26 JANUARY 2011 1 of 2


SAME to SUAI, COVALIMA DISTRICT, TIMOR-LESTE

 


TIMOR-LESTE REPTILE & AMPHIBIAN SURVEY
PHASE IV: NEW TERRITORY

In the three previous phases of this project, during 2009 and 2010, we had visited twelve of Timor-Leste's thirteen districts, with only Covalima in the southwest left unvisited. On the morning of the 26th we set out from Same, intending to 'tick that box' and drive to Suai, the main town in Covalima, and use it as a base to initiate a survey of the Tilomar Reserve which abuts West Timor (Indonesia).

As we packed the vehicles outside the Ailelehun Hotel, ever alert members of the group captured additional specimens ranging from a small Australasian forest scorpion (Liocheles australasiae) a relatively innocuous member of the Hemiscorpiidae and not one of the more painful buthid Wood scoprions (Lychas mucronatus) that stung Hinrich, Laca and myself on previous visits to another female Timor flying lizard (Draco timoriensis).

Timor flying lizard
Draco timoriensis
Australasian forest corpion
Liocheles australasiae
Click to enlarge images

The road to Suai involved dropping back to the coast from the mountains and included several river crossings, not all of them via bridges, let alone completed bridges. The first river crossing had no bridge, so we forded the river in low-4. One of the other crossings was fun, as the bridge ran out and left us up in the air. We retreated and crossed the wide, rocky but fortunately fairly dry river-bed.

The Ainaro River, dry and rocky at this time of year
River crossing,
Benny discusses the best route with Hinrich
The bridge to nowhere,
but where you came from

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