The weather is at last beginning to live up to the name of the season; “The Wet”.
77 mm total of rain since Saturday, and 24mm this afternoon alone. It is raining again now.
I make a daily pilgrimage down to the crossing over Sturt Creek but so far the main channel under the bridge is still dry.
It won’t be too long now, I suspect, until the bridge is under water and the creek is a kilometer wide. When I returned to Bili last year, once the road reopened, I was just in time to see the creek still over the bridge, and about 300m wide on either side. Families were swimming and fishing for the small fish that abound at the time. No big ones though. It seems barramundi can’t get this far inland. I suspect that may be because all the rivers in this vicinity never go anywhere near the sea. They all flow down into Lake Gregory which is landlocked. Water then sits there until it evaporates over the dry season, which means that lake Gregory is therefore quite salty. The lack of an outlet to the sea may explain why there are no crocs, either freshwater or estuarine (salties) in this area.
Crocs are known to travel overland quite a coinsiderable distance under population pressure so it is not at all beyond the realms of possibility for them to end up here and in lake Gregory at some time in the future. We know there are freshies in Marella Gorge, and it may well be that salties have already made it there too. My aboriginal friends believe they have made it there already. They can easily come up the Nicholson River from Lake Argyll, where plenty are known to hang out. If they have not yet, it is probably only a matter of time before they do as the population is steadily increasing, and crocs are very territorial. They will not tolerate close neighbours.
It is not a long overland walk from the Nicholson River to the bed of the Sturt, which runs in the opposite direction from the Nicholson down past Ringer Soak, across the country to Billiluna, and on to lake Gregory.
Whereas the Nicholson has water flowing all or most of the time, for much of the year the Sturt is a dry creek bed with a few permanent billabongs. However, if a croc were to set out from Marella across country in the Wet, and found itself in the Sturt, it could quite conceivably eventually end up near here in our little lake Stretch, just 15km from Billiluna on the back road to Mulan. They could possibly hang out during the dry season in one of the many billabongs along the bed of the Sturt, surviving on the wildlife that come to drink.
Since estuarine crocodiles have been pushing steadily west and inland since hunting stopped when they became protected, it is not unreasonable to expect them to continue to search further inland for new territory. The changing climate may either exacerbate or scotch this. Which, yet remains to be seen.
I for one will welcome our reptilian overlords.