Leeches and a Sunset

Yesterday evening, a tight truckload of us headed to Lake Gladstone (about an hour and a half from here), bird guides and gin and tonics in hand, to see what was up. Maybe, being a lake, it might have some waterbirds.

A spartan bird blind was built there last November, at the end of the dry season, but not a soul had visited the place in the intervening four months. Thick sorghum grass grew eight feet high over the track, hiding deep washouts, and we bumped over logs and anthills (one massive termite mound required circumnavigation, solid as a brick wall).

The remote lake’s water level, predictably, had risen through the wet season, necessitating a wade through two feet of water to reach the blind. Leeches the size of my pinky finger thronged the water and attached to our legs, turning our calm wade into a frantic dash for cover. Once installed with a clear view of the sunset, though, we happily watched jacanas, cormorants, and a few large crocs while sipping drinks and munching snacks under the broad Australian sky – a perfect end to the week.

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