Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Long Weekend Darwin & Kakadu Escape

Don't really know why, but as the long weekend approached I started feeling jittery. The last few weekends I had tried to re-explore Sydney, which had been fun, but I was running out of ideas; stalking Albatrosses is hard work and slightly boring when you are alone .. and since the wind had dropped predictions were that even if I sat down at Long Bay alone for 3 days I could very well end up seeing nothing of interest. Jarrod and Adelle were back in town, but counting on them throwing another wedding was probably a bit optimistic - guess it will take a while before Jarrod puts the "dancing legs" back on again :-)

I wanted to go camping, but weather was not looking promising around Sydney and even with an extra day you can easily end up using more time in the car than on the ground. By absolute coincidence(?) Qantas had sent an email proclaiming how incredibly cheap you can fly in Australia - obviously the cheap prices that makes you start daydreaming are near impossible to get and since they are one way there is a good possibility of Qantas earning what they need on your return ticket. However, the possibility of minimizing the need for using extra days off work was very tempting and I realized that if I left Sydney Thursday night after work - Friday would be way too expensive - and took the insanely early (but cheap) flight out of Darwin Tuesday morning 1.45am I would be able to have 4*24 hours in Darwin/Kakadu for the price of 1 day off and without being slaughtered economically.

I had an amazing trip! There was a bit of everything; snakes, crocks, camping, vistas and birds(!) It was very tempting to want to see it all .. so I tried! However with only 4 days and a rented Toyota Yaris that was not the supersonic speed prepared version - I obviously chose the 1.3L since it was the cheapest - I realized that something would have to be saved for another trip ... how sad :-)

I have only just made it through my photos and I will need a couple of days to get some pictures online and make up a couple of stories to go along with "the artwork" so stay tuned and it will all happen here at this site in the next couple of days :-)

The numbers were: 1596 photos, 98 hours in NT, 25 liters of water (I was a bit "damp"), 2 gas canisters lost in Sydney airport (you are not allowed to fly with them), 800km in the Yaris, $80 for petrol, 3 campsites, 2 boat cruises, 32-34 daytime temperature - good solid winter performance!, 1.5kg of gnocchi, 1000 mosquito bites, 1 rufous owl and a minimum of another 51 previously unseen birds

After going through my photos it looks like the list of birds below constitute the feathered wildlife I do not recall having seen previously. There are still a few pictures where some ID help could result in an addition or two to the tally.
Orange-footed Scrubfowl
Magpie Goose
Wandering Whistling-Duck
Plumed Whistling-Duck
Radjah Shelduck
Green Pygmy-goose
Pied Heron
Cattle Egret
Intermediate Egret
Black Bittern
Glossy Ibis
Black-necked Stork
Comb-crested Jacana
Whiskered Tern
Banded Fruit-Dove
Pied Imperial-Pigeon
Partridge Pigeon
Red-collared Lorikeet
Varied Lorikeet
Red-winged Parrot
Rufous Owl
Barking Owl
Azure Kingfisher
Blue-winged Kookaburra
Forest Kingfisher
Large-billed Gerygone
Helmeted Friarbird
Silver-crowned Friarbird
White-gaped Honeyeater
White-throated Honeyeater
Bar-breasted Honeyeater
Rofous-banded Honeyeater
Dusky Honeyeater
Grey-crowned Babbler
Mangrove Robin
Lemon-bellied Flycatcher
Northern Fantail
Leaden Flycatcher
Shining Flycatcher
Spangled Drongo
Yellow Oriole
Olive-backed Oriole
White-winged Triller
Varied Triller
White-breasted Woodswallow
Little Woodswallow
Torresian Crow
Zitting Cisticola
Long-tailed Finch
Crimson Finch
Yellow-rumped Mannikin


Aleisha and Simon Iremonger said...

With those birds you must be giving Iain a run for his money.

Iain said...

Since Allan decided that he actually was making a list I've given up on mine. Time to retire I think. There's no competing with international athletes like the Dane! :)

Aleisha and Simon Iremonger said...

Crikey! Thats Unaustralian!

Jarrod said...

They will all get shown up once the bird spotting machine Sintic gets going. Still not too bad considering the limited time. Although I did notice that the white throated grasswren is not on that list.

AGL said...

Who says I have a list? ;-) I might actually try to do the count one of these days, my guess is that I am somewhere early in the three hundreds. As I see it everything below 600 is just a matter of traveling and not so much else - if you goal is above 650 or say +400 in NSW you need to be devote .. or single :-D
The White-throated grasswren was hiding - apparently they are much smarter and rarer than the easily seen Dusky cousin which in plague proportion swarms the red center ;-) ... it is the Dusky Jarrod has a picture of, right?

June 13, 2009 12:27 AM