Outing #13 – Day 7

(Thursday 6-November-2014)

@10:46am

So on day seven, more than half-way through this outing, I’m pretty happy to note that I’ve used almost exactly half my food supplies: half the instant coffee is gone, one of the large bags of powdered milk is gone, I’m halfway through the 1kg bag of sugar I brought,  there’s more than half the pasta, tomato pasta and parmesan left and I’ve used two out of for power-packs for device recharging.

This means that at the current rate of consumption, I’ll most likely have a small amount to carry back up with me, but not enough for it to be any major hassle. Since the beginning I’ve tried to estimate how much I’ll need for the time spent down here for each outing so it’s nice to be getting the balance right: because carrying too much shit through the bush on foot is horrid, while running out of everything three days before it’s time to go back up is arguably worse.

I’ll write down how much of everything I bought somewhere in a moment; it’ll make grocery shopping for each outing a lot simpler from here on out.

THE CRAFTY “CRICKET”

@11:37am

Last time I was down here I took some photos of what you’d have to consider to be an exceptionally attractive looking cricket living in the roof of the tent. Here’s his photo:

Remember this little guy?

Remember this little guy?

This time around – although he’s been living in a different spot – he’s still been living in the roof for the past few days, and I’ve paid him no mind really: since it’s obviously the same insect and I’ve already got photos of him, I saw no need in disturbing him just for another round of snaps.

Then this morning I go to unzip the door and notice he’s moved right next to the door in the corner. I check the place where he had been all week long – just to confirm it was in fact the same cricket and that it wasn’t just a second – and his previous resting spot is vacant.

.. They grow-up so fast!

.. They grow-up so fast!

I make a mental note to get another photo once I’ve woken-up some more and had my caffeine-only breakfast and then go about that several-coffees-to-start-the-day morning routine. Once that’s behind me I unplug my charging camera, switch it on and turn my attention to this little bug that’s been living with me for weeks now.

Bad place for a nest.

Bad place for a nest.

When I gently pull back the rain-fly – under which the insect is hiding – I find it stuck. My first thought was I’ve splashed coffee or some other sugary liquid on the inner surface of the fly at some point but as I peel it back more I see the stickiness surrounds the bug – which is no cricket at all. He gives me that “oh no you found me! ” kinda look, just before I shove the camera lens an inch from his face. It’s some kind of grasshopper or locust that’s doubled in size within the past ten days or so.

I've since grabbed him and placed him back in one of the roof vents, where he won't have his peace and quiet disturbed everytime I have to close the tent door.

I’ve since grabbed him and placed him back in one of the roof vents, where he won’t have his peace and quiet disturbed everytime I have to close the tent door.

He obviously didn’t care at all for the intrusion,  then begins shaking himself – like a dog does when it’s just done having a bath. He shakes a few times, then immediately starts repairing the little pocket he’d made to cocoon himself in the fabric.

I leave him to it, since he’s not chewing holes or anything destructive like that, and for an hour now he’s been using his mouth and some kind of sticky excretion to reseal the area with so little room he has to bent himself in half to turn around.

INTRODUCING, JUNIOR

@1:03pm

Although there’s no sign of Broeski again today, there is a new addition to the Reptilian line-up: A new Lace Monitor that I only got a glimpse of last time I was down here. He’s about one meter and much smaller than Broeski generally, and though I wouldn’t bother to hazard a guess at his precise age it seems safe to say that he’s younger than our now missing-in-action, original Monitor.

It wouldn’t seem right to nickname him Broeski, so I guess I’ll refer to him as Junior. If and when Broeski finally does resurface, I sure hope he isn’t hungry enough to eat this little one. There are photos and videos of larger Monitors swallowing smaller Monitors so I know they do it.

Anyhoo, the last time this new lizard stomped his way through the camp, I didn’t have any food on-hand to give to him and he was walking so quickly I would’ve sworn he was running late for some appointment in town or something so I simply leaned out the tent and took a poor quality, digitally-zoomed photo with my phone. He scampered off out of sight and that was all there was to that visit.

This time, as soon as I heard the now familiar sound of a large lizard crunching his way slowly through the under-growth I grabbed the camera and got out the tent.

I must have startled him because the moment I stepped out of the tent he bolted up the nearest tree – which happened to be a bloodwood – and I honestly didn’t know they could climb that fast. Broeski never bothered to climb when I first met him, and these days I’m sure he’s too fat to drag himself up a tree like that, but this little one got himself 15 meters up the tree in under five seconds. Unbelievable how quickly he got up there.

5 seconds flat, that took him.

5 seconds flat, that took him.

Simce he was already up there, I walked over near the base of the tree and dumped one of the three snap-lok bags of beef mince on the ground, which now smelled just horrid and leaked this discussing grey-blue coloured bloody liquid all over my hands, then immediately washed the stinking foulness off my fingers as best I could.

...

He looked like he’d be up there a while so I returned to the tent and made coffee while I waited. I didn’t have to wait long. Barely ten minutes after scaling the tree he started kinda sliding down it and was harassed – as he climbed back down – by several small birds who must’ve had a nest somewhere up there.

.. Like a cat, he wasn't so graceful coming down.

.. Like a cat, he wasn’t so graceful coming down.

Anyway, back on the ground he turned and started walking away from the meat. Dozens of flies had already began crowding the meat and the area near the tent so this really wasn’t the outcome I wanted.

For all intents he looked like he’d left the area but then turned and circled back around towards the meat. He did start-off upwind of the meat so he may not off smelt it until he was over the other side, downwind.

Hard to imagine anything with nostrils not being able to smell that nasty-arse meat though, let alone a reptile that can *taste* the air in full stereo like a snake.

Might look alright but the smell - just nasty.

Might look alright but the smell – just nasty.

Once he’d got a whiff though, there was no holding him back. I waited until he’d gotten a bit of a taste of what was there then got back out the tent and zoomed in for a few snaps. These were too far away for my liking, but figuring that if I simply walked right on up to take pics he’d just bail back up the tree I hung back while he ate this first glob of meat. There were still two more sandwich bags full waiting in my tent, and since he’d started eating now I was pretty sure he that as long as there was more meat, there’d be more lizard.

Once he’d finished the first serve he wandered past the tent and – just like Broeski – flattened out for a bit of relaxation. While he didn’t relax quite as hard as his predecessor, he was already quite alright with my presence after just one gifting of food: I got in the tent, grabbed the grocery bag with the other bags of meat, got out then walked around to where he’d just been eating, while he just lay there watching me.

...

Before I’d even tipped all the meat out completely he was on his way over to me and this time, he didn’t care that he was within a few feet of me. I washed the stink off my hands – again – as he started chowing-down the half kilo of remaining mince.

...

Hands now clean once more, I get back in the tent, grab the camera, then get out and stand there. I’m within two meters, or six feet of him now and any desire to bolt up a tree seems to have evaporated, so I step over the tent’s guy-line and crouch-down right in front of him. I’m now kneeling close enough that if I didn’t value my fingers too much, I could just extend my arm and pat him on the head.

Beautiful shot this one. My favourite reptile photo so far.

Beautiful shot this one. My favourite reptile photo so far.

He just continues right-on eating and it’s at this point I know we’re already familiar enough to not be having any more fight-or-flight spastic-attacks from this new reptilian friend.

...

Of course, if Broeski does return to find this young whipper-snap rubbing scent all over his trees, young Junior may very well not live long enough to reap the benefits of free meat every week, but that’s for the two of them to sort-out. Maybe they already have, and Junior kicked Broeskis arse? Given Broeski is at least twice this little ones size and a good two feet longer, I seriously doubt it. I think Broeski is either off breeding with some she-lizards, or dying from complications with that sandwich bag he ate.

You can see the food-coma starting to come-on here, but he keeps eating anyway. Champion effort dood!

You can see the food-coma starting to come-on here, but he keeps eating anyway. Champion effort dood!

Time will tell. Whether Broeski is around or gone for good, at least I got to offload the stinky meat and in doing so, fill the belly of another animal that looked pretty thin when he came walking into the camp.

...

 

Just a Bubba compared to Broeski.

Just a Bubba compared to Broeski.

BUSHFIRE UPDATE: UNDER CONTROL

@7:46pm

Just when everything looks under control, and the RFS have officially marked the fire in the Megalong “contained”, a second fire has been ignited just over the southern side of Mount Solitary to the south on me, about 7km over.

So now, Mount Solitary is on fire.

So now, Mount Solitary is on fire.

There’s also a new fire at Blackheath, though that’s not really near enough for me to bother being worried about since it’s then next town along.

The Mount Solitary fire is closer than the first fire “as the crow flies” but being on the opposite side of the Mountain and marked by the RFS as “under control” I suppose there isn’t much to worry about – yet, at least. There haven’t been any strong winds forecast for the coming days, though it is supposed to heat-up again and a decent South-East wind followed by a strong Westerly could see it move around this side.

Currently though, it’s reported to be 0 hectares so yet again we’ll wait and see. Those RFS crews certainly have their work cut out for them.

Outing #13 – Day 7
Rate in Guidos

Jason
Animal-loving cleaner with a parrot.

, , , , , , , ,