photo reference: Reptiles and Frogs of the Australian Capital Territory by Ross Bennett

After identifying the frog calls from the dam — my sister is a bit of an expert — we went out and had a lovely morning walk around the Australian National University, enjoying the historic buildings, public art, and green spaces. I recognised very little from my misspent teenage years when I would illegally drink in the Union Bar.

Then we spent some time at the National Museum of Australia, always worth a visit. The café lunch was delicious and the Great Southern Land gallery impressed us both.

big day out

Miss Ten’s chosen birthday treat was a train ride to the Museum and the Gallery of Modern Art, and a picnic at South Bank. A good time was had by all.

Re the sketched reptiles (seen at the museum): Green tree pythons (Morelia viridis) occur in rainforests on Cape York Peninsula, and also in New Guinea and Indonesia. Juveniles are bright yellow but change to emerald green as adults, coinciding with a shift in diet from ground-dwelling skinks to mammals. Primarily arboreal, M. viridis has a particular way of resting in the branches of trees; it loops a coil or two over the branches in a saddle position and places its head in the middle.

The perentie (Varanus giganteus) is Australia’s largest lizard, growing up to 2.5 metres (over 8 feet) long. Perenties are powerful diggers and shelter in extensive, complex burrows when they are not out and about hunting prey. They feed on reptiles (including their own species), small mammals such as bats, young kangaroos & other small marsupials, and rodents. Prey is typically swallowed whole, but if the animal is too large, chunks are ripped off for ease of consumption. Coastal and island individuals may eat a large number of sea turtle eggs and hatchlings, and hide under vehicles to ambush scavenging gulls. Wily!

Grallina cyanoleuca

The kids and I went for a wander by Freshwater Creek, them to play, me to count birds. We had some debate about whether the black-and-white bird whose mud nest Felix found was a peewee or a magpie-lark. We were both right.

We also saw (or heard) tawny frogmouths, pied currawongs, rainbow lorikeets, grey shrike-thrushes, spangled drongos, noisy miners, rock pigeons, brush-turkeys, crows, wood ducks and purple swamp hens.