A day in Timber Creek

It was a busy day at Bradshaw today with most of the Bush Blitz team heading into Timber Creek for the community engagement day. Timber Creek is the closest town to the military base and the central location for many communities in the area. There is the ‘Timber Creek Hotel’ which is the only shop in the town. It has a small pub, a fuel station and a small grocery shop (VERY small). There is a school and a small medical centre.

Up, up and away

The day started with an early morning visit to check the amphibian and reptile traps. These are a fairly primitive method but highly effective. The animals will run into the fly mesh and usually travel along it rather than turn back. They then fall into a bucket that is buried into the ground and are collected. We had 3 different species of frog that had fallen in, along with a bunch of spiders and insects. I also kissed a frog today as part of the teacher challenge but it didn’t turn into a prince!

Swamp People

Today we set out in full force with 8 of us heading out to find species of fish, dragonflies, damselflies and butterflies. These teams have one of the more dangerous jobs as they are working alongside croc infested waters. We had to be extremely wary all day and keep an eye out for another. It is crazy to think that something so big can approach with little to no warning as they are the masters of stealth.

We collected some crab specimens first up from a muddy pool of water using a net and our hands. I learnt how to distinguish between the male and the female by using the tail plate. The females have a large, wide plate while the males have a narrower one. We then had to test the water temperature and salinity using a probe. The fish researchers do this at each site as it helps them to relate their findings to environmental conditions.

Better than a double rainbow

It was such an amazing experience staying at the Bradshaw homestead. I am curious to learn more about this site and its history. The current caretakers, Gavin and Chris, were very warming and it was interesting hearing to how they cope with living in such a remote part of Australia.The day began with a ‘stroll’ up the escarpment. It looked daunting from below but we mainly followed old Donkey tracks that were used in the past. The walk was surprisingly easy and we reached the top in no time. The view was better than a double rainbow. We could see the homestead, the rivers and distant plateaus.

You can just call me Spider Woman from now on….

Today was pretty exciting, it started with a helicopter briefing with “Tommy the Pommy’ which was just a general run down of the safety features and how to safely enter and exit the chopper while it is going. I am yet to ‘get in the chopper’ but I am so excited for it!! After the heli briefing we packed the 4wd and set off to find spiders. The team consisted of; Myself, Louise (a teacher from Hobart), Renan (Arachnologist aka crazy spider man), Tamara (Arachnologist, aka spider whisperer) and Eloise (Marine Biologist working for the NT museum).We made multiple stops along the way to look for spiders. I thought we might find one or two per site…. Once I knew how to look it was more like 15-20 species at least per site.

NT to WA and back the NT again

After a cruisy day of flights from Dubbo to Darwin, we made it the NT. Darwin was not at all how I expected it be. There some beautiful rainforest down by the waters edge that was FULL of dragonflies, and the water was so clear and inviting… shame that you can’t (safely) swim in it. It was a pretty chilled afternoon getting to know Bruce and Andrea from EarthWatch who will esentailly be like our camp 'mum and dad' for the week. 

Thursday also started out extremely cruisy (I promise, I WILL be doing some kind of work while I am here) and we took a mid morning flight to Kununurra. Once again, not at all what I expected but way more beautiful than I could have imagined. As we went into WA the clocks went back 2.5 hours. We got supplies in the town and started our drive BACK into the Northern Territory (cue clocks moving forward in time again).

Let the countdown begin...

It is hard to believe that in a weeks time I will be over 3000kms away from home! I have been lucky enough to secure a place on the 2017 Bush Blitz TeachLive expedition to the Victoria-Bonaparte Bioregion. Never heard of this area? Neither had I before this. It is somewhere 'up the top corner of the NT, kind of near the border of WA'. Myself and 4 other teachers from different parts of Australia will be spending the week helping scientists conduct biodiversity studies in the area. According to google maps, it would only take me 616 hours to walk there... I think I will fly this time.