Cunningham's skink is a large skink species native to southeastern Australia, and belongs to the family Scincidae. It can grow up to 30+ cms in length, as was the case with this specimen - definitely one of the largest I have seen. It has a distinctive keel on each scale which gives a slightly spiny appearance. Extremely variable in colour ranging from dark brown to black, with or without blotchy patches, speckles or narrow bands. It is often found in groups, as it is quite gregarious and lives in small family colonies that share a common territory. This territory is marked by a communal defecation site. Usually found around large rock outcrops, sheltering in crevices or under large slabs of rock. It is an opportunistic feeder and is omnivorous. Juveniles tend to be more carnivorous, feeding on insects, spiders, snails, worms and even other lizards, whereas the adults prefer soft plant material such as flowers, berries, fungi, leaves and shoots. I've also heard these skinks aren't above helping themselves to your lunch either. So cheeky!
Northern Flickers are unusual among North American woodpeckers in that their general coloration is brown rather than black and white. Their backs are brown with black barring, and their chests and bellies are light tan with prominent clear black spots. Their tails are black, and they have white rumps. There is a broad, black band across the upper chest.
For the developers at New York start-up Networked Organisms, smartphones are the butterfly nets of the 21st Century. Their tool, Project Noah, lets people upload photos of plants and wildlife around them, creating a map of the natural world and contributing to scientific research in the process.
Bespectacled scientists of yore would carry around hefty field guides, made up of hundreds of pages of text and photos. But these days, smartphone owners have a lighter option: an app called Project Noah, which aims to help people identify plants and animals as well as collect data from "citizen scientists" about where certain species are located.
Project Noah enables us to be part of a more focused online community where we can learn more about wildlife around us and contribute to scientific research. It pulls participants into deeper, more meaningful engagement by enabling people to go on “missions” to collectively map changes based on sightings.
A modern invention that may also hold the key to saving species in the future. Project Noah is a global study that encourages nature lovers to document the wildlife they encounter, using a purpose built phone app and web community. In addition to the virtual "collection" of species, Project Noah encourages citizen science by linking up with existing surveys including the International Spider Survey and the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network.