Australia Travel Diary - p 2
27 June 2002
At dawn the Magpie Geese return from their overnight
roost. I watch the commotion over breakfast - eggs, toast, coffee, and something
called chipoletas, a dubious blend of hot dog and sausage. Later I drive along the
edge of Leaning Tree lagoon, using the van as a bird blind. Most birds are less wary
of a vehicle than a person on foot. A group of Wandering Whistling-Ducks, however,
are not fooled. Alarmed at my presence, they move out into the lagoon and
"circle the wagons," each keeping an eye out. This seems to be common
behavior among Whistling-Ducks. No one will sneak up on these guys!
Herons come in various sizes here, the most abundant being the Intermediate Egret.
It is curious that among land birds, there are whole families that have evolved here, are
endemic, and bear little resemblence to anything out of Australia. However, the
waterfowl and shorebirds here range worldwide. We have Whistling-Ducks and herons in
the Americas, and they don't really look that different from their Australian kin.
30 June 2002
Edith Falls is the next stop south. Near the caravan park the Edith River forms a
large pool, clear and fresh, perfect for a swim in the hot afternoon. This
experience, like many in Australia, is like going back in time a generation. In east
Tennessee where I grew up, there were few chlorinated municipal pools, just pools like
this along the rivers where everyone went for a refreshing dip, free of charge.