Contemporary Rock Art

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Tiny Shower Companions

Never budged as I showered. I am not sure yet of its species…

And a Green Tree Frog too.

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Shower with a friend!

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Wildlife

Last week was a good wildlife observation week for me.  I spent a lot of hours travelling.  Firstly I took a trip to Brown’s Range, beyond Ringer Soak, to conduct an inspection at the rare earth mine that is starting there.  Near Ringer Soak we crossed Sturt Creek, the same river that runs past Billiluna.  It has returned to being a series of ponds and small lakes as the dry season begins.  Only a few weeks ago it seems, it was three kilometres wide, and impassable.  There were herons, ibis and jabiru, magpie geese, cockatoos and galahs.  I flew my drone over them and caught some off guard but a drone is not the best way to photograph birds.

Later, I helped Tika again, transporting his football team between Mulan and Kununurra and back. On the trip I added the two common species of kite and wedge-tail eagles to the list. We saw a few bush turkeys – Australian bustards. No brolgas yet this year.  At home I have bower birds and mudlarks, butcher birds, and the sparrow-like little chap I have finally identified (tentatively) as an Australian pipit. Some little yellow birds I still have not identified.

On the road I dodged two young goanna, a king brown and a fairly large specimen of what I suspect was a greater whipsnake.  I stopped for a closer look at it, but it disappeared into the vegetation on the roadside.  I did not follow.

At home in the Single Persons Quarters, two young green tree frogs have taken up residence in the men’s ablution block.  One is usually in the shower I use and I must take care not to splash him with shampoo or soap.  The other day I found him swimming in the toilet bowl.  Fortunately there are two so I used the other rather than risk flushing him away.

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Extreme Sport

This photo of the Fitzroy river in flood under the Willare Bridge, on the road between Fitzroy Crossing and Broome, was published on FaceBook a while back.

It reminded me of when I drove that way, going to a meeting in Broome in the Holden Colorado.  The river was not so high then.   It was in the dry season.

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As I approached the bridge I saw a rental campervan parked on the verge at the end.

A young man was climbing on the parapet in the middle of the bridge and  was clearly about to jump in.  I pulled up beside him and wound down my window.  He looked nervously at the Shire logo on my Colorado, then returned my friendly smile as I said “G’day mate. Having fun?”

“Yes” he answered in a German accent.

I knew it. Tourist.

“You know that’s pretty dangerous”.  I said.

“Oh no! The water is very deep. We checked first before we started to jump”.

“Good”, I answered. “How long have you been swimming here?”

“About twenty minutes.  It is not illegal, yes?”

“Oh it is not illegal. But I am thinking you should stop. Twenty minutes should be just about enough time for the crocodiles to realise you are here. They will have heard you jumping in, with all the big splashes you must be making.”

“Crocodiles?”

“Yes. Big man-eating salties live in this river.  If it was only freshies I’d say go on and have fun. Freshies are harmless.  But salties… They eat people”.

He called out urgently to his companions below, in German.  I recognised only the word “Krokodil”.

He looked very pale as he waited for his companions to scramble up the bank..

“it is not a joke, yes?”

“No joke mate.  This area is full of crocodiles. Be very careful where you swim”.

We talked a little more. They had driven up from Perth. They were heading for Darwin.   It seemed no one had told them about the crocs in this part of the country.

Tourists.

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Cleaned up.

 

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This is the least traumatic (for me) view inside my donga, taken as my colleagues and I cleaned it out today.  We did have some pleasant surprises. One of the antique clubs was retrieved, and I found my GPS and GoPro camera, though all the gear that goes with it has disappeared along with the 3 camera bags I had.

Unpleasant discoveries too. I found the box that contained my leather bound rice paper edition of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, which is a valuable collectors item, but not the book.  Some of the unstolen DVDS are trampled and scuffed.

We salvaged my Kenwood Chef mixer, food processor and some of my pots and pans, and even a few of my kitchen knives, though not my very best ones.  Even though my cutlery and crockery was mostly gone or smashed, finding these few things made the situation seem a little less bleak,

Everyone kept asking me if I was OK, and I insisted I was, but as we drove away I realised my jaw ached, and I had been grinding my teeth the whole time we were there.

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Stolen Dreams

Caledonia

I don’t know if you can see
The changes that have come over me
In these last few days I’ve been afraid
That I might drift away
So I’ve been telling old stories, singing songs
That make me think about where I came from
And that’s the reason why I seem
So far away today
Oh, but let me tell you that I love you
That I think about you all the time
Caledonia you’re calling me
And now I’m going home
If I should become a stranger
You know that it would make me more than sad
Caledonia’s been everything
I’ve ever had
Oh and I have moved and I’ve kept on moving
Proved the points that I needed proving
Lost the friends that I needed losing
Found others on the way
Oh and I have tried and kept on trying
Stolen dreams yes there’s no denying
I have traveled far with conscience flying
Somewhere with the wind
Oh, but let me tell you that I love you
That I think about you all the time
Caledonia you’re calling me
And now I’m going home
If I should become a stranger
You know that it would make me more than sad
Caledonia’s been everything
I’ve ever had
Now I’m sitting here before the fire
The empty room, the forest choir
The flames that could not get any higher
They’ve withered now they’ve gone
But I’m steady thinking my way is clear
And I know what I will do tomorrow
When the hands are shaken and the kisses flow
Then I will disappear
Oh, but let me tell you that I love you
That I think about you all the time
Caledonia you’re calling me
And now I’m going home
If I should become a stranger
You know that it would make me more than sad
Caledonia’s been everything
I’ve ever had

Dougie MacLean

 

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Learner Pilot

My drone education continued yesterday with a few more flights successfully completed, though that was more due to the quality of the aircraft rather than the skill of the pilot. The first flight over Caroline Pool came up with a high wind warning as soon as the aircraft was higher than 60 m. Then the drone disappeared from my sight just as communication with the controller was lost, so I could not even see where it was on my iPad screen.

I was about to give it up as lost, when it hove into sight and connection was reestablished. Viewing the recording later I could see it had hovered for a short time then plainly concluded that it should head home by itself. Once communication returned I could see it was now in charge. I had only had to watch without interfering as it returned under its own control to the spot from where it had taken off.

The second flight went better. I kept it fairly low and always in sight. However when I told it to return to home by itself, this time it became confused and tried to land in a tree. A warning flashed up that the landing site was not suitable and asking me to guide the aircraft to a better spot. This I did. Smart little machine.

My third and fourth flights were out over old Halls Creek.  There I just practised manoeuvring.  I tried to follow some wild horses, but lost them. I am learning, but I need to remember to turn on the camera to record all the flights.

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