Thursday, May 29, 2008

Trip report: Simpson desert, part 1

Back in April, immediately after handing in my thesis, I bought myself a swag and headed out to the Simpson desert. I was a volunteer on a trip run by the "Dickman Lab" aka the Institute of Wildlife Research at Sydney Uni. This group of researchers carries out a range of ecological studies in the arid zone, from the effects of feral cats and foxes, fire ecology, population dynamics and the effects of grazing. Chris Dickman has been leading research the particular study area that I was visiting in the Simpson for around 20 years.

It was great to see the country change - dry up - flatten out - as we headed out of Sydney, through the mountains and across the western plains. Through Bourke, Cunnamulla, Charleville, Windorah and Bedourie. Lying under the starry sky on the first night, just over the NSW-Queensland border, I could feel the tension of weeks in front of a computer in the city slide off me.

Highlights of the drive:
- first nights under the stars
- Mulga (King brown) snake on the road (above)
- channel country
- Wedge-tailed eagle nest (below)

After two and a half days on the road we had arrived!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Miscellaneous update

Assuming there are still some people that either subscribe or occasionally check this blog for updates, I thought I'd provide a brief rundown of my activities recently.

Honours is all handed in and I'm awaiting my mark. My vague ambition for the next year or so is to see as much of Australia as possible (road trip!), do some volunteer work, and maybe think about what I want to do next (PhD? Work? Continue avoiding either?).

Since handing in I've been on some field trips - to the Simpson desert, the Warrumbungles and out to Wellington caves. I'll post some photos from the desert along with some comments in the near future.

I also have a backlog of photos (e.g. from the top end and some frogging trips here in Sydney) that I may get around to posting.