Monday, 29 June 2015

A visit to Mt Ainslie

It being the last Sunday of the month it was ACT Veterans Athletics Handicap Day.  The courses this month were around Mt Ainslie on the edge of suburban Canberra.

This year I decided to do the short course as my fitness level had dropped off dramatically following:

  1. some travelling;
  2. a bout of sinusitis; and 
  3. a failure to man-up on a few cold and damp days.

I suspect point 3 was the most important, but I was travelling a bit better than the previous month which had set my handicap at a very pleasant level.  Thus I waddled reasonably and even got competitive towards the end when I thought I could see another competitor in front of me and chased her for the last 500m.  Needless to say it was just someone out for a jog and they sailed straight past the finish and I was again first  home: my handicap will become less pleasant for my next run.

Mt Ainslie has also been the recent haunt of Swift Parrots and I thought I would add to science by visiting the site to see if I could spot some.  This involved a drive through the suburb of Ainslie, which I always find bewildering in street pattern..  On Officer Crescent there were a good collection of Cockatoos feeding in the oak leaves - I suspect on fallen acorns.

Leaving the streets and getting in to the bush there was some evidence that the hollow-nesters were seeking out a des res for Spring.  This Sulphur-crested Cockatoo seemed to have chosen its spot and was engaging in a bit of renovation (or possibly was just enjoying ripping up a tree, as is the usual practice of this species).
A pair of Australian Wood Ducks were much less active, merely perched on a branch and honking quietly.
 This billabong is the favoured drinking site of the Swift Parrots, but none were visible there today.
Their favoured feeding site is a flowering Eucalypt (possibly E. leucoxylon) but none were initially evident.
I saw what looked like 4 Swift Parrots fly into the top of the tree but then became worried that all I could see were Noisy Miners.  However patience paid off and eventually I saw the Swifties, but too high and in too dense a lot of foliage for a snap.

I finish with a small puzzle.  On the way in, passing Canberra Airport I saw the flashing lights of a plod-mobile and found that the cops had emerged from their wheels and were uttering harrumphs in the vicinity of a crashed WRX.  On the way back I stopped to snap the scene as I couldn't work out what had happened.
The main puzzle comes about because the car is facing against the direction of traffic.  The car looks a bit old to be something rented to an international visitor who had driven off on the wrong side of the road (and we have all done that, haven't we).  What I have concluded it that the car

  • came a little briskly around a roundabout some 50m to the left of the car's position, 
  • spun out; 
  • went off the road backwards as far as the large traffic sign (explaining the smashed rear of the car); 
  • which duly detached itself from the ground; and
  • landed on the front of the car.

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