Man Vs. Outback
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!
As you slog through the riparian zone, have you met any of Australia’s numerous snakes? Also, if you ever meet Maris Lauva again, greet him with “Sveiks”. That’s Latvian for Hi. Cheers Laimons
Hi Laimons – I haven’t seen a single snake yet, but they are supposedly common and diverse here, and people regularly encounter a variety of pythons, tree snakes, and poisonous ones like mulga snakes (the worst offender). So I’m on the lookout! I’ll try out Sveiks on Maris, too…