Armchair Naturalists
[ Issue 11 ]

Armchair Naturalists are a particular interest of Emily Bronto

Bikwil is pleased to present Armchair Naturalists

Armchair Naturalists

Giorni here offers some reading for Armchair Naturalists.  The subject is a weekend back-packing campout in the Megalong Valley.

Crimson rosellas dashed across our path, flashing their bright red and blue colours while small wrens and thornbills jumped about in search of food

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Naturalisti al'Poltrona — Giorni

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To all you naturalisti al'poltrona (= armchair naturalists) out there, here is a real-life adventure which goes to show that we all can be a Harry Butler (whatever happened to him?) or a Malcolm Douglas if we take the step.

Some years ago, a friend and I set off for a weekend back-packing campout in the Megalong Valley following the Cox and Kowmung Rivers. Crimson rosellas dashed across our path, flashing their bright red and blue colours while small wrens and thornbills jumped about in search of food. We stopped to watch a pair of gang-gang cockatoos preening their grey feathers — the male's splendid red head and crest feathers brilliant in the sunlight.

We proceeded down the track. The sound of the whipbirds occasionally interrupted the continuous tinkling call of the bell-miners. Further along the path we surprised a female superb lyrebird which, being startled by us, took off into the thick shrub.

At the junction of the Cox and Kowmung, a large wallaroo was having a drink. It lifted its head, looked at us, and then slowing bounced away. A few metres further, a smaller wallaroo sprang out into the open before scrambling up an almost vertical ridge sending rocks rolling into the water.

Time passed quickly and it was now lunchtime. During lunch we amused ourselves by watching several eels lurking in the river. A few trout were also in the stream which we tried to catch with a hand line but — no luck.

Moving on, the next “critter” on the agenda was a dingo. The dingo was walking away from the river; we froze and so did the wild dog. He turned his head and gave us a hard look before disappearing into the bush. The dingo has almost become extinct in this area: the local property owners hunt and trap the animals every chance they get.

As the day passed, the weather warmed up and on the rocks near the river two red-bellied black snakes were sunning themselves. We watched from a safe distance.

Soon it was time to stop and look for a good camp site. We found an ideal spot with a deep swimming hole and a flat area for our tent. After dinner that night, we sat around the camp fire watching fire-flies as they danced and blinked against the dark shadow of the ridges. A grand finale to a very enjoyable day.

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