Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Trickle of birds as Tyto floods

Plenty of rain, but Tyto wasn't looking too wet today. A bit of water running over a track, some paperbarks and razor grass sitting in deeper water, unwanted rampant lotuses going under, a few trees with limbs shattered by weight of water and gusting winds. In fact, surprisingly little flooding, given more than 300mm in 24 hours on Monday and heavy showers yesterday.

Improved culverts on the highway allowed much swifter outflow of floodwater than in previous years. Newly completed rock-lined lagoons overtopped yesterday by 700mm-800mm of surging brown water were today back to merely brimming.

But few birds were on any of the water or its edges, though there was plenty of activity in the trees. Best sighting on my morning cycle was a Black Bittern. Also showing out briefy: Buff-banded Rail, Pale-vented Bush-hen, White-browed Crake, Black-necked Stork, Comb-crested Jacanas, and Magpie Geese. No ducks, pigmy geese, egrets, cormorants.

Didn't feel like risking the new camera and lens, so pressed the old Panasonic FZ30 back into service. Pictures not quite so sharp, but came across a Long-necked Turtle and a White-bellied Cuckoo Shrike to get some wildlife into the morning's ride.

A tail piece about the 'nannyism' threatening all sorts of outdoor recreation. Note the water flowing across the track (above). Be aware there's a crocodile warning near Tyto's lookout (one croc seen in five years, but ever a possibility). I've been told that the track doesn't conform with safety guidelines even when most of the year it stands 300mm-500mm clear of the main lagoon (left in picture).

Such guidelines, enforced rigidly, would close much of Kakadu, many other northern national parks and nature reserves, and huge numbers of boat ramps. Informed and sensible caution, yes; mollycoddling for all, NO! And don't get me started on croc and shark hysteria... 


Snail said...

It rises quickly but drains away pretty fast too. The water birds must be spoilt for choice at the moment.

Gouldiae said...

G'day Tony,
Land of contrasts, hey? I'm watering like billyo at present. I often wonder what so many birds do for shelter in such heavy rain.
Those last two paragraphs - I'm with you, totally.

mick said...

Very nice photos of all the wet up your way. I definitely agree with the last couple of paragraphs too!

Duncan said...

300 mm in 24 hours, we've just had 300 drops! Just aint fair, we want some of that down here.

Tyto Tony said...

Hi Snail, Gouldiae, Mick and Duncan:

Did quick scout on Ingam surrounds today and found a mere handful of birds. Too much water is almost as bad as too little for many, I suspect.
Sorry, Duncan, the stuff's too heavy to ship your way. Besides, it's all brown and yucky!

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Tony
At least you didn't float away.
We're all in agreement about nannyisms, it seems.
I assume the water birds disperse to edge country, as they are often opportunistic breeders, where flooding occurs in otherwise dry areas, I believe.

Tyto Tony said...

Hi Denis,

You may be right, though I think feeding (and maybe shelter) rather than breeding is their priority. Floodwaters drown the weed-feeders' plants, and disrupt fishing and insect gathering.

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