Monday, 6 July 2009

Topi trip 2

Topi Gums

The house we are staying in is marvellous, looking out over a large dam and with just enough mown grass to provide a firebreak.

The first animal we had encountered was the caretaker's Great Dane cross: it was very friendly and playful, and Tammy was very keen to go and play with it, but if there had been an outbreak of hostilities she wouldn't have made a mouthful! She has herself made a mouthful of various bones we have given her, and then buried what won't fit. This is a very amusing process to watch as all steps in the process are done with great precision. On one occasion she set off (on the lead) down the drive with bone in mouth and about 100m from the house, buried the bone under a tree. Why that tree and not the 40 others she passed ? who knows!

The bush is fairly dense and well supplied with ticks, as Tammy found on the first day. She did not like having it removed from her (and neither did the tick, as it got lobbed into a fire).
Also on the topic of wildlife, on the first morning I got up and found a red smear on the lounge floor. As I didn't remember spilling any Shiraz there I was perplexed but ignored it. A little later I found another smear, with a very fat leech sitting on the end of it! Our friend then commented that this explained the hole she had found in her leg! On the Friday evening I decided that the leech from Tuesday was neither big nor fat: This was because I found another one, which was really gross, on the kitchen floor. A little personal exploration revealed that I was the victim this time.

In an attempt to keep up Tammy's routine I took her for a short walk on the first morning. The main sense which I used on this was that of hearing. Not that there was much choice due to the fly-overs of FA18s from the Williamstown airbase. They were pretty evident for about an hour (and again while we were the beach). This contrasted with the absolute silence the rest of the time (apart from noisy frogs and birds of course).

On the second morning, after another peaceful nights sleep we got to our morning routine. This morning while Tammy was scoffing her breakfast ? on a lead outside -she suddenly looked very alert. Then a Staffie appeared and there was some consternation among the humans. However both pooches were standing sniffing each other and wagging their tails when I arrived. Despite this, as before I reckoned that if good humour failed Tammy was not going to win a brawl with such a dog (even though it was only 5 times her size) so told the Staffie to go away (or words to that effect) which it duly did. A pity that we are so uncertain about her reactions to other dogs as it cuts out a lot of fun for her.

Enough with the dog already!

Birding is quite good here with 43 species on the list for the house and nearby. A full listing (of 90 species for the trip) won?t happen in this report but Eastern Yellow Robins are common in the garden which is always nice. Less nice was seeing 2 Common Mynas sitting on a couple of calves (juvenile bovines, not fetlocks) as we drove in one evening.

The third night's sleep was not that great since some rodents or mini-marsupials had decided to run some sort of sporting event in the ceiling. If it continues the caretaker will be asked to deliver some warfarin to calm things down. (I doubt if the ceiling could withstand a Great Dane being inserted to track them down - although a Tenterfield Terrier ......). Note from the end of the trip: the caretaker suggested it was sonme marsupials called Phascogales which " .. you just can't keep out of the house..."
On the Saturday we headed for Batchelor State Forest since we'd be able to take Tammy for a walk in there according to the young National Parks woman at Booti Booti. However, it had been a bit windy recently and there were a couple of trees across the road: the first I was able to destroy sufficiently to get the car past but the second defeated me. So we turned the car round and went for a walk along Barbies Road. This was quite pleasant, adding a couple of species to the trip list. We then went back to Topi Gums and spent the day relaxing there.

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