Sunday, 12 October 2014

Queanbeyan does green

Queanbeyan has just done its River Festival.  Related to this, conceptually at least, was a Schools Environmental Expo held at the show grounds.  I was asked to help out with a stall about birds and am pretty much always happy to do such things.

Its always amusing to see 'crocodiles' of school kids trotting through the streets of Queanbeyan as they go to the main Hall or the Q for events that can't fit in the school.  Here is a bunch arriving at the Showgronds.  (Those from the more remote locations such as Jerrabomberra used buses.)
The stall I helped with was run by Andrew and Mallika, the developers of Questabird, a computer/phone (spot the difference these days) game.  Here is Andrew giving the good oil to one of the 6 school groups that visited us.  As usual I have added blobs to "de-recognise" people.
Birds were seen around which caused some excitement amongst the masses.  They all seemed to know about Magpies and some of them (more that I would have expected) were familiar with Magpie-larks.
A pair of Rainbow Lorikeets turned up at lunchtime and inspected a nest hollow on the underside of this branch.
 Proving that they had adult things on their minds they flew to another and copulated vigorously.  I'm not aware of them having been previously recorded as breeding in Queanbeyan so that was exciting.  It was probably also good that we didn't have to discuss where baby Lorikeets come from with the kids!

One of the other stalls was run by the Molonglo Catchment Group.  The stuffed platypus will turn up later!
A somewhat larger and more mobile platypus!  I wondered if there was a Mayor in there, but apparently not.
The following day was the Festival proper and I had also been asked to attend the Platypus walk along the River in case birding questions arose.  At one point I wondered if I was gong to have trouble getting there as a truck had been rotated about its horizontal axis on Captains Flat Road.

Only a very small delay!  What was, in hindsight, astonishing was the timing of this event.  We had returned along the road about an hour earlier with no drama.  In the intervening period:

  1. the truck-trailer had rolled;
  2. the SES and Mr Plod turned up to organise the traffic; and
  3. Someone brought a bobcat to clean up all the asphalt spilt during the inversion!

I got to town in time to visit the main festival site (still well populated with punters) and check out the sculptures along the banks of the Mighty Queanbeyan.

Made from old tyres this one got a gong for a recycling award!  It really did look like a Black Snake in live (apart from being several times the size!)

The platypus walk started a bit upstream and was led by Woo from the Upper Murrumbidgee Catchment Group.  Here she is using the stuffed 'pus shown above to explain things to some of her younger punters.
She explained the anatomy of the animal, and offered a bet that everyone would learn something.  I certainly did.
 I knew already that Platypusses had strong claws for digging into river banks.  What I didn't know was that they also had retractable flippers.  These are the black bits which fold back unless needed to swimming!

Here is the head.  The eye is at the back end of the white patch.
 The larger platypus was also thought to be going to turn up, but the lady who had been slated for the task had done two shifts earlier and reckoned "it was 150oC in there" and declined a 3rd go.

2 live platypusses turned up and swam up the River which was good.  All I saw was a big ring of ripples as one dived!

It was pleasing to see young persons kayaking on the river.


sandra h said...

Sounds interesting, wish I'd been in town this weekend. Woo will have been pleased , some recent platypus walks haven't been blessed with platypuses. And love the pic of new frogmouth in the previous post.

Flabmeister said...

Thanks Sandra. It was all most good apart from the flipped trailer. I think there are as usual two Frogmouth chicks but have yet to confirm that.