A pitstop for Ron and I

My night in Jabiru was quite nice! Even after being chased back into the confines of my van by mosquitos and the sound of a dingo pack nearby, I got to enjoy a clear night sky and some shooting stars!

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A [poor] photo of the night sky as seen from my moonroof/airvent
The next morning, I managed to find ~5 different species near Jabiru, and another 2 on the way back to Darwin. In the more tropical parts of NT one bee species seemed to be much more common than the others! Wherever I found bees, I found this one… And in greater numbers than other species found at the same site.

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The common white-faced bee
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Some wildflowers being visited by bees and other insects
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One of the other insects… Although I’m not sure that this stick insect was after the nectar…
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Although I have seen evidence of stick insects having a go at some pollen! (not from this trip – male titan stick insect)

On a less stick-insect related note, I had to leave Jabiru and drive through Kakadu National Park again to return to Wagait Beach to meet with my uncle and cousin who were coming back from work that night.

After a nice drive and even better shower (they are few and far between sometimes) I met with my uncle (Phillip) and cousin (Peter). My cousin was taking me around the bush the following day, which was a reason for some excitement! With an outline of a game plan I went to sleep with some anticipation!

The following morning we got ready and left for the bush and beach (after some small repairs on Peter’s car).

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Pete and his home-made 4×4, grins all ‘round!

Any thought of finding bees (which I did intend to do, I promise) were quickly dashed as I was too entranced by the awesome scenery and bounced about, grinning all the while in Peter’s car!

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One of many amazing wetlands that has sprung up after the rains

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Tracks of a[n estimated 4.5m] saltwater croc going up the beach
The next wetland was girt by magnetic termite mounds, many of which appeared to have been shot by some apparently very bored people… I’m sure the holes don’t mean a great deal to the colonies, but I can think of some better pastimes all the same 😉

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I think that with this mound, they were going for Bart Simpson… The resemblance is uncanny!
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While we were there, we also managed to find a geocache, albeit accidentally!
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Suggestions? Photo courtesy of Peter
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I cannot help but think that this tree is playing with fire, making its home in that of a wood-eating insect…

Wetlands are renowned homes for a plethora of animal life, particularly birds…

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These three were particularly enjoying the 4×4 tracks, so much so that they chose to fly ahead of us for a few minutes before deciding that they were better off getting off of the road
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They were also home to what I can only assume was the fin of a land-shark!

As the day got later, we headed back towards the beach, crossed a creek, saw a lighthouse and got settled in for a fish.

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No, this isn’t taken from the creeks edge, but in its middle
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The beach leading up to the hidden lighthouse
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We settled in, as did the sun before beginning our fishing

I was successful in catching my first ever Barramundi (with Pete’s help and guidance). Pete however was more successful with his fish, being about twice the length of mine! Regardless, I still had a fantastic day and night!

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Pete’s hook-up for the night

After quite a sleep in, I packed the van and got Pete and Phil’s help in fixing the front fan on the van so that I don’t cook anymore. Turns out the brushes on the motor weren’t so much worn out as they were gone… So being the resourceful people they are, they took brushes from another unrelated motor, cut them to shape and put them in mine! Hey presto I have a front air con again, which has been keeping me if not frosty at least cool for a couple of days now!

Upon leaving the morning after, it did not take long to find some signs of flood damage on the road to WA… I also found some signs of a changing landscape, from the flat plains and soft hills on tropical NT to a more arid, sharp cliff-ridden landscape. No bees though!

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A sign of flood damage 😉
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NT cliffs

After a sweaty night’s sleep I was ready to make the last leg of the journey towards WA. The road was often sided by quite a few very impressive bottle trees.

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A tall bottle tree standing stalwart near the highway

Just before the border I started passing some very impressive cliffs that were topped by plateaus! Needless to say I had to climb one (albeit a smaller one). The view from the top was impressive as was the top itself, covered in yellow wildflowers and red stones! But no bee to visit any of those flowers, most likely due to the mid-day heat. I did manage to collect two individuals on the way down, and see a few more, including one that from a distance seemed like a teddy bear bee the size of a carpenter bee (of course this was from a distance…)!

The top of my plateau

My crossing of state borders was not greeted with a picture of Ron, a sign, and myself but rather a sign and a quarantine check! Goodbye sweet onions and potatoes… After that it did not take me long to find myself some WA wildflowers in the bush on the side of the road! I also found some more rocks to climb…

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WA border and checkpoint

WA wildflowers

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The view from a peak
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The view of Ron from said peak

Having lost my 130 speed limits, I was limited to 110, which meant that now everyone else was going the same speed as me ;). This is probably for the best, as the road was often accompanied by wild horses, wild(?) cows and the bodies of kangaroos.

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A family of wild horses, including a foal
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Possibly wild cow
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The states may change, but my camp rarely does

Bee count: 68

Kilometers traveled: 8222

Until next time,

 

James

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