Rainforest Life: Outing #10 – Day 2

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(Left-to-right: Adult male Lyrebird, Fence Skink, Common Brush-tailed Possum, Pied Currawong)

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(Sunday 21-September-2014)

@12:14pm

Unbelievable how well you sleep out here. It’s like some kind of natural sedative: the Sun sets, you eat, lay down and before you know it your eyes start getting heavier each hour that passes. Next thing, you start dropping your phone while you’re reading and it’s time for sleep. Noises still wake me up occasionally, but only the ones that ‘re out of place.

@2:48pm

Pretty quiet day today, but that’s alright – yesterday was full-on enough to make me appreciate a bit of vegetating.

Those little skinks – Fence Skinks they’re commonly called – they’re all over the place now. I’ve watched half a dozen or so wiggling around near the tent just in the past hour or so. I’ll grab a picture from wikipedia or something, since my phone has no optical zoom, and they’re too fast and just too damn small to photograph with a mobile camera.

If I get the chance I’ll see of I can grab one without squishing him, since that’s be the only way I’d get a close-up photo of one of these wiggly little suckers.

@5:21pm

Just now, while researching the behaviors and habits of the common Wombat, I hear a “crunch crunch crunch..”, becoming louder the closer it gets to the tent.

I lean forward and there, walking carefully past my tent is a Lyrebird. Naturally, and as is usually the case with the sneaky-arsed animals around here, he’s already spotted me before I had a chance to reach for my camera and – being a phone camera – by the time I’d messed around opening the camera app then waited for it to load, he’s already casually trotted-off out of site.

Tell ya, I’d have to sit like a tree all day long to have a hope of snatching a photo of some of these creatures. The big species are so flighty they bolt when you even take a breath, and the smaller animals are always too small to make-out in the photo.

Anyway he only walked about fifty yards past the tent before letting rip with the usual staccato, rapid-fire mix of different calls. I didn’t hear any chainsaws, toy guns or mobile phone noises coming from this one, but it’s still an unmistakable call.

When I first got here, I remember people saying Lyrebirds can imitate everything in the forest: mobile phones, chainsaws, women laughing, even colonial noises that aren’t heard anymore like axes chopping wood, hand-planes etc,,.

I was also told you can’t tell whether it’s really a whip-bird or cockatoo or a Lyrebird impersonating them, but I’ve found that whenever I’ve seen a Lyrebird, then heard it’s call it’s been pretty unique. Dispute being a mix of different birds calls, it’s always the same pattern: like a machine-gun that shoots sounds instead of bullets, the Lyrebird alternates it’s imitations, rapidly shifting from one call to another, then back. As well as the multitude of imitated bird songs there are clicks, whistles, squeaks and shrill squealing sounds but they always roll-out in one stuttering call, and always from the exact same place – where the Lyrebird is. So, although they certainly do appear to be masters of imitation, they leave no doubt that it’s them making the noises.

I’ve set a photo of a Currawong as the featured image for the post because as common as they are, they haven’t made their presence so obvious until about two-weeks ago, and now they’re noisier than the Cockatoo, though have much better voices.

Every evening – approaching sunset – they start with this forest-wide call-and-response singing that carries on right up until the blue light of dusk has fallen. A call I would describe as whimsical, I guess, there are about five sounds they make, but there’s always one that simply repeats the same phrase over and over. Wish I knew what the different calls meant.

You know I can tell the difference between a Blow-Fly and a Bee now without having to see them, based solely on the sound of their wings.

For dinner tonight – since I’ve come down loaded up like a walking supermarket – I’m having instant mashed potato, peas and gravy with some chicken stuffing mix for flavour.

@6:16

Dinner, though stodgy, was fantastic. Just awesome to eat any meal out here that’s not pasta. I would’ve loved to have done the gravy separate to the mash and peas – then poured it over the top but I only have two pots, and one of those acts as my coffee cup, leaving just one for cooking meals.

Anyway, there was heaps, so I had half straight from the pot, then ate the rest on bread, and still had ample to share with my Brush-tail Possum friend, who’s still very sneaky, secretive and too flighty to really interact with.
He’s not come yet, but when he does there’s an empty strawberry punnet full of mash and peas, as well as a few left-over strawberries that ‘ve gone a bit soft for my liking.

Since I may never get fully lit, awesome photos of these animals – certainly not with a mobile phone camera anyway – I’ve downloaded googled images of todays specimens for reference-sake at least. 😉

Time for coffee, research and short stories before bed I think.

Rainforest Life: Outing #10 – Day 2
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Jason
Animal-loving cleaner with a parrot.

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