The Nature Lover's Log

Natural resources at my desk

I have updated this old post as I find I am using more online resources, particularly for insect identification.

My love for nature is enhanced by constant education. These are some of the resources that help me classify and learn about the flora and fauna in my photos. I apologise to my overseas visitors these resources relate to Australian wildlife.

Online:

Facebook:

Amateur Entomology Australia – Fantastic group there is seemingly enthusiasts on each insect group here. If you want an id make sure you follow the rules of group by posting geographical location and any helpful behaviour/size/plant hosts/micro-habitat. Be aware that many insects cannot be identified to species level – because they either need microscopic examination or a simply not well-described (this is what makes entomology so exciting). Apart for getting id’s the posts by others will teach you a lot about insect behaviour and classification.  This site also seems to except spider posts although not insects.

Websites:

http://www.bowerbird.org.au/ If I can’t get an id on Amateur Entomology facebook I go to this citizen science site where you can post photos and descriptions and usually have it identified as close as possible by an expert. This site is a little hard to get used to but administrators seem to be very patient with newbies. I had trouble with screen size/scrolling once and got quick response via email. There is a long online document with instructions on how to post but I found it best to muddle through and refer to instructions when you get stuck (otherwise you will be overwhelmed.)  Even if you don’t post, scrolling through the sightings on individual ‘projects’ may lead you to an id on your own discovery.  ‘Projects’ on bowerbird are broad groups of living things eg moths, beetles, bees, spiders, fungi or even all sightings in a particular geographical location.

https://www.brisbaneinsects.com/ WOW! this site has me in awe. The Chew family from Brisbane started this site in 2001 and their last posting appears to be 2011. They have taken so much care to carefully identify and photograph the insects around Brisbane. Because ids in the insect world are ever-changing some classifications here may be out of date. Even so, this is the site where I most often find matches to the hard-to-find creatures or at least find their closest relatives. Just looking through the listing of insect families is an education and gives you a broad perspective of evolutionary relationships. I live in southern NSW but rarely find an insect that is not listed here (although there are are many that I don’t see). I hope this site is never taken down as I believe it will serve as a record of insect biodiversity which according to dire predictions is in rapid decline. Thank you, Chew family.

https://australianmuseum.net.au/animals The Australian Museum site is an important source of accurate information on classification. Can be contacted by email with photo attachment if you are really stuck. I queried them a few times and they have given good succinct answers.

http://www.ozanimals.com/index.html It is not clear who runs this site but they certainly have a wide array of photos of all animal types with classification. Click on the small index photos to see larger and often a variety of photos. Good to browse through if unsure where to start.

https://fungimap.org.au/ this is a not-for-profit organisation that asks for your sightings of fungus. They have pdf forms to fill in if you want to submit a sighting or have a fungus identified. Identification will take a while as they are inundated with requests and fungi can be tricky shape/colour shifters which are hard to classify. Try some of the resources listed before you submit an identification request.

http://hunter.lls.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0009/516807/guide-to-common-fungi-hcr.pdf This is a guide to local fungi in the Hunter and Central Rivers Region of NSW. Not my region, but of course, a lot of fungi are widespread. Good descriptions and photos.

http://hvbackyard.blogspot.com.au/ This blog appears to have been inactive (sadly) for a while. But has a good list of fungi pictures which have been carefully classified.

https://wildlifespotter.net.au/ This is a bit different. Not a site to investigate my photos but a fun site to help with fauna research. Sign up and classify animals taken by automatic cameras set up for various projects throughout Australia. I have spotted quolls, dingoes, white-tailed rats, bandicoots, bettongs, mulgara (small marsupial carnivores) and, I know you won’t believe me – I think a Tasmanian tiger.

Instagram:

On Instagram you can just about find any # you could ever imagine. If you suspect you have a particular fungus, bird, insect, search on the hashtag and relevant pictures will appear. I have put in some pretty obscure genus and species names and have rarely had zero hits. From these hashtag searches (and those who like your posts) you can find nature photographers that are also interested in classifying flora and fauna. Use specific hashtags so you attract like-minded naturalists.

Bird apps Books are still the best tools for bird identification but it can be useful to have a bird app with calls. I purchased the Morcombe and Stewart Guide a few years ago. However this is quite expensive ($30) and really the most useful feature is the audio. I notice there are now free apps for apple and android devices that offer bird sounds.

There are of course many other websites, blogs and apps – some of them specialising in particular types of animals. Image searches are your friend and enemy. I’ve been down a lot of rabbit holes that lead to sites that have no classifications or wrong classification. When doing a search remember to always put the location (at least country) to narrow down. Also remember that juvenile and adult, male and female can look quite different. Observations of behaviour and habitat are also often invaluable in classification.

Books:

IMG_9043 (2)

I have many books on my shelves relating to marine life (from my scuba diving days) birds, mammals, reptiles, plants, and backyard wildlife. Some of these are quite old and there may be better or later editions published. But the following four books I have carefully chosen in the last 6 months and I can vouch for their usefulness in classification (as well as sheer beauty). Books are an important resource and far less likely to mislead you than the internet. They are often my first stop before I check online for more images and details.

The Field Guide to the Birds of Australia, Graham Pizzey and Frank Knight, 2012

I have old editions of Cayley’s and Simpson and Day  on my shelves but I was recently gifted this book for Mothers Day and it is my most treasured reference. Each page has only a few closely related species depicted (maximum four) with beautiful clear drawings often showing juvenile, male and female forms as well as variants. Every household should have a bird book and this one I would highly recommmend.

The Butterflies of Australia, Albert Orr and Roger Kitching, 2011

Also a mother’s day present. Filled with wonderful pictures of, not only the butterflies, but also eggs, caterpillars, pupae and host plants. This is large book (28cm long) and beautiful enough to grace a coffee table

A field guide to Australian Fungi, Bruce Fuhrer, revised 2016

This is a book with over 500 fungi described and beautifully photographed in their natural environment. It is widely acknowledged to be the most comprehensive guide to Australian fungi. Despite this, fungi identification is incredibly difficult for a beginner like me. Even using this book and internet searches I have five or six fungi photos that have me stumped. There is variation within species of colour and size and many features (sometimes microscopic) that have to be either recorded or photographed. Even in this book there are many fungi that are listed in a general group and described as unidentified species.

A field guide to Spiders of Australia, Robert Whyte and Greg Andersen, 2017

Beautiful close-up photos of spiders. You may not find the spider you are looking for here but it will set you on the right track re families to investigate.

The Nature Lover's Log

Natural resources at my desk

I have updated this old post as I find I am using more online resources now, particularly for insect identification.

My love for the nature is enhanced by constant education. These are some of the resources that help me classify and learn about the flora and fauna in my photos. I apologise to my overseas visitors these resources relate to Australian wildlife.

Online:

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/AmateurEntomologyAustralia/ Fantastic group there is seemingly an enthusiasts on each insect group here. If you want an id make sure you follow the rules of group by posting geographical location and any helpful behaviour/size/plant hosts/micro-habitat. Be aware that many insects cannot be identified to species level – because they either need microscopic examination or a simply not well-described (this is what makes entomology so exciting). Apart for getting id’s the posts by others will teach you a lot about insect behaviour and identification.  This site also seems to except spider posts although not insects.

Websites:

http://www.bowerbird.org.au/ If I can’t get an id on Amateur Entomology facebook I go to this citizen science site where you can post photos and descriptions and usually have it identified as close as possible by an expert. This site is a little hard to get used to but administrators seem to be very patient with newbies. I had trouble with screen size/scrolling once and got quick response via email. There is a long online document with instructions on how to post but I found it best to muddle through and refer to instructions when you get stuck (otherwise you will be overwhelmed.)  Even if you don’t post, scrolling through the sightings on individual ‘projects’ may lead you to an id on your own discovery.  ‘Projects’ on bowerbird are broad groups of living things eg moths, beetles, bees, spiders, fungi or even all sightings in a particular geographical location.

https://www.brisbaneinsects.com/ WOW! this site has me in awe. The Chew family from Brisbane started this site in 2001 and their last posting appears to be 2011. They have taken so much care to carefully identify and photograph the insects around Brisbane. Because ids in the insect world are ever-changing some classifications here may be out of date. Even so this is the site where I most often find matches to the hard-to-find creatures or at least find their closest relatives. Just looking through the listing of insect families is an education and gives you a broad perspective of evolutionary relationships. I live in southern NSW but rarely find an insect that is not listed here (although there are are many that I don’t see). I hope this site is never taken down as I believe it will serve as a record of insect biodiversity which according to dire predictions is in rapid decline. Thank you, Chew family.

https://australianmuseum.net.au/animals The Australian Museum site is an important source of accurate information on classification. Can be contacted by email with photo attachment if you are really stuck. I queried them a few times and they have given good succinct answers.

http://www.ozanimals.com/index.html It is not clear who runs this site but they certainly have a wide array of photos of all animal types with classification. Click on the small index photos to see larger and often a variety of photos. Good to browse through if unsure where to start.

https://fungimap.org.au/ this is a not-for-profit organisation that asks for your sightings of fungus. They have pdf forms to fill in if you want to submit a sighting or have a fungus identified. Identification will take a while as they are inundated with requests and fungi can be tricky shape/colour shifters which are hard to classify. Try some of the resources listed before you submit an identification request.

Instagram  On Instagram you can just about find any # you could ever imagine. If you suspect you have a particular fungus, bird, insect, search on the hashtag and relevant pictures will appear. I have put in some pretty obscure genus and species names and have rarely have zero hits. From these hashtag searches (and those who like your posts) you can find nature photographers that are also interested in classifying flora and fauna. Use specific hashtags so you attract like-minded naturalists.

http://hunter.lls.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0009/516807/guide-to-common-fungi-hcr.pdf This is a guide to local fungi in the Hunter and Central Rivers Region of NSW. Not my region, but of course, a lot of fungi are widespread. Good descriptions and photos.

http://hvbackyard.blogspot.com.au/ This blog appears to be inactive (sadly) for a while. But has a good list of fungi pictures which have been carefully classified.

https://wildlifespotter.net.au/ This is a bit different. Not a site to investigate my photos but a fun site to help with fauna research. Sign up and classify animals taken by automatic cameras set up for various projects throughout Australia. I have spotted quolls, dingoes, white-tailed rats, bandicoots, bettongs, mulgara (small marsupial carnivores) and, I know you won’t believe me – I think a Tasmanian tiger.

Bird apps Books are still the best tools for bird identification but it can be useful to have a bird app with calls. I purchased the Morcombe and Stewart Guide a few years ago. However this is quite expensive ($30) and really the most useful feature is the audio. I notice there are now free apps for apple and android devices that offer bird sounds.

There are of course many other websites and blogs – some of them specialising in particular types of animals. Image searches are your friend and enemy. I’ve been down a lot of rabbit holes that lead to sites that have no classifications or wrong classification. When doing a search remember to always put the location (at least country) to narrow down. Also remember that juvenile and adult, male and female can look quite different. Observations of behaviour and habitat are also often invaluable in classification.

Books:

IMG_9043 (2)I have many books on my shelves relating to marine life (from my scuba diving days) birds, mammals, reptiles, plants, and backyard wildlife. Some of these are quite old and there may be better or later editions published. But the following three books I have carefully chosen in the last 6 months and I can vouch for their usefulness in classification (as well as sheer beauty). Books are an important resource and far less likely to mislead you than the internet. They are often my first stop before I check online for more images and details.

The Field Guide to the Birds of Australia, Graham Pizzey and Frank Knight, 2012

I have old editions of Cayley’s and Simpson and Day  on my shelves but I was recently gifted this book for Mothers Day and it is my most treasured reference. Each page has only a few closely related species depicted (maximum four) with beautiful clear drawings often showing juvenile, male and female forms as well as variants. Every household should have a bird book and this one I would highly recommmend.

 

The Butterflies of Australia, Albert Orr and Roger Kitching, 2011

Also a mother’s day present. Filled with wonderful pictures of, not only the butterflies, but also eggs, caterpillars, pupae and host plants. This is large book (28cm long) and beautiful enough to grace a coffee table

 

A field guide to Australian Fungi, Bruce Fuhrer, revised 2016

This is a book with over 500 fungi described and beautifully photographed in their natural environment. It is widely acknowledged to be the most comprehensive guide to Australian fungi. Despite this, fungi identification is incredibly difficult for a beginner like me. Even using this book and internet searches I have five or six fungi photos that have me stumped. There is variation within species of colour and size and many features (sometimes microscopic) that have to be either recorded or photographed. Even in this book there are many fungi that are listed in a general group and described as unidentified species.

 

A field guide to Spiders of Australia, Robert Whyte and Greg Andersen

Beautiful close-up photos of spiders. If you may not find the spider you are looking for here but it will set you on the right track re families to investigate.

Literaleigh, Writing

In and Out of my Comfort Zone 3

literaleigh shorts orange (2)My third post of things I have done IN and OUT of comfort zone. The out is the important one as these are the things that have taken a little courage or effort to push beyond the everyday. It has been a while since I’ve written, Ins and Outs but I will try to be succinct, as this post is meant to fit into my shorts series of posts.

In:

Nature nerding:nature collage 2_Page_1 (2) I’ve been busy bird-watching, spotted many mammals, observed incredible insects, sensational spiders and recently had a flurry of fungus fun.

Visits to the state forests of the Southern Highlands – Wingello, Belanglo and Penrose started me on my fungi fixation. The pine plantations are rich with mushrooms – both poisonous and edible. My husband says I now have fungi on the brain, well I guess that’s better than on my feet (I think). Blame the bored-doodle (previously named distractordog) we only travelled far afield to the state forests because we were catering for her boundless energy. Dogs are allowed off-leash in state forests but not at all in the National Parks or the Illawarra Escarpment State Conservation Areas closer to home.

I’ve always appreciated flora and fauna but a few new book gifts, websites and naturalists on social media have further encouraged me. My next post in Natures Lovers Log will list those resources that have aided and abetted by obsession. My instagram and facebook followers may have wondered whether the mother and writer has been hijacked by the biology nerd.

webcap When I was young I always dreamed of a job as a park ranger, marine scientist, museum curator or biology researcher. But my nature hobby is the next best thing – maybe better, as I can go wherever my photos and feet take me with no expectation or restriction.

 

Out :

Scwbi collage
Some of my roving photography at the SCBWI conference.

Nervous conference attendee: In September last year I attended my first SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) conference, held in Sydney. To push myself way out of my comfort zone I dived in head first and signed up to be a roving reporter/photographer. I am not a natural networker and, as I suspected, I felt out of by depth in the company of esteemed authors and publishers. However, I didn’t regret signing up for the reporting job. Taking photos gave me something to do and an excuse to mingle. If you’re an introvert like me and have a mortal fear of looking like an impostor it’s helpful to go to conference with an activity in mind – whether to participate in a pitch session, or help the organisers or have plans to meet fellow participants – perhaps those you have only previously known online.  My favourite part of the conference was viewing the wonderful portfolios on display at the illustrator showcase. But I was also inspired by the varied panel discussions and always entertained by Susanne Gervay’s (Aust/NZ Regional Advisor) warm and funny MC-ing.

 

Muddling through a MOOC:MOCC iowa cert (3) I participated in a MOOC (Massive Online Open Course) called ‘Storied Women’ (how to write women in fiction) conducted by the International Writing Program (IWP) at the University of Iowa, USA. I didn’t know what I was letting myself in for as this was my first adult literary course. The assignments tested me. The parameters set for the assignments were broad enough so that everybody (and there were 1000’s) could write a different story but focused enough to make you think about aspects of plot, character or form discussed in the lectures.  Being a free* course there is no real pressure to complete it but I was swept up in the challenge. I eagerly awaited each of the video lectures and readings and completed the five weekly assignments. These assignments are submitted online and are commented on by peers. The usefulness and number of the comments vary but at the end of the course I had five pieces that I wouldn’t have otherwise written. I’m a convert and intend to participate in selected future  IWP MOOCS.

*Note: the course is free but to get a certificate sent via email is US$50. You must accumulate enough points via submitting comments and assignments to gain this award. I saw this money as a donation but probably won’t purchase the certificate next time. The work I’d produced by the end of the course was the real reward.

Literaleigh, Writing

Day 9 #introtopoetry

Prompt : Landscape

Form:  Apostrophe (a form where an absent/imaginary person, abstract idea or thing is personified and addressed directly)

bush track

The Bush Trail

When the ground’s

too hard, my body soft,

Beckon me.

When life’s a grind

And the air stifles

Whisper to me.

Don’t hold your wild

secrets close.

Invite me.

O’ wend and wander.

Rise and fall.

Inexplicably offer

More ups

Than downs.

Feel them pass

those who seek

only conquest.

But O’ let me

Linger, listen, heal

Explore, breath, feel

You.

Lead me on through

Humbling forests

To vast vistas.

Down fern gullies

O’er trickling streams,

To the end, our parting,

Bittersweet.

You ask for nothing

And give me peace.

 

Literaleigh, Writing

Having a stab at #introtopoetry

Poet, I am not, but I take heart in knowing that the only path leads upwards as far as my knowledge and appreciation of verse and all its forms. I promised in this blog that I would push myself out of my comfort zone. Well, writing poetry for a ten day challenge is out of my zone and into outer space. So here goes.

Day One of the Intro to Poetry WordPress challenge.

Prompt: Water

Form: Haiku

Once wild pristine stream.
Mine tunnels. Sandstone bed cracks
Toxic soup stagnates.

 

Nepean River for Haiku
The Nepean River near Douglas Park, a once clear river.  Polluted as result of longwall mining. Large bubbles can be seen rising to the surface from the fractured river bed.

 

 

Literaleigh, The Nature Lover's Log

In defence of Banksia men

During my recent wanderings through the bush I’ve come face to face with many banksia men. I heard murmurings  in the scrub that many were dissatisfied with decades of ill will from Snugglepot and Cuddlepie readers.  A few of the banksia elders urged me to show the world their real nature. I agreed but approached the assignment with trepidation, after all, these guys had a scary reputation.

 All the bad Banksia men were sitting in their boats laughing and clapping their hands and looking up at a high cliff. There, on top of the cliff, stood the baddest of all the bad Banksia men. In one hand he held poor little Snugglepot and in the other a great stone. At his feet was a deep, deep hole.

Lots of bad. Very bad. With their slitty eyes and they sly grins bad Banksia men are the stuff of nightmares.

So with camera in hand and heart aflutter I set out to infiltrate the ranks of the Banksia men. My findings may surprise you.

I found that young banksias (banksia boys?) all start out beautiful but quite uniform.

banksia boy collage

As they grow older they develop their own varied and fascinating personalities. Rarely are they  bold and raucous like the bad Banksia men. Many are, in fact, quite shy and can be found hiding quietly in the leaf litter. Gonzo here, was nervous about getting his picture taken and insisted I wait till he smoothed his whiskers.

IMG_5095 crop banksia man

There are the extroverts amongst them, however, these are fun-loving and cheeky, rather than cruel. This cheerful banksia lad showed me the ultimate act of kindness by laughing at one of my jokes (Sorry about the bad photo quality – he was jiggling with mirth).

laughing banksia man

Admittedly some of the elderly are a little grumpy but I guess you would be too if you were woken from an afternoon nap by a camera flash…

grumpy banksia man

..but later when he woke up fully this Banksia man was a personable old fella. He told me he’d overheard a mother tell her little girl that he was wicked and evil. This upset him. He said he’d never harmed a single creature.

banksia man awake

I found you could no more label banksia men as one thing or another – bad, good, cute, ugly, than you could a crowd of people. Each was an individual with their own style and temperament.

There are the straight up and down, clean-shaven sorta guys (slightly nerdy).

clean shaven straight guy banksia 2

There are the backwoods men with their bald heads and flowing beards. Like Bob here. He did like to spin a yarn but he was all ears when I told him about my mission to seek the truth about banksia men.

backwoods bob

Of course you get your  flamboyant types who are very at home in front of the camera. They love showing off their body decorations and eccentric hairstyles. They are not particularly worried about the ‘bad’ label but did think the styling of bad Banksia men was apalling.

flamboyant banksia man crop

I also met a few happy-go-lucky, scruffy types who didn’t care a nut about what people thought of them.

IMG_4131

In all my time amongst the different tribes of banksia men I didn’t find one who wanted to kidnap, loot,scratch or spit. So please, parents, when you go walking through the bush don’t allow your prejudices to colour your views. If you look hard enough among the banksia trees you will find more good and generous types than bad and devious.

banksia clipart sepia

So what of the other enemies in the Snugglepot and Cuddlepie stories. Do they deserve a reprieve?

Certainly, I could do a piece on the poor, maligned, Mr Snake. Snakes, like banksia men, are not all bad. Yes, it is easy to shudder at the sight of their slithery, scaled bodies but, every one, poisonous, non-poisonous and constrictors alike, serve a purpose in the bush community.

Red belly black long_edited-1

Mr Kookaburra even admits. “It would be very awkward for me if there were no snakes to eat.”

What of the other main enemy in the May Gibbs stories?  The ugliest, strangest creature of all.

“They have many skins which they take off many times. When all the skins are off (they) look like a pale frog..

This horrible enemy traps Ragged Blossom and Cuddlepie in a jar and, just for fun, shakes them about so their poor little heads knock against the glass.

“Just because we are little they think we can’t feel,” said Cuddlepie

I’m afraid I have to agree with the wise, laughing bird on this particular baddy.

“These Humans,” said Mr Kookaburra “are as bad as bad,..”

You’ll get no argument from me, Mr Kookaburra. Destructive, thoughtless and selfish, humans are beyond redemption.

banksia clipart sepia

 

Footnote : I owe a great deal to May Gibbs. Her stories were not of strange foreign places like the England of the Famous Five or the India of The Jungle Book. She wrote of my childhood landscape – the coastal Australian bush. I knew the gum blossoms and nuts, lizards and kookaburras and, of course, bad Banksia men. The characters May Gibbs created were my friends and… enemies, if I imagined them to be. To me the bush was already a wonderful playground. The stories of the gumnut babies made it magical as well. One of my proudest moments and earliest memories was of a neighbour and I winning a fancy dress competition dressed as Snugglepot and Cuddlepie ( it’s not what you think – we had pink leotards on). I so wish I had a picture, or some remnant of those outfits. I do, at least, have my treasured original copy of, The Complete Adventure of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie, with the inscription:

To Leigh with love from Mum and Dad on your 8th birthday.

Distractordog likes gumnut baddies
Distractordog likes the smell of the gumnut babies but…

 

 

 

Distractordog and banksia men
…even after reading this post she kept her distance from the bad Banksia men

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Nature Lover's Log

An unwelcome gecko

IMG_1878-thumbnail-webImagine my thrill when I found a gecko on the roof of my downstairs under-renovation bathroom. I’d never seen one in the Illawarra. I love geckos. I was quite attached to one that used to keep me company in my dorm room in Wagga when I was at Uni. Another gecko encounter has gone into family legend. We were staying on a farm in Northern NSW and my husband spotted a leaf-tailed gecko on the laundry wall. He lifted our, then 3yr -old daughter up to view it. Curiouser and curiouser she leaned closer and closer then lifted her hand to touch it. Understandably affronted by this action the gecko leapt at her and brushed against her hand. She screamed and claimed the gecko had bitten her (no mark) and it was all Dad’s fault (of course). That night she did get bitten – all over ,by dozens of mosquitos. She had a severe allergic reaction to the bites which resulted in a rush to hospital, adrenalin, and, very nearly a tracheostomy (Just our average happy holiday – there has been devastating floods, broken bones and gastrointestinal illness in other episodes). To this day Daughter Unruly associates her traumatic illness with Dad and the poor blameless gecko. So it’s become a bit of a family joke to ‘blame the gecko.’

So gecko’s make me smile – except the one I found in the bathroom last week. This is an Asian house gecko. On further google investigation I found it to be an invasive specimen out-competing our native geckos and other small reptiles. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xGdKd11_8GE

Asian house gecko
Found on the bathroom ceiling in our Illawarra home (approx. 11cm long)

 

The Asian house gecko or common house gecko (Hemidactylus frenatus) betters the cane toad for its successful spread throughout Northeast Australia. But in even worse news – I don’t live in Queensland or even Northern NSW I live more than 750 km south of Brisbane – in Wollongong.

Is this year’s warm extended summer to blame or is this indicative of a trend of sub-tropical species moving south due to climate change?

I have recorded my sighting and photo on a website called Climatewatch. This site allows individuals to record the location of species sightings so their distribution can be mapped. With the axing of many climate scientists from government bodies sites like this may became more valuable than ever to help us monitor trends in climate zones.

The Asian house gecko has a tapering tail and is pinky-brown to dark grey in colour. They can be identified by the small spines along lower back and edges of tail. http://www.ozanimals.com/Reptile/Asian-House-Gecko/Hemidactylus/frenatus.html They also make a loud chick chick noise. https://www.soundrangers.com/index.cfm/product/63065_827/gecko-asian-house-gecko-call-01.cfmI may have heard this at night but dismissed it as a bird.

Two nights before the gecko sighting I saw small cylindrical droppings just outside the laundry/bathroom door and assumed it was a mouse. I bought some humane mouse traps but had no luck catching any vermin. I now wish I had inspected those dropping more closely as they were possibly gecko droppings. A clue to identifying gecko poos is the presence of small white blobs on one end.

I would be interested to hear if any other of my fellow New South Walians (never thought Welshmen was appropriate term) has seen or heard the Asian house gecko.

I have asked the Queensland Museum to confirm identification but as yet have not heard.