Kickin’ Through the Leaves

My advice on letting go your inhibitions and and kicking through the leaves:

Anywhere else; do it.  

Here; Don’t.

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Deathadder
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Dingone

After a few days my wild new friend stopped turning up at my place.  Such gratitude after I fed him so often. I had even made arrangements for someone to feed him while I was away.  I also have in my freezer half a kangaroo that I got just for him.  Ah well.  At least I still have someone to talk to.  Rim Leaper, my green tree frog, is still living in my toilet.

Dingo

A young wild dingo has come in from the desert and is hanging around the community. Half the residents want him shot, others want to catch him.  He has been coming to my place after dark.   I feed him and talk to him in a calm, soothing voice.  Tonight he became a little braver and actually came onto my deck inside my security cage.  He came pretty close to sniff me, and almost took food from my hand.

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I shall call him Dingo, and he shall be mine, and he shall be my dingo.

The elders tell me that the first thunder will be soon and this will awaken the goannas from hibernation.   If I make friends with Dingo, he will help me track them and dig them out.    One of them says that I should consider Dingo to be mine already.  He says a dingo will only accept one leader, and I have already begun to earn his trust.  He tells me everyone in the community knows I am the animal man.

I have to consider whether I really want a pet dingo.

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.

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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Merry Christmas 2016 from Australia

On the twelfth day of Christmas my ex-wife sent to me
Twelve box jellyfish
Eleven irukandji
Ten eastern brown snakes
Nine funnel web spiders
Eight blue ringed octopus
Seven coastal taipans
Six common death adders
Five great white sharks
Four Crocodiles
Three redbacks
Two paralysis ticks
And a tiger snake in a plastic tree!

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