Thursday, 13 April 2017

Weather joins the Jets

Those with an interest in musical theatre will be familiar with West Side Story.  One of my favourite songs is "Gee Officer Krupke " which includes this interchange:
A-RAB: In my opinion, this child don't need to have his head shrunk at all. Juvenile delinquency is purely a social disease! 
ACTION: Hey, I got a social disease! 
Today the weather takes on the role of A-Rab.  I'm not sure if it is the traditional pox, or something more up to date.  Whatever it is the cure is urgently needed.

(Incidentally, on a walking tour around the mid-West of Manhattan it emerged that the movie of West Side Story was shot in the tenements which used to occupy the site of the Lincoln Centre.  The movie was shot between the inhabitants being moved out and the Centre built.  It was known as San Juan Hill and basically a no-go area - at least for gringos.)

This morning there was 8.6mm in the gauge, which is an interesting comparison with the comment on ABC news weather yesterday evening that Mallacoota was the dampest part of Victoria with 3mm!  The outlook wasn't great with the far side of the Inlet invisible through the downpour.
 We waited for a pause (to light rain) and then took Tammie for a walk mainly to give her a comfort opportunity (or, as my mate Doug used to say to "park a coil".   She was very reluctant to walk and we gave up after 1.5 coil-less kms and turned.   Fortunately she got her act together before we got home.

We decided that we would go to Shipwreck Creek in the National Park to look for Ground Parrots as I had been given directions to "the site".  While waiting for the rain to stop a Little Wattlebird visited a Grevillea.
The road out into the Park was in fair order and the collection of rainwater allowed my to spot and avoid most of the potholes.  Frances decided that she needed a focus for the day and thought that going for a colour would be good.  Blue/mauve is often good out here but we hadn't seen much of that in flower so far.  White seemed like a better bet.

Descending to the beach gave white quartz and on the beach turned up a Cuttlefish bone.  And another good covering of small leatherjackets: we are about 6.5kms from Betka Beach so if every beach in between is graced with a simlar coating the number of dead fish is in the millions.  Sure enough when we got to Seal Creek the beach was well endowed with little spiny items.
Getting going on the walk proper we climbed up through the usual Meleleuca scrub and got to a very pleasant heath area.  We were greeted by a Southern Emuwren which I got a decent look at before itdropped into the heath.  Bird of the Day, but not a very high scorer, as they are resident here.

The first white flower was a Hakea, giving a bit of prickle to the Allocasuarina nana which is the main component of the heath.
I cannot remember the name of this plant but it is bog common.  On the Casuarina walk back in town the powder covered leaves always look like flowers.  In this case there actually were flowers!
 A white form of Epacris impressa.
There was a good lot of Epacris in flower: for some reason mainly the pink and white forms with very few samples of the red.
 Finally a blue/mauve flower.  Its something in the direction of Scaevola sp.
 On getting to Seal Creek, with a rather steep descent on loose wet gravel we found the rocks to be very impressive.
There were many Australian Gannets (not quite beating out the Emuwren for BOTD) soaring over the very rough sea and probably quite a few other species which I couldn't ID without my scope.  After a pause for Frances to take some photos of the texture of the rocks and me to take one of the Creek itself ...
 .. we headed back.  Climbing up from the beach took 3 minutes of steady grunting which warmed us up.  It was unraining and on a pause to remove the Gore-tex I noticed a flowering Astroloma humifusum.  Although brightly coloured the flowers are ~5mm long so not that obvious.
 We crossed the heath again, being quite untroubled by Ground Parrots or Emuwrens and as we crossed the beach found this ugly looking beast mixed in with the seaweed and leatherjackets.
The climb up from this beach wasn't too bad and we headed for home for lunch.

After that I took my telescope out to Bastion Point on the edge of the town for some sea-watching.  To my surprise there were no seabirds visible.  So I went to Captain Stevenson's Point to check the waders in the mouth of the Inlet.  Carefully leaving my phone back at the house,  There was little to photograph  with Oystercatchers and Red-capped Plovers the only waders.

An interesting bit of sociology was a group of small children (aged from about 7 to 12 IMHO).  They were a tad noisy which I guess goes with the territory, but the game they were playing involved taking a video on an iPad.  Now an iPad costs upwards of $500.00 and here were a bunch of kids using one as I used to use a 5/- bucket and spade!    An adult arrived and told them all to go to the tents as it was starting to rain and they shouldn't get the iPad wet!

Indeed the rain arrived.  Completing the cycle the gauge said we received another 3.5mm during the day for a total 12.1mm since this started.  It was thus a bit of a surprise to hear on the ABC news that Mallacoota got 28mm for the day. Either, for the official site,

  • they missed a decimal point in their report; or
  • a wombat piddled in their gauge.

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