22 JANUARY 2011 1 of 2




Each morning of our stay we would be woken by the monks chanting their devotions, a much more acceptable alarm than any phone chimes. After breakfast we set off for the proposed Nancuro Nature Reserve, a strip of coastal forest almost 4 kms by 0.5kms on the southern coast of Timor-Leste, south of Natarbora. Reaching the planned reserve was an expedition in itself. Due to a break in the road, where a bridge was being constructed, we had to make a circuitous off-road route through the swampy grassland and forest, a drive only possible with a 4x4 in high or low four.

Site of the proposed Nancuro Nature Reserve,, Manufahi District

The Students:
back row (l-r) Benny, Luis, Caitlin, Zito, Robert,
front row (l-r) Scott, David, Joanna, Kyle, Laca
and Paul

The Mentors: Hinrich and Mark
Click on image to enlarge

Once in the coastal forest we parked the two Troopies at a point where a treefall prevented further progression and continued on foot. Searching along the trail proved extremely successful, we recorded Rice paddy frog (Fejervarya sp.); Mutilated gecko (Gehyra mutilata); Four-fingered skink (Carlia sp.); Snake-eyed skink (Cryptoblepharus leschenault); Wedge skink (Sphenomorphus sp.); green phase Emerald tree skink (Lamprolepis cf. smaragdina), but the best find was a snake, sighted by Caitlin and caught by Laca and myself, a Ground snake (Stegonotus sp.), another genus not previously recorded from Timor, but one I know well from PNG. We also found two large centipedes of the family Scolopendridae, not something you want to put your hand on by mistake. [Photographs on next page]

Prepping specimens (l-r) Zito, Hinrich, Kyle, Caitlin, Laca and Joanna

The evening was occupied by photography and specimen preping, time-consuming but essential parts of biological fieldwork.


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