Tromped here and there; September 26

September 26

Began our day with a run on the beach, breakfast, coffee, etc. then a surf at Shelly’s Beach on the back side of Emerald Beach. The wind was out of the north again and so the massive headland sheltered us and provided beautiful, clean lines of surf, although only about thigh to waist high. One cannot complain for we practically had the place to ourselves! Plus the water was crystal clear, the bottom was pure sand, and dolphins were about.
About mid morning we organized ourselves at camp to go into the bush and look for bowerbirds. It was hot in the jungle but at least shady. We wear long pants, socks, hiking shoes, and denim gators to shield us from possible snake bites. I spray a bit of Off at the bottoms of each leg to fend off would be ticks. For a top, I wear a white button down short or possibly long sleeve shirt. White is good for one can see ticks crawling about. Today I found a tick on my neck and Sara quickly removed it. It hadn’t begun to bite yet. I was toting binoculars, cell phone, walkie talkie, water bottle, iPad, GoPro camera, radio tracking device, and a sturdy compass. My day pack melted into my shoulders; the back of my shirt was wet with sweat!
We tromped here and there, mostly on the trail, but not always looking for signs of the bowerbirds. Ears are incredibly useful and we generally hear squeaks and calls, but only sometimes see the birds. We have gotten quite good at recognizing the bowerbirds, but just because you hear something doesn’t mean you are going to find a bower. It’s super challenging. Bashing around and using brute force to find one hardly ever works. Birds can call from other places than near their bowers. Young males can call and not even have a bower. It is super easy to go on a wild goose chase through the brush and hope that you don’t get bitten by a big brown snake! What really pays off is to hear a bird singing its display song from the ground, repeatedly. And even better is to see a black male swoop into the bush, then hear his songs. With that said, today was a bust! All we did was get really hot and Sara’s lip swelled up for some strange and unknown reason.
We’re back at camp now. Showers and a shampoo really makes the toil dissipate. A flock of kids came around my “man cave” tonight as I was working on a project. So we all told lots of stories. They were a fun mob. Proper dress for the bush!

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