Inspiring People: Phillip Spark

* This post has been updated

Phillip Spark is a man with a love and passion for the environment. Phil spends most of his his time travelling around monitoring, researching, checking out and recording species in different areas. He spends time talking to people about the environment and the creatures who live in it. He is writing books on specific areas in Australia which include his findings.

Phil, Eloisa, Melinda, Paul, Izabella, Charlie, Archie & skink, early morning expedition

Phil, Eloisa, Melinda, Paul, Izabella, Charlie, Archie & skink, early morning expedition

Phil came and spent some time monitoring wildlife for a project we are doing here and another project happening at Dalveen a couple of weeks ago as a bench mark so we can see what happens in the area as we plant more plant species and aid the creation of more habitat.

Dalveen early morning

Dalveen early morning

The kids woke up and literally jumped out of bed, organised themselves and were out the door in five minutes at 5:30am to go and check the traps Phil had put out the night before with peanut butter & muesli balls as an appetising snack to lure creatures in so we could see what species lived in certain areas. There were hours of lizard, geko, insect discovery and Phil there to answer all the questions that we could think of and many we didn’t even know or think to ask.

Spider

Spider

peanut butter and muesli mix

peanut butter and muesli mix

We had the opportunity to pat tiny bats, watch a red bellied black snake, hold cunningham’s skinks, see a geko malting, learn some latin and see frogs as small as a baby toe nail.

DSC_2572

Cunningham’s skink. These guys are so friendly and gorgeous

Geko shedding it's skin

Geko shedding it’s skin, they turn white eventually wriggle out of it when it is totally loose and are all shiny and new

We really enjoyed spending time in the bush, spotlighting at night and discovering all sorts of things that we hadn’t noticed before.

Thanks Phil for your time, enthusiasm and knowledge!

20131127 Yellow footed Antechinus

20131127 Yellow footed Antechinus

20131127 Yellow footed Antechinus, biting. Check out it's teeth

20131127 Yellow footed Antechinus, biting. Check out it’s teeth

Red Throat Skink

Red Throat Skink

Cunningham's skink who has lost it's tail

Cunningham’s skink who has lost it’s tail

This is a larger skink who’s tail is growing back.

Southern velvet Gekooedura Tryoni

Southern velvet geko, Gekooedura Tryoni

20131125 Geko diplodactylus vittatus

20131125 ctenotus taniolatus, Coppertail skink

20131125 ctenotus taniolatus, Coppertail skink

Mistiltoe flower

Mistiltoe flower

Fungai that was dry & looked like moth wings

Fungai that was dry & looked like moth wings

Tiny Fungai

Tiny Fungai

Southern velvet Geko, oedura Tryoni, tail that has been 'dropped' because it was afraid and left a squirming tail behind to fool predators

Southern velvet Geko, oedura Tryoni, tail that has been ‘dropped’ because it was afraid and left a squirming tail behind to fool predators

This image is large so you can see the detail up large of the scales and the bit that attaches to the geko as it is so amazing. When the Geko drops it’s tail it wiggles and squiggles and keeps going like that for quite a while so that the geko can escape and the predator eat the tail hopefully instead of the whole geko. Both Skinks and geko’s lose their tails even the big ones so it is best to catch them NOT by their tails. It takes a few months for their tails to grow back fully and when they do, on geko’s, there is a colour different so you can tell which geko has lost his tail previously. It is quite remarkable.

Big eared micro bat, don't have it's particular name, will replace this when I do

Big eared micro bat, don’t have it’s particular name, will replace this when I do

Chocolate wattle bat, micro bat genuis

Chocolate wattle bat, micro bat genuis

These little guys were so soft and so small, little micro bats with cool names. They are the little spectaculars who make the squeeks and high pitched calls in the nights. Because we caught them in the night and the sun was already up when we checked the trap, they were kept in a little canvas bag pegged on a string in the back of phil’s truck with the windows open for ventilation for the day. They slept all day and were released in the dark that night. If released in the day light they are easy targets for preditors. We also learned that they have a number of hollows that they frequent in a cyclical manner. So old trees – both living and dead with hollows are much needed for living quarters, shelter, shade and many other purposes for so many different species.

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