Taipan swims into view
Just when I begin to think most of the snakes have been washed away, this Taipan (Oxyuranus scutellatus) comes swimming briskly from the Scleria and hauls ashore close by the footbridge to the Tyto hide.
I stepped across to its likely route up through the grass and got near, but the species is ever alert. Couldn't get unobscured shot of the raised head. Moved a little too much, and snake slipped quickly away into knee-high weeds.
Taipans are often active hunters by day. Not so often encountered in the water. This was the first I've seen coming from the flooded razor grass. Not sure that this one-metre snake could cope with a fullgrown water rat, so one of its targets could be this White-browed Crake (Ixobrychus minutus) photographed later in front of the hide. Crake eggs or chicks probably in very short supply after the whole system went under twice in the floods.
An observation on snakes and reported sizes. Most snakes appear to grow with each retelling of sightings. Discarded skins are little help, because they stretch greatly. Swimming snakes always look considerably bigger and longer than when out of water. I know this and yet still had to revise my first estimate of the above snake down by 30 centimetres. Little wonder 'huge pythons' were once so common.
Here's an unlikely meal for any passing python. However this Black Bittern (Ixobrychus flavicollis) stood almost motionless for more than half an hour today directly in front of the lookout knoll. It had presumably been there for much longer, unnoticed by some camera-toting visitors who I spotted from afar but who left before I reached the knoll. Cameras are no substitute for a decent pair of binoculars.