Thursday, 24 April 2008

Normal service will be resumed ...

.. when I get internet access that doesn't keep dropping out.

Here's the first day's report. I'll upload pics when I resolve the line problem. (Hopefully tomorrow.)

I would have left Melbourne earlier had I not headed off in the wrong direction. Insane, I know, but for some unaccountable reason I got onto the Calder Highway instead of the Hume. And I couldn't cut across because there's a gorge and an airport in the way. So I had to find a place to get from the outbound lanes to the inbound ones, negotiate the road works and then take the right exit. In the end I left Melbourne at about 10 am, which was fashionably late.

It got better after that.

Notable sights:

Hundreds of straw-necked ibis in a paddock between Numurkah and the Murray. They were so densely packed it looked as if they were being fattened on a feed lot for the Melbourne markets.

Willy-willies (whirlwinds) beside the road between Tocumwal and Jerilderie. One was accompanied by a trio of smaller ones — willy-willettes.

Two flocks (herds?) of emus near the road bridge south of the Urana turn-off.

A nankeen kestrel minding its own business on the power lines was harassed by a magpie. Things were going the magpie's way until the kestrel got pissed off. Then the story changed.

A huge flock of sulphur-crested cockatoos on the banks of the Murrumbidgee at Narrandera.

More apostlebirds than you could poke a stick at.

And, strangest of all, a bright purple police car.


Dave Coulter said...

Woo-hoo! Go kestrel, go!

Noel.B said...


Looking forward to the Willy-willettes.

Old stamping ground.

Snail said...

Dave, the kestrel - magpie interaction was priceless. No damage was done, as far as I could see --- except to the magpie's pride.

Noel, many apologies but I don't have pics of the willy-willies (or the willettes). I had a Volvo 4WD on my tail and I wasn't game to pull over!

Noel.B said...

Hi Snail,

Volvo 4x4!. Now that's scary!.
Tell me, was the driver wearing a bowling hat?. I bet even the kids were wearing bowling hats, & the missus in the front was wearing two!.
I suppose Volvo still haven't fixed the lights, so they are 'off' in daylight, & 'on' in night-light?.
That's good-old Northern Hemisphere tekkchonollology for you. (smile).

Gee, no willetes? ....sigh.

About 1963/4 I was travelling to Sydney, in the railmotor (with the man jogging along in front with a white flag), when suddenly we came to a screeching halt (well actually I just came to realize that not only did it seem like we weren't moving, but we had in fact 'stopped' moving. We were somewhere out on the old man plain; north of Jerilderie.
The reason soon became apparent, as the whole western sky turned a pale brown, everything went earilly silent, & it suddenly became quite dark. Then it hit. I think the dust storm lasted about a year (well I was still finding remnants of it in my clothing etc a year later!).

Snail if perchance you happen to obtain pics of willettes or willie-willies I'd be interested.


Snail said...

I also put Audis in the same category as Volvos ... They both scare me.

I'm going to spend more time in NSW on the way back, Noel, so I will keep my camera at the ready. The big 'uns were splendid --- really well-formed. I was impressed!

Noel.B said...

Hi Snail,

When you are driving across the edge of the "Old Man Plain" (Jerilderie northern region), whatever you do,
do not get out of the car, walk out onto the plain & start pirouetting!!.
You don't want to start one!.