When sweat began dripping uncontrollably off my nose at 5:45 a.m. this morning, I knew it was going to be a hot one. I was just beginning a long march down the Adcock River to census a distant group of Fairy-Wren territories; basically, this involved a six-kilometer bike ride followed by a eight-km bushwhack downriver (roundtrip).
It took me 20 minutes on the bike and another hour of hard, sweaty, overland hiking to reach the wrens. Think of the Discovery Channel’s “Man Vs. Wild,” subtract the backflips and gross snacks, and you get an idea of today’s hike: slipping, crawling, climbing, falling, up and down riverbanks, over logs, navigating by GPS, and wearing jeans and a long-sleeve in 105-degree sun. At midmorning, the humidity hit 90% – brutal conditions to slog through. By noon, I had waded the muddy river twice above my waist, stood in a red ant’s nest, fallen in mud three times, and used leaves for toilet paper. When I eventually returned to the station in early afternoon, nothing could have been more satisfying than standing inside the walk-in fridge, eating an apple, and downing liter after liter of cold Gatorade.
Here’s some pics to keep all you birders happy!