Central Arnhem photo points

Discussion in 'Chit Chat' started by SteveNT, Feb 16, 2013.

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  1. SteveNT

    SteveNT Very Well-Known Member

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    Just back from 3 days in central Arnhem Land where I was requisitioned by the fire abatement team to identify all the plant species at the new photo points, recording at intervals the effects of our burning program. We also got work started on fencing off important springs being ruined by buffalo, horses, donkeys and other ferals.

    This is Weemol Spring, one of several in the area that feeds the Wilton River. Safe swimming here, only freshies.

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    Selma is pointing out a particular tree. Note the hand. Almost as much information is given by hand gestures as is given orally. When hunting 90% of talk is by hand gesture.

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    This huge sinkhole is in otherwise dead flat sandstone country. A limestone cave underneath collapsed leaving this. A buffalo musterer in a bullcatcher (cut down toyota with a hydraulic arm) almost went into this last year because the country is dead flat for 30km in all directions and you just dont expect a hole like this. The Rangers thought it was a meteor crater but there is limestone at the bottom and no shattering of the rocks.

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    Midnight Spring, another area we are fencing. There were thousands of red collared fruit bats that we were able to walk through. They didnt take off because there were sea and wedge tailed eagles circling above.

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    A wasp nest in the swamp. I have never seen this particular construction before.

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    The photo points are just star pickets, gps located, marking the spot where photos are taken each month to record changes in the vegetation.

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    Wilton River, usually crystal clear but now muddied by the rains that have finally arrived. At this time of year there is usually another 7 meters of water over this spot. This croc was shot by the Rangers last week because it was stalking kids at the crossing.

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    A purple winged mantid and a very fat tree frog at our accomodation at Bulman.

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    This banyan is a sacred site and fire has been creeping into the jungle here, so this is another site where fire breaks are put in by hand each dry season. The plant with round leaves is also very important. It is the toilet paper tree. Soft but strong!

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    These floodplains were just churned up mud a year ago but we shot 3,500 buffalo and the way it is bouncing back is remarkable. We are taking out another 4000 this year but there are another (estimated) 50,000 here in the Arafura Swamp.

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    Finally this is Dog (dingo) Hill in the middle of the Arafura Swamp. The TO is keen to take me there when the water drops this Dry season. The dark green cap is a remnant rainforest and he says some of the trees there are not found anywhere else in the region. Looking forward to it! No fire has reached this hill in living memory because the swamp is on all sides. Should be interesting.


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    I am back out there in a couple of weeks. The TO wants me to see another giant monsoon forest filled sinkhole and a bunch of fossil sites. It may be hot and sweaty (and you cant have a beer at the end of the day) but I really love my job :)
     
  2. Chanzey

    Chanzey Well-Known Member

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    Great photos mate !

    The toilet paper tree is a macaranga. Definitely a good tree for reveg. Very quick to establish and can help shade out the weeds below :)
     
  3. Renenet

    Renenet Very Well-Known Member

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    I love your job too, Steve. :D Thanks for sharing your experiences.

    Just curious, do you have any formal training in this area or is it all school of life?
     
  4. Such diverse looking country, thanks for sharing.
     
  5. SteveNT

    SteveNT Very Well-Known Member

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    I left school at 15 and only went back as a lecturer at the University. I was always thirsty for knowledge, love reading and learn constantly. I found the school system to be complete crap. Flora, fauna and all things Indigenous were always my passion and I seem to have gravitated into areas few others do. I should do a formal qualification at some stage but I'm too busy getting a "real" education :)
     
  6. Great post Steve; love the pics- Dog Hill looks a must see! Why rainforest on top of a hill? Must be a sping there somewhere??
     
  7. Tiliqua

    Tiliqua Active Member

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    I envy your job mate :)
     
  8. SteveNT

    SteveNT Very Well-Known Member

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    Sitting in a huge swamp the tree's roots have probably reached the groundwater. Just a guess but I'll find out soon enough :)
     
  9. jahan

    jahan Active Member

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    There are somethings you can`t learn in a class room Steve.
     
  10. SteveNT

    SteveNT Very Well-Known Member

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    There are some down sides to the job. I dropped my nikon D90 with Tamron 28-300 lens into the sea while launching a boat for coxswains training on Monday. Both completely stuffed and not covered by any insurance. I thought it was safe but the instructor decided to use a "bump launch" technique which launched the 5.5 meter boat with 5 people on board, me and the camera all into the drink. Not impressed.

    At least the D90 has dropped a coupla hundred bucks in price, unfortunately the 28-300 seems to have gone up a hundred. Could've bought a GTP and enclosure with the money I'll have to spend to replace them! Bugger!
     
  11. Damn! Bad luck mate, well worth replacing, though. It'd be a crying shame not to have a good camera along on your trips to Arnhem.
     
  12. SteveNT

    SteveNT Very Well-Known Member

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    I bought Lynne a nikon D3100 so I've recquisitioned that :). It's no D90 though.
     
  13. cement

    cement Subscriber Subscriber APS Veteran

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    Go the troopys! Can't beat the 70 series for tough! Might not be the most comfortable but front and rear lockers, a winch and the right suspension and Aus turns into a very big playground!
     
  14. Try a 40 series shorty, petrol Bull catcher and a 70's like 1st class on a jumbo:)! Concealed termite nest hurt at 80K!
     
  15. SteveNT

    SteveNT Very Well-Known Member

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    It's a true story. The new V8s are worn out after 80k, we get 600k from the old sixes. unfortunately the mines are awake to this fact too so they are getting a lot pricier. Some of the troopies in Arnhem are still going on the original motor at 120k. They may have more dents than a golf ball but these guys keep em going!
     
  16. cement

    cement Subscriber Subscriber APS Veteran

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    I had the Bj45, bit better on the wallet then the petty, but doing over 80 k's with the wide tyres and I was using both lanes! Ended up drowning it in a swamp. Well... turned the key off as she was drowning. Saved the motor and got the head cleaned out she had done over 350k by then got her back and she was going like new.
    I love my 1HDFTE, in the 78series troopy, these are THE BEST motor, they can have the new V8's. Yep keeping their value for sure, unbreakable!
     

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  17. How much longer do we have to wait for the Dog Hill pics, Steve? "Are we there yet":)! been doing a bit of research and I can't find anything like it, though it's a bit reminiscent of a mound spring type arrangement.
     
  18. SteveNT

    SteveNT Very Well-Known Member

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    Probably a few months before we can access it. (too wet now). I'm off to the Daly River region for the rest of the week doing more photo points, will post pics when I return.

    Nothing like a mound spring (I know them well). My guess is no spring at the top but loooooong roots reaching the water table at the base of the hill.
     
  19. I bags any megafauna you find in there first:)!
     
  20. Renenet

    Renenet Very Well-Known Member

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    Fingers crossed for some Varanus priscus! (Never mind that it isn't really the right habitat - I can dream.)
     
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