Rain in the Desert

Last night I woke, startled, at 1am, to an unfamiliar sound: raindrops drumming on a tin roof. Lightning and thunder rocked Mornington Station for a couple hours.

Overall, we got 44.4 mL (1.75 inches) of rain overnight – the most precipitation in any 24-hour period in almost a year! March usually marks the end of “The Wet” – six months of scattered rainfall – but this wet season has been about the driest on record in northwest Australia, so last night’s thunderstorm was greeted with enthusiasm.

Lingering clouds made for a nice, cooler morning, in marked contrast to yesterday’s more-typical high of 41.9 C (107.5 F). Roads are now impassable muddy messes, and the creeks have flooded their banks (no canoeing today). One river that I waded just four inches deep last week is now too high and swift to swim across safely. We’re stranded at Mornington – not a bad predicament!

8 replies
  1. John Sullivan
    John Sullivan says:

    Hey Noah,

    We’ve been enjoying your daily Australia Blog entries! What reptiles have you encountered during your Aussie adventure so far?


  2. Zenobia
    Zenobia says:

    Hi, Noah! Greetings from Portland, OR. Just re-located you – quite a change from penguins, huh? I am thoroughly enjoying the account of your adventures and will be checking in regularly. Thanks.


  3. Patrick Gallagher
    Patrick Gallagher says:


    What, no ice survival training this time? You seem to specialize in these challenging bird assignments, and we are so pleased you can share them with us in only slightly delayed real time.

    In addition to looking forward to your natural observations, we’re hoping you will have a chance to work with local Aborigines. Most of these people have lost connection with nature, but the few still living with nature apparently are full of lore, and are a real learning experience. Also, what is the history of the ranch? When was the station established, and was it just a cattle spread?

    Pat and Joan Gallagher

  4. chris shank
    chris shank says:

    Hi Noah,

    Just learned about your blog/adventures from OBOL list. Really enjoying reading your blog. I’m a huge cockatoo (I have 15 companion ‘toos) so, of course, enjoy your pics of the ‘toos. You have a great style of writing. Looking forward to reading more and enjoying your photos.


  5. Noah Strycker
    Noah Strycker says:

    Hi Pat and Joan – Well, ice sounds nice right now… Not sure if we’ll connect with any local Aborigines – the closest settlement (of any kind) is hours away, and I probably won’t go that far before I leave in August. But you never know what adventures await…

  6. Noah Strycker
    Noah Strycker says:

    Hi John – Thanks! There is a six-foot freshwater croc that lives in our swimming hole (two people have been bitten in the last two years, though everyone swears it’s safe to swim as long as you don’t step on him); I see Yellow-spotted Goanas all the time (five feet long), and, though I haven’t seen any yet, there are supposedly a lot of snakes here. There was a Mulga Snake in our kitchen yesterday which had to be ushered out by the handyman; if it had bit him, he would have had about five hours to live! I’ll keep my eye out for other cool reptiles…

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