Bernier Island - return trip 1963.
Hugh Biscoe raised funds to return to Bernier in order to collect live Bettongia so that an experimental colony might be raised in Canberra where he is now working. Dick Hughes (Dr R.D.) also of Zool. Dept ANU was to accompany him in the hope of accumulating population statistics on Lagostrophus.
We also arranged for myself and Glen Storr to accompany them. I could follow up odd incomplete observations from the last trip, in particular Bats and Thetomys, help with the Lagostrophus teeth, and Glen would clear up loose ends in the reptiles.
Ride, Biscoe & Frank Norton (along for the painting as per Depuch) in Ride's car, Storr & Hughes in new diesel Landrover.
> 14th May 1963 (Tuesday)
Nedlands, Moora, Northampton, camped at our usual place about 80* north of the Murchison R. After our meal we went frogging, Storr got 1 in a pool above the 1960 flood level and I got one in a billabong of the river W. of the bridge. Saw eyes in light, on being disturbed it sank to the bottom and lay concealed against the mud, very warty, appears to be a different species from that collected by Glen.
> 15th May (Wednesday)
Camped at Murchison, heard news that Americans have not launched their astronaut yet. Collected a few waste flakes for Crawford - all surface. Arrived Carnarvon.
Whaling station, Mr. H.A. Martin presented whale skull, trawled up southern end of Shark Bay by one of the prawn trawlers August 1962, no teeth, otoliths and 1/4 mandible ! Globicephala.
Met Neil McLauchlin and Ian Campbell of State Fisheries at the Whaling Station, Neil will accompany us as Fauna Warden and Campbell is skipper of Vlaming who will ferry us over - they had just arrived from Geraldton. Got Vlaming loaded.
> 16th May (Thursday)
8.30 hrs sailed from Babbage Hotel, Whaling Station jetty. Two shoals of porpoises, 1 (pair) quite close : long vertical scimitar dorsal fin, nose clearly seen, grey [sketch]. Unloaded stores etc. on beach E. of hospital, i.e. slightly north of Wedge rocks and south of Osprey and Wedge Point - a little surf but got stores ashore without mishap.
Dusk approx. 18.15 large bat flying over dunes around camp, did not succeed in shooting it. Went out with nets at 7.15 caught 16 Lagostrophus, 4 Lagorchestes, 2 Bettongia, 2 Perameles, 1 Thetomys, 1 Gyomys. Lagerstrophus about as common in last trip but Lagerchestes much more common among dunes & even in Wedge Point. Thetomys caught in tussock of S. longifolius below camp in dunes. Exactly as on last trip G. albocinereus caught in low scrub among consolidated dunes above hospital. 17 pick-up skulls.
> 17th May (Friday)
WR103 Thetomys praeconis male, testes descended, scrotal epidermis sepia, wt. 49 grams, total length 242 mm., tail 121 mm, HF 26 mm, E 20.5 Ectoparasites numerous (?mites) collected. *Note on dissection the epedigenes? were found to be in the two posterior sepia pouches and the testes themselves inguinal. Skin & pickled carcase. Pick ups B.21. After lunch went over to hospital and great afternoon with Glen collecting reptiles. Got a lot of Seligia(?) variegata, Heteronotia binoei under sheets of iron, including also Ablepharus elegans and Liasis childreni, a boodie also leaped out from under a sheet of iron. Collected a further number of skulls including a Lagorchestes. 2 billies & nanny and a kid at heel were seen in the centre of the island.
Transferred the albocineres into a tin with holes in it. Will bring it alive to Perth if possible. Ella Fry will find it useful to draw.
Sched. with Carnarvon Flying Dr at 8 but not called until 8.30 O.K.
Skinned male Lagorchestes WR104 very pale colour, joey in pouch but lost between capture & skinning, caught with hand net near Wedge Point at night. Hugh fixed u.g. system.
Went out in evening to south of camp passing through our old camp site of the last expedition and then on to the flats & sandhills above the cliffs. Good boodie catching, 6 specs., saw but did not catch numerous Lagorstrophi, saw no Lagorchestes. Caught 3 Perameles & saw 1 more. Also caught a Liasis childreni on the top of the sandhills, quite tame. Collected a few specimens of a second species of Ocypode.
> 19th May (Sunday)
Rain storm in the middle of breakfast, estimated 70 pts., fortunately got all equipment packed up in time. Something has eaten the tail of the Thetamys. Put both skins away in box well dusted with gammexane powder, should have used more in preparing the skins.
Some of the Ocypode around camp are narcotized, very interesting, probably the result of eating scraps of Lagorchestes poisoned with gammexane, a good collecting technique.
Killed these Perameles of the 18th with Nembutal, a female had eaten her pouch ... last night. Preserved ectoparasites.
WR105, male Perameles bouganvillei, male, wt 194 g., testes large, total length 287 mm., tail 98 mm., T.V. 108 mm, H.F. 47.8, ear 36.7, glans penis bifid, preserved in formalin.
WR106 Female Perameles bouganvillei, wt. 250 gm, pouch gony(?) CR lengths of 1=25mm, H&B (tail gone) 215 mm, HF 48, E. 36. Anaesthetised by nembutol into abdomen. Young killed by anaesthetic, teats 8, 2 elongated [sketch]. Site parasites collected, preserved entire in formalin.
WR107 Female Perameles bouganvillei with 2 pouch young when caught but eaten by mother in bag after capture. Wt 250 gm., H or B (no tail) 210, HF 49, ears 38 [sketch]. Crossed over to Hospital site & Hugh went down tank - contents all fortuitous ... Skeletons:
Unidentified reptiles (lizards) 1
Macropods 3 Pelvic girdles (2 are lagostrophus)
Limb sache (?) of Lagostrophus with skull taken: Knee, ankle, hips, elbow: nearly fired, wrist, Vertebrae.
Went out , very windy night & wet. Collected 1 Lagorchestes (saw 2 others), 6 Lagostrophes and 1 Thetomys.
> 20th May 1963 (Monday)
Very windy, wind shifted from the south into south-east. Too much sea to get boat near the beach, Vlaming sheltering (?) in behind Wedge Rocks like Lancelin did in the last trip. S...ed on time at 0800, strength 10, meant to ask questions re (1) weather forecast in Bay (2) Time of coig(?) sked ? frequency, but owing to the missed sked yesterday he did not call us and switched off without giving us a chance to come up.
WR108 Thetomys praeconis, male, collected among sand dunes, patch of
procumbent vegetation south of Wedge Point. Reflected in spotlight , squeaked when caught opened its mouth but did not bite. Scrotal testes with epididymes in dark sacs, protruding behind. Wt 42 gm., total length 215 mm., tail 120 mm, TV 120 mm, E. 19mm, HF25.8. Ectoparasites collected, preserved entire in alcohol, photographed in colour & b&w.
WR109 Lagorchestes hirsutus, female, caught in hand net north of Wedge Point, with pouch young, Ectoparasites collected, preserved entire in formalin. Wt.1850, Total length.., tail..., TV... HF... Ear..., Joey: Total length 265, tail 115, TV 130, Wt.120 gm., HF 71, E 23.7. Finely formed, just standing but no sense of balance, squeaking, eyes open on left... tent.
Afternoon spent going over to the western side of the island. Hugh and the sailors de.. boodies at the hospital site & got 3 (1male, 2 female). Found quite a lot of spinifex (Triodia) (c. 10 acres of mixed Triodia steppe) Went out in the evening, saw 2 Thetomys near Wedge rocks, collected 1[WR110], collected 20 Lagostrophus 2. 2 Bottyca, saw 2 Lagochestes but caught 1. Rain & strong wind. To bed.
Thetomys praeconis male WR110, skin, skull & as much skeleton as possible. HF 26.1, E. 18.7, Total length 205 mm., Tail 112.4 mm. taken alive to Perth, died on way.
> 21st May 1963 (Tuesday).
Rained all night very uncomfortable. Heavy sea running, boat set off for other side of Wedge Island in morning. Tried to get through on wireless, no luck, further sked at 11.30, put arial into different place. Picked up - hope to get off if weather abates, sent telegrams at 11.30 to say held up by weather but to alert Neville Beeck to collect the Lycostrophus. Spent day hoping for weather to clear but in afternoon Neil McLauchlan sent word that a storm warning is out and that it is not possible to cross. Very nearly lost Vlaming. Two days ago a small speedboat with 3 Perth fishermen turned up on the island. Did not realise how dangerous these waters are and had no life jackets, flares, wireless or even compass."Only 30 miles and she can do 25 knots - back and across in an hour or so"!! They had insufficient fuel to get back, they had to run up the island against heavy seas - no food or water. Vlaming took them in but this morning the Vlaming tried to move out from the weather side of the rocks, her screws picked up the small boat painter & very nearly washed onto the reef. The little boat was cut adrift with one man in it & got ashore. Vlaming got going & anchored safely.
> 22nd May 1963 (Wednesday)
125 pts during the night, still heavy seas and storm warnings for coastal waters south of NW cape for at least 18 hrs. Spent morning drying bedding & building a box for the Lagostrophus. Afternoon went down to the cliffs below Wedge Island i e beween it and the rocks where Hugh had seen Botts., collected a number, they appear to be confined to the lower part of the cliffs & in places at any rate, are in fissure fills & solar cavities, but it is also clear that within the Bothriembryon limestone (which is dramctinged (?) by the presence of rodners(?) and connecting structures(?)) there are other solution cavities containing a different material. Collected specs. of
(a) Rock which is fissured and filled with Both. limestone
(b) Bothriembryon limestone
(c) fills in the Both. limestone
In evening went out with Hugh and Dick - very poor, suspect that after storm the animals are feeding early. Collected 2 Lagostrophus & 1 Lagorchestes (released the Lagorchestes and the others after recount) Glen got another Nephurus and a Thyayocrypts(?).
> 23rd May (Thursday) 1963.
Packed up, signed ed af VJTCarnarvon, left island. Talked to Neil about goats on south end sea at West Coast opposite Redcliff Point, mob of 26 of which we got 5, all white but with brownish markings on face.
Spinifex approx. 1 mile south of Redcliff Pt, area 1/4 mile by 500 yards paced out. Spinifex clearly dominant in the area and clumps very high "much higher than in Dorre". Neil went down to Dorre first to make sure.
List of pick-up skulls 4 p.
Photo (col.) of landscape.
Arrived back at Carnarvon, Perth 2.15 am 24/May/63.
Picked up car at whaling Stn, Billabong Road House Wannoo, petrol, shower & meal. Geraldton, Carnamah, back at Perth (Nedlands) at 02.15 am 24/May/63.