Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Jottings from the Tropics: 07 March 2012


The orange-footed scrubfowl have been adding to their incubation mound. As a consequence, I spend every morning shovelling leaves, dirt and twigs off the driveway and onto the heap. The more I think about this, the more I suspect that I have fallen for a cunning plan. They only have to get their building material onto the gravel, then muggins here does the heavy lifting. Hmmm. Somewhere in the rainforest a couple of scrubfowl are bragging about this.

- o O o -

Lots of long-nosed bandicoots scampering around last night. (Or just one very active bandicoot. It's difficult to know because they all look the same.) (Well, maybe they don't and they're easy to tell apart. Maybe I'm seeing only one bandicoot and thinking it's half a dozen identical individuals.) (I'm sure Ira Levin wrote a novel about this. The Bandicoots from Brazil or something.) The rain must have brought out their food — insects and snails — in quantity.

Bandicoots are notorious diggers. Not that I mind their excavations, but more than once I've tripped over a bandicoot digging, which has been covered by fallen leaves. Not everybody suffers from bandicoot-related injuries, so a twisted ankle is a small price to pay for having them around. A broken ankle might be another matter.

- o O o -

More stinging trees have sprouted in the driveway and at the side of the house. Time to break out the boiling water, which not only kills the seedlings, but also shrivels up the leaves and stem in less than 24 hours. This technique is effective for plants up to about 20 cm tall. After that, the game gets serious.

Neighbours planning to build on a block about half a kilometre up the road cleared a space for their house in January 2011. The Wet is not a good time to do this. Then Severe Tropical Cyclone Yasi came through a few weeks later and they had to abandon the site until things settled down. In the meantime, the cleared area was a perfect environment for stinging trees. Within a few months, their building plot turned into a lawn of stinging trees —a knee-deep carpet of persistent agony. I couldn't even look at it. I'm not sure how they re-cleared the patch. I would have bulldozed a firebreak around it and used a flamethrower. But only because nuking it from orbit would have been too expensive.

1 comment:

Jenny said...

How clever, boiling water on the little stinging trees! I have the kettle heating as I type.