Southern Cross Creations
An Australian Woman's Journal
Journal Archive: February 2004
26 February 2004
The Wet Season introduced a fast-paced agenda as family and friends from the USA arrived in January and February along with the rains. The welcome rain brought cool relief and kept us hedging our bets, day by day, on plans to take our guests exploring Far North Queensland. In the back of my mind I wondered, would we be able to get across the creek to replenish the frig? Would I get back across the creek to feed the dog? Would Cyclone Fritz come ashore in Cairns? (It didn't.) Yes, I know, I worry too much!
Though weather makes it difficult to organise travel plans with any certainty at this time of year, I think everyone had a good time, encountering green tree frogs, rainforest leeches (only one), bats, yabbies, even an injured monitor lizard (most likely attacked by a pack of dogs). Starfinder, a vet in the US, gave the lizard immediate first aid and carried it home (it was about 5 feet long, but it didn't struggle), past several stalking dogs. Redbird phoned around on this late Sunday afternoon until she tracked down a wildlife rescue worker who offered to provide a suitable cage and directions to a vet who lived on a distant road across the Tablelands. With the lizard ensconced in the back of the car, Starf, Sorrel and Redbird set off on their mission of mercy, following verbal mud maps for finding the rescue worker and then that vet. Mission accomplished... well into the night.
Our visitors indeed had incredible luck spotting Australia's native wildlife. Tay and Mara drove up the coast with Redbird and spotted a Boyd's Forest dragon, a buff-breasted kingfisher (it has looong tail feathers) and an cassowary. Tay is an avid bird watcher and identified many of the species that it's taken years for Jerry and I to recognise. Local born Cameron cheered us all up when he saw a platypus in the Walsh River during the Capricorn Party. We live in an amazing region.
Before coming to visit us in FNQ, Mara (Jerry's eldest daughter) attended a conference near Melbourne on malaria. She took the photo below of an echidna during a bushwalk outside of Melbourne. She and Tay encountered two echidnas near the base of a tree. I wonder if they found the beginning or end of an echidna train?
An echidna train occurs when male echidnas start following a female that gives hints of being receptive to mating soon. The female may acquire a line of potential mates, trailing along behind her. After leading them down the garden path until she reaches the right state of mind, she finds the base of a suitable tree and wedges herself into the earth there, leaving the males to sort out which one gets to mate with her and that must be tricky.
I'll post more photos of our visitors soon.
Site updated 25 April 2004