Tuesday, July 19, 2016

18-19.July.2016 (Day 43-44)

Full moon, no stopping 



We have an excellent guard dog on the way to our house. Err guard bird. The barn owl I showed you earlier…


Barn owl (Tyto alba)






…is there every night. Screeching constantly, especially as you get closer to an old dead tree along the path that must be where it rests every night. It’s comforting to know that if anyone is walking around outside you’ll quickly know it; the screeching won’t end until you’ve gone back into one of the buildings.



I had always assumed they just didn’t like anyone else in their neighborhood.



Turns out the reason was far cuter,




Babies!



Spittin’ image of yer mum




Watching two fledglings clumsily walk around and learn to fly is just about the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. Judging from their size I’m not sure I’d classify them as ‘babies’ anymore, but watching them fumble over each other and start to flap their wings is totes adorbs




Last night a fellow middle pointian came out to help in the search and we managed to bag two more little buggas. In return I helped him scout out a field site  at a local national park called Litchfield.





This place



Is



Awesome!



How I just found out about it is beyond me. Because we went during the day to scope the scene it was tourist-ville, but there were still plenty of amazing sites.





Magnetic termite (Amitermes meridionalis)




All of their mounds are on a north-south alignment to minimize exposure to the sun. Each mound is full of arches, tunnels, chimneys, insulation, and nursery chambers for their young.


The drier parts of the park were full of them and it felt like going through a graveyard.



A walk among the tombstones






A little back-story about one of the reasons I was so excited to come out here.

Coming from Phoenix I get used to being in the pool at least once a day (what else are you going to do when the thermometer starts blowing its top?), but being in the NT, virtually every body of water is crowded with giant salties.

I was given a little reprieve on my trip to Cairns, but only enough to wet my appetite, not satiate my need to swim around and feel free in the water.


Enter: Litchfield



What we were looking for was smaller streams that feed into the river. That doesn’t mean we didn’t have time to take a quick dip in the local swimming hole.


From high above on the canyon walls I could tell this place was going to be legit.



Buleys Rockhole





And from the bottom, while a bit crowded, it was everything I could have hoped for from the local ‘rockhole’ (which must be Ozzie for watery paradise).


Swimmin’ hole





The water felt amazing. I would argue it was the perfect temperature.




Swimmin hole (Part II)




Even though the falls were flowing pretty good I doubt it was strong enough to bathe the combined filth of 5+ weeks of field work off me, but I sure gave it my best shot.

Nature’s filth-be-gone








You’ll have to admit, I’ve been pretty good above not over doing the selfies on the trip so far.




Those days are behind us.



As a millennial it’s in my blood to see something cool and immediately think ‘hmm, now how I going to capture this moment and include my face +/- a silly expression???’



Because I had a partner in crime today, the selfies did flow!



Shameless waterfall selfie #2,856






Idiot-grin selfie #14,976





Shameless waterfall and idiot-grin selfie #12






Of course it wouldn’t be a selfie extravaganza + me in the water (not the best swimmer admittedly) without a drowned-rat epic-fail picture






An ever graceful mer-man





Getting to some of the farther-out areas of Litchfield were, ummm, interesting to say the least.



video






Tonight I’m going for the last of my snakes. Only one more children’s python and five more water pythons. It’s a full moon and the NT is burning in the distance. Anything can happen.







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