Monday, 26 March 2018

Variations on a theme

One of the memorable bits of "Apocalypse Now" is the quote by Colonel Bill Kilgore (played by Robert Duvall):
"I love the smell of napalm in the morning."
On this trip to Mallacoota it could be updated in various ways.  The most obvious is "I love the smell of bat-poop in the morning".  It could be closely followed by "I love the sound of rain in the morning."  (Keeping with a theatrical theme we drop back a few decades to Tennessee Williams and a possible title of  "Rain on a hot tin roof" but the roof isn't too hot at present, and there isn't any of that Deep South stuff going on in Mallacoota - at least as far as I'm aware.)

These two things came together on the morning of the 25th as it was raining before sun-up and the bats were flying low over the house on their way back to the roost.

The rain meant there was no colour in the sky in the morning, and indeed the day was pretty grey, drizzly and dispiriting until latish in the evening.  So there wasn't much activity by us.  Nor by a recent resident.
His arboreal relative was also adopting a non-motile approach to the day.  He (making an assumption about sex) sat on this thin branch all day only shifting to another location  - with apparently better tasting leaves - about 1800.
 Our mid morning walk was along the Mallacota Coastal Trail from Betka Beach via the river to Fisherman's Point.  Very close to the start we were impressed, as always with this huge tree.
 I am included to give a sense of scale.
 There were very few plants in flower.  This prostrate Banksia marginata was about the only good example.
 Nothing else notable until the sky cleared a bit, and became very colourful just before sunset.


I had hoped to get some photos of the bats flying out against the colourful clouds.  Unfortunately the colours only lasted a few minutes and the fly-out was later tonight.  It was as impressive as ever: possibly the bats were travelling up the Inlet rather than across, as they seemed to be closer to the house.

The return flight was happening right up until the time of sun-up.  I use that form of words as there was still heavy cloud this morning and there wasn't a sunrise as such.  Our morning dog walk was quite pleasant with a further sighting of what I call a hamster - a dark furry thing that runs fast from a board walk into the bush.  My sighting has led to a possible ID of a species that should only exist in the high country: a photo is needed but I failed to get one today.

After returning home our second walk was a circuit of the water treatment plant.  We park outside and walk in so as not to interfere with works that may be going on.  Today there were a lot of beehives on the opposite side of Watertrust road to let the bees have at the flowering Angophora (which Frances found was A. floribunda not A. costata as I had thought) Bloodwood - Corymbia gummifera - on advice from a Vic DoE officer..
 The inlet on pond 1 started spouting as we were there.  This seemed to attract the Coots!
 There were lots of water birds there.  My best snap was of this Jacky Winter (a Robin, also known as Brown Flycatcher).
 This pool shows how dry it has been down this way.
 I should comment on the very strong wind today.  Gabo Island had a gust of 76kph and Mallacoota seemed to be averaging about 45kph.

After returning home it was time for a little yard work.  It turned out a sub-contractor had been busy: it was quite clear where he had been grazing.   I was concerned that he might jump out into the road but he just dived into the jngle next door when I appeared with the mower.
 Here's the task.
In fact the growth wasn't bad.  I think another reflection of the low rainfall.  I took off about 10 catcher fulls which just nicely filled the green waste bin - due to be collected on Wednesday.

There were a few flowers in the garden: a nice Grevillea ...
 .. and a Callistemon.
Our final outing was a walk from Bastion Point along the Pittosporum and Devlins trails.  Very pleasant and much more diverse vegetation than the Melaleuca forest that is evident on many of the clifftop walks.

Tonight the bats were very late starting to coome over the house and seemed to be in low numbers.  Perhaps they are heading West for a change.

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