Birds and More Birds (Tess)

For a fun and practical activity, a few of us set up a mist net behind our living quarters at the Billabong (a body of water that used to be attached to the creek). We left the net up for a few hours, checking it every 20 minutes or so for birds. Around 4 we decided it was time to take down the nets before we headed out into the field. Sam, the Graduate Student, checked one last time for any caught birds and we heard “Guys!!!” coming from the Billabong area. We all ran to her and Sam was holding a Forest Kingfisher and another one was still caught in the net! The seven of us took turns holding the Kingfishers, taking plenty of pictures. Forest Kingfishers have a beautiful blue, black, and white plumage.

Later we practiced setting up more mist nets in the middle of a field where Rainbow Bee-eaters commonly congregate around dusk. As explained by their name, these birds have multiple colors including yellow, green, and bright blue. We successfully caught one Bee-eater and once again all seven of us were able to hold him.

For dinner, the Coomalie Farm land owners (Richard and Jude) invited us to a bbq on the World War II air strip on the farm. They invited a bunch of other friends, including their friend Sue, who owns a Bed and Breakfast in Batchelor, two French girls who work for her, a British man, and a friendly couple from Kangaroo Island. We played a game of Skittles, an Australian game. This entails setting up numbered sticks in a way similar to bowling pins and throwing a stick, termed the ‘whacking stick’ at the triangle. If the thrower hits over one stick, they get the amount of points that is indicated on the stick. However, if the thrower hits over multiple sticks – let’s say five – they get the number of sticks knocked over, therefore five points. The first player to reach 100 wins. It’s really fun!

 

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