So here's what happened...
On Monday I departed Perth, along with 5 other Ecologia employees (an environmental consulting firm down here, that employs Nigel and Bruce... and for the time-being... me!). We were headed NE, into the mallee woodlands and mulga scrub north of the town of Southern Cross. For the next eleven days the plan was to dig in some pit-fall traps (for small mammals, reptiles, and a few invertebrates), and conduct a variety of other fauna surveys. These had to do with a proposed mining development in the area. Room and board was provided by a mining camp. As opposed to the tents, flies, and single-burner stoves I have become accustomed to, here there was a camp-cook, A/C, and flush-toilets!
|Here's the main hang-out area of the camp. |
Unneeded Tip: If you ever have trouble lighting a bon-fire because the wood is wet, see if half a jug of diesel will help.
And here's where the frustrating part comes in. Like in NE British Columbia, or the Prairies, when it rains in this area, the driving tracks become un-drive-able, plus in increases the risk of spreading the vegetation disease known as "Die-back." Anyhoo, as you may have guessed, it rained! This meant we had to scramble to close all the traps we had set up, and since the roads won't be fit for driving until next week, we were sent back to Perth and somebody else will have to fill in as "bird man" because I'm driving cross-country! (More on that later).
So in sum, it sucks that I'm back since it means less money, less birds, and less COOL PHOTOS FOR THE BLOG!
Despite all that, here are a couple neat images I think you'll enjoy:
|One of WA's top herpers (Jordan Vos), trying to figure out a way to cook his pie.|
|For a few days (during the digging), I was worried this would be my only photograph from the trip. Since it's a signature RC-style "how the birder sees it" moment, I thought I'd include it. This is a female Chestnut Quail-thrush running away|
|One comes across many a cockroach whilst digging holes in this part of the world. |
This was one of the more attractive ones (roughly 6cm-long).
|A large stick-insect inspects Jordan's sun-kissed neck|
|Here's a creature very few Australians have ever seen. This is a full-grown (Western) Pygmy Possum! Held by Astrid Heidrich, our commander-in-chief. A lifer-mammal for most.|
|More dopey cute action (Probably a little over-heated from the trap)|
|Give this puppy a bottle-cap of water, then it's back into the flowering gum trees|
|Not as rare as the scarlet-chest, it's always a treat to run into Major Mitchell's Cockatoo!!!|
|Back in Perth, here's a decent comparison shot of a Long-billed (left), and Little Corella.|
|Also in Perth. This was a bit of a jinx bird for me, but finally after chasing up multiple reports, I finally caught up with this Freckled Duck (a scarce nomad of interior wetlands) at Gwelup Lake.|