More Adventures in the Flinders Ranges – Wallabies and Native Lilies – February 2011

A field of Garland Lilies

Our first stop after Scotia was Broken Hill – a rather gentle way to re-enter civilization.  After a couple of months in the remote Scotia sanctuary we certainly appreciated the cafes, galleries and interesting streets and old buildings of the silver city.  We intended a short stay but Mother Nature had other ideas, turning on the rainfall in a big way.  120mm or so in one afternoon and our short stay suddenly stretched to many days longer with highways cut in all directions.  We had planned to head up the Darling River to re-explore that area and re-visit Louth, but could cross that off the agenda for now.  We also planned to spend a week at Buckaringa Wildlife Sanctuary in the Flinders Ranges, but Katja, whom we met at Scotia and now planned to meet at Buckaringa, was stranded at Scotia after flooding there.  Okay – postpone that as well.


Spring arrives early in The Alice

Zebra Finch (male) gathering nesting material, Alice Springs

Spring has definitely arrived early this year in Alice Springs.  Everywhere you look, native shrubs are in flower, the birds are building nests and the hills still have a greenish tinge after consistent rainfall all this year.  It is gorgeous.  We are even getting a few days now above 20 degrees, although the nights remain cool.  Who would be anywhere else?!


Australian Marsupials

Eastern Grey Kangaroo joey, Hat Head National Park, NSW

Australia is home to more than 100 species of marsupial.  Some, such as the Kangaroo, are extremely well known, indeed even synonymous with Australia.  Others, such as the small, carnivorous Dunnarts and Kultarrs, are virtually unknown.  Modern Australia holds the unfortunate world record for mammal extinctions, with many small marsupials having disappeared since the arrival of White Man and his feral pests such as cats and foxes.  Nowadays, remnant colonies of other, endangered marsupials, such as the Rufous Hare Wallaby and the Greater Billby, thrive either only on isolated islands where there are no feral predators, or in specially constructed, feral proof breeding enclosures.  These ‘island’ sanctuaries give their species some hope of survival.