Saturday 31 March 2012

Canberra Ho

A post in which I journey to Canberra.
An interesting visit. The main purpose of my visit was to inspect a property which I have owned for several years and which the tenants are now advising needs some maintenance. That is to say more maintenance than the agent that manages it seems to be able to arrange, such as repairing blinds on windows. I won't use this, however, as a forum to list the many shortcomings that I find with the property manager.
I departed Darwin on a 12:45pm flight. Delayed. No reason given. As I had only a short time gap between arrival in Brisbane and my connecting flight I had a mild concern, but the captain came on the intercom and promised to make up the time. Which he indeed did. A seamless transfer onto my flight into Canberra and in fact we made up more time on that flight due to tail winds.
We landed ahead of schedule and I picked up my hire car and made my way to my hotel. Large parts of the city were in darkness as they were observing Earth Hour and the lights of major landmarks like the War Memorial were dark. It actually made driving more of a challenge than I had expected as streets were darker than normal.
I found my Hotel after a false start had a quick drink in the bar and headed for bed.
The Bludger has no profound thoughts to pass on.

Thursday 29 March 2012

Musings, ramblings - Will Power

I have been thinking a bit about willpower. Mainly my lack of it.
  • If I have chocolate in the house I will eat it with no restraint. Therefore I do not buy chocolate.
  • If I have sweets in the house I will eat them with no restraint. Therefore I do not buy sweets. Well rarely.
  • If I have nuts in the house I will eat them with no restraint. Nuts are good in small doses but I find it hard to stop scoffing them all in one go. Therefore I do not buy nuts very often.
  • If I have chips and sweet biscuits in the house I will eat them with almost no restraint. Therefore I do not buy chips and sweet biscuits.
  • If I have soft drink in the house I would probably drink it with no restraint. Actually I do occasionally buy soft drink, but it is too sweet for me.
  • Before I stopped smoking the only way that I could not smoke was to not buy cigarettes and not have them around me. After over 14 years I hope that I have broken that habit. I will never know because I will not buy cigarettes again. Ever.
  • I have alcohol in the house and it is too easy to pour a wine or open a beer in the evenings. Therefore I have rules like no alcohol before 5pm and self imposed alcohol free days. The temptation when at home is too break those rules.
  • Ben Cousins was arrested earlier this week carrying trafficking quantities of amphetamines. This is despite huge media publicity over the years, court cases, rehabilitation, drug addiction therapy and who knows what other support that he has had. He was apparently heading to another rehab clinic at the time.
  • I knew a person who called himself a chocaholic, he consumed 2 pieces of chocolate every night. A block of chocolate lasted for days for this person. chocaholic indeed, not by my appetite.
Will power is a strange thing. Mine is weak. I stay on the straight and narrow by avoiding temptation not by resisting temptation. It is easier to walk past the sweets in the supermarket aisle, than it is to walk past the sweets in the cupboard at home.
If you put a salad in front of me and a hamburger, guess which one would be eaten?
All this rambling came up because this week I have made a serious attempt to lose some weight. I could feel my stomach tightening and every day as I stepped on the scales I was heavier than the day before. It had to stop.
If you asked me, I would have said that I was dieting, pretty much continuously over the last 3 or 4 years. In that time my weight started at 86 Kg, I got it down as low as 76 Kg, man did I look good. But it has drifted back up to 82 and has been bouncing up to 86 and back to 83 for the last year or so depending on my level of commitment. Last week it raised over 86 and I began to feel fat. Man boobs forming, the works. It was time to get serious.
I looked at a couple of weight loss sites. According to one my correct weight for height is 69 Kg. I have not been close to that since about age 18. For many years I considered about 82 as my body's natural weight. It was easy to maintain at that level. It is now drifting up far too easily.
I wondered if some of these so called "super foods" would help. There are some scientific papers that indicate some foods do indeed suppress appetite. I was particularly attracted to Hoodia, which is allegedly eaten by South African tribes to reduce appetite and cure a couple of problems. But then I found that the research study was funded by a weight loss company and no double blind trial has actually occurred yet. Also if it does have an effect you cannot guarantee that the tablets or powder that you buy actually contains any Hoodia.
I have a view of the diets that rely on Acai Berry and a range of other foods. In my opinion if you followed their diets and substituted say, diced carrot, or blueberry, or pretty much any other vegetable, I think that you would achieve the same results and save a lot of money. The diet works because of the discipline and the placebo effect, not because the food itself is a wonder cure.
So this leads to the fact that I have to go back to traditional proven weight reduction regimes. Eat less and eat healthily. I.e  a diet that is low fat, low carb, high in vegetable, less protein than normal, and reduced portion size.
I am hungry a lot of the time. Trying to tweak the diet with foods that keep me feeling full for longer.
So The Bludger has had to exert will power but was showing 83 Kg on the scales this morning, down from 86. 

Sunday 25 March 2012


This is an entry for the 7 day challenge.

I pondered several other titles and themes including Sand, Sand and Sea, Seascapes, Serenity and Scenery. But I kept coming back to Sunsets as I really wanted to get some sunset photography out there and also this is the last of the Seven Day Challenge, It is the "sunset" post as it brings them to an end.
However having just sorted some Piccies I also found a couple of sunrises that I wanted to include. Grrr.

Taken on Darwin foreshore at low tide. This is just around the corner from where I live and most days I take a walk along the foreshore for some exercise and fresh air. There is almost always something new to see there, whether it is bird life, or just the changing pattern of the oceans or people.
Nightcliff foreshore at Darwin, NT, Australia

The following was taken not far away, but a different day. A lovely calm evening with a relatively high tide. We can have tidal differences of 7 meters between high and low. At the moment this jetty is closed for renovations as it was damaged in a storm. A couple of the supporting pylons have been knocked out of line.
Nightcliff Jetty, Darwin NT, Australia
Time to change countries. This picture was taken in the Philippines. Once again a lovely place to be. We were returning to our hotel following a tour of the local beaches and parts of the island.
Fishing boat, Batangas, Luzon, Philippines
And this picture is taken from the island of Phu Quoc which is part of Vietnam. The island is in the gulf of Thailand, head towards that sun and you will run aground in Thailand. The island is relatively unknown but with about 25km of sandy beach and safe swimming and a stable political environment it is destined to become a tourist mecca over the next few years. It is also a part of Vietnam that no one has heard of or thinks of going to, so at the moment it is an unspoilt haven.
Phu Quoc, Vietnam

Tropical storm clouds over the Arafura Sea. At this time of the year we regularly get short intense storms. Typically they are over in a few minutes but can dump large amounts of water in a very short time. This one was well out to sea.
Afternoon Storms, Fannie Bay, Darwin, NT, Australia
And finally the Sunrise.
This is at Chau Doc in Vietnam. The waterway is the Mekong river. You can make out two ferries ready to cross the river, towards the right of the picture. My room was a cabin on a boat. Small cramped and very hot. The air conditioning was non existent and the fan seemed to make no difference. Very old world. Just up the river was a lovely hotel and restaurant, a veritable oasis. Expensive, I did not want to pay the room rates, but ate in the restaurant and it was one of the best meals and service I have had in my life. I wish that I could go back.
Sunrise, Chau Doc, Vietnam, August 2011
That is the end of the 7 day challenge.
Quite difficult to churn out quality content every day
The Bludger is happy that the challenge is over.

Saturday 24 March 2012

Service Offerings

This is Saturdays entry for the 7 Day Challenge.
OK to all readers, this is a post to sell the services of my company, if that puts you off I understand. However I promise that it will be the only one for this challenge. You will be safe to return on Sunday and in fact I have already planned that to be a pictorial of some of the recent photos that I have taken. Not sure of the theme yet, several "S" themes are in my mind.
One of the reasons for posting this is to try and crystallise in my mind how to represent the company to others. Helping to build our marketing material and practice my spiel.

ClearThought is a small IT Consultancy with offices in Darwin and Adelaide. It has been represented in Darwin for 4 years and now has an office and full time presence.
Our target market is small to medium sized business that rely on Information Technology to run their business. This may be as simple as email or involve complex applications that the organisation relies upon to perform its business. We have a particular strength in areas of remote office automation and access from remote locations.
Our Consultants have a broad range of experience gained in areas such as Manufacturing, Mining, Medical, Laboratory, Environmental, Government, Banking and Finance, Defence and Venture capital.
The services that we offer include:
Virtual CIO:
In recent times technology has increased enormously in both its complexity and its importance to almost all businesses. To deal with these new challenges, larger companies have created the position of Chief Information Officer or Chief Technology Officer to focus full time on getting the most out of the firm’s investment in technology.
Clear Thought provides virtual CIOs to companies in need of ICT expertise where a high level of expertise is required but a full time appointment is unwarranted.
The virtual CIO works part-time on any given account and does most of their work remotely. We also provide specialist ICT support, or the client may use their own IT staff and just tap our management expertise.
ICT Consulting:
Clear Thought has extensive experience across a broad range of ICT areas.
Collectively our staff have a broad range of detailed technical expertise allowing us to provide ICT consulting excellence in a wide variety of areas including:

Project Management:
Clear Thought use industry standard Project Management and Risk Management practices in meeting our customer requirements.

Network Consulting:
Clear Thought provides expert staff with experience in network design, roll out and operations. From 10 Gigabit Ethernet to ISDN, Wireless and everything in between.
For LANs we can manage design and deployment of the most complex of Wireless Networks from conception, to post installation commissioning, through to operations.

Virtualisation & Cloud Computing:
Virtualisation can be a cost effective approach for applications intended for small to medium-scale usage.
The “Cloud” does not suit all and we can advise on  where you can  benefit and maximise your business potential.
Clear Thought runs it’s whole business “in the cloud” and can assist you with moving your business  there too.

Friday 23 March 2012


An entry for the 7 Day Challenge
Maybe I should say a pathetic entry for the 7 day challenge,as I have been flat out all day and not had time to prepare. The title feeble probably sums it up nicely.

Or maybe I should just take the traditional way out and say "the dog ate my homework".
Maybe that is my theme? How many excuses can I write to make you feel sorry for me not doing a good job of this?

Business meetings in the morning. A quick lunch and then worked from home in the afternoon. It is 6pm and I have only just turned my attention to what to post today. A very frustrating day dealing with an ISP that is not living up to it's promises of support. Meanwhile at least 170 emails have been not delivered to the correct email account. Fortunately some tricks from our web developer has been able to capture the email, which originates on a web form, and send it elsewhere, but not a good effort by the ISP.

Not much time to be creative as I have a leaving function to attend at 7pm. Sorry folks a leaving do is more important than blogging.

Just seen the bus through my window, 25 minutes to the next one that I need to catch.

I missed that bus as I had to also go to the ATM and get out some money. Not even enough for the bus fare in my pocket.

Also a bit of drama at the bus stop when I got there after the ATM. A lady had collapsed and was being attended to by a couple of young men (youths?). An ambulance arrived so I did not offer to help but merely watched. It was not obvious why the lady had collapsed but she was talking, but did not seem to have control of her arms and legs.

It is a sad area that I live in, there is a lot of problems with substance abuse, mainly cheap alcohol, few people can afford drugs. It is a complex problem with roots in lack of education and the socio-economic conditions of the abusers. Mainly, but not solely, restricted to the Indigenous population.

The lady was loaded into the ambulance and the young men turned to the female ambulance officer and said "please look after my mother*". The officer looked at them very kindly and said comfortingly "I always look after my patients, she is in safe hands". Warmth and tenderness amongst the harsh reality.

The ambulance departed and the men moved on.

The Bludger boarded the next bus having been reminded of his fortunate his position in life.

* mother is used for any female older than the men who forms part of their "mob" or has some degree of kinship. It does not necessarily mean a biological relationship.

Thursday 22 March 2012

Traveling Thursday

This is an entry for the 7 Day Challenge.
It also helps me fill in a gap in my travel diary. I spent August 2011 traveling around Cambodia and have not fully written up the experience. This fills in one of the gaps.

Siem Reap to Battambang, Cambodia, 9 August 2011
Today the plan was to travel by boat to Battambang. This involved navigating the flooded waterways at the edge of lake Tonle Sap, crossing the Northern most tip of the lake and then wending our way through a river system to Battambang proper.
I was up early, packed and had a hurried breakfast. My boat ticket included a pickup by a shuttle bus. It was late. After it became a half hour late, I began to get concerned. At this stage one of the hotel staff came over and let me know that the operator had rung up, I was not forgotten, but it would be a bit longer. I do not wait patiently, conscious of things that I could be doing, but at least on this occasion I was confident that I would not be left behind.
The minivan eventually turned up and I was loaded on board. Counting the driver, it looked like it had seating for about 9 people. We made several stops and slowly filled the van. We kept on stopping and putting more people in, plus their luggage. By now half the bus were collapsing in a combination of heat and hysterical laughter, we were packed in like sardines. They stopped at 16, by this time people were sitting in each others laps and luggage was held to the roof by ropes. No luggage racks.
A boat similar to ours leaving the terminal
We made our way out to a boat dock, for want of a better word. I had time for a quick leak, but they were urging us on board as by now we were at least an hour late.

The boat engine was loud and noisy and we took off down a narrow channel, following a road raised to ensure that it stayed dry in the wet season. At a seemingly random point we turned and dived into the vegetation surrounding us. Surprisingly the boat kept going. As I looked I realised that we now passed down a small channel, cleared of the larger debris and now kept relatively free of weeds by the regular passage of boats. I also noticed that markers, mainly old plastic bags tied to branches, also kept the driver in the channel.
Like this on both sides

The vegetation began to catch on the rudder and framework holding the propeller in place. One of the crew took life into his own hands and crept over the back of the boat. Periodically he would try to clear debris from around the rudder and propeller, on occasion raising the propeller to assist. At another time we had to stop and the driver put the motor in reverse to try to reduce the weed caught around the fittings.
Ready to clean the debris from the rudder and propeller
We came at last to lake Tonle Sap proper. An amazing feeling. This is part of one of the great ecosystems of the world. A freshwater lake that floods in the wet season, at the same time as the Mekong and Mekong Delta floods. It forms a unique habitat that cover millions of square kilometers and brings life to the parched interior of the country. Undamaged by humans. Unfortunately not, as the locals used it as a dumping ground for all their rubbish and cigarette butts during the journey. Unfortunately so did some of the other foreign travelers, people who should have known better.
We crossed the lake, guided by a large float in the middle and I later recognised a distinctive radio mast, near the entrance to the river system at the other side. What looked like magic to find our way over the lake was reduced to observation and experience.
Fisher folk at the edge of Tonle Sap
From there the trip became like an adventure into the unknown. The channels varied in size from narrow to nice open stretches of water. Tight turns made it interesting and on several the crew had to use oars to help the boat turn and on one occasion we did not make it around and hit the bank with a solid thud.
There was plenty of wildlife with small birds visible in the trees and bushes. At one stage a dead crocodile floating upside down. Even the locals were impressed by that.
We began to pass other boats, larger craft like ours making the return journey, floating homes and small fishing craft that bobbed and tossed in our wake. The driver would slow down a little to reduce the wake but I saw at least one raised fist as we passed and I am convinced that on several occasions the driver sped up deliberately early to cause discomfort to the fisher folk.
Passengers about to embark

We also began to  pass small isolated communities and on one occasion I saw a floating house being relocated with the aid of a small powerboat. Children would wave to us as we passed them on the banks or in their boats and we could see inside the houses as the locals went about their daily routines, or worked along the edges of the channel.
At some places we were stopped and people would get on board. This boat and others like it are their only form of transport and also I could tell a way of socializing for the locals as many obviously knew each other.
Well dressed, even in the middle of a river

At about the stage that my bladder could take the trip no longer we stopped at a floating dock. There was a toilet on board, but one look at the stinking fetid room was enough for me to decide to avoid it. The dock led back to the shore and some houses. At this end where we pulled up it held a small shop that also doubled as a restaurant. I was able to buy a container of rice with some fish and a vegetable sauce and a couple of cool beers.
Prior to that though nature called and after observing the etiquette of the locals I made my way around a narrow ledge next to the shop and relieved myself into the river. Males on one side of the shop females on the other. Hessian sacks dangling from the veranda roof were an attempt to preserve modesty.
I ate my meal on the boat to ensure that it would not go without me. By this time my bum was sore from the unpadded seat, but there was nothing that I could do, I had nothing with me to pad the seat which was hard and wooden. By the end of the trip I had blisters on my cheeks that stayed with me for several weeks.
After about 20 minutes we took off again. The waterways had opened up into a wider river and small communities had grown into slightly larger villages. Civilisation also intruded, with Mobile Phone Towers, the occasional power line and some solidly built brick and tile buildings interspersed amongst the wooden huts.

I was given plenty of opportunity to observe my fellow passengers. There was about a 50:50 mix of tourists like myself and locals. The locals were all invariably well dressed, better than the travelers. Their clothes were clean, whites were dazzlingly white, neatly pressed, and my fears of body odour proved groundless when seated in close company. For people who live beside or on a brown muddy river and do hard manual labour, there was no evidence of lack of personal hygiene. Almost all carried mobile phones, and they were not shy to use them. A backward country in many respects but right up with the times in many others.
Antenna dwarf the buildings underneath
The boat trip ended at a mooring beneath a bridge. There was no jetty, a big jump down to the sloping bank. It was just starting to rain with the daylight fading towards dusk. I had no idea where I was in relation to my accommodation. The crowd of passengers made their way up to the top of the river bank and slowly dispersed onto their prearranged transport. I was about the last when a man approached me and made it known that he could give me a lift. He seemed to know my hotel and mentioned a price. I readily agreed and hopped on the back of his motorbike. He carried me no more than 300 meters to my hotel. I could have walked if I had known where it was. I was happy however, the rain was about to dump down and I was dry.
Ready for the afternoon wash
The hotel was old but magnificently furnished with heavy hand carved wooden furniture, dating back to a time when the French ruled this country and brought courtesan style and European standards to the country. Maybe furniture like this was still made, but I suspect the woodworking skills were probably lost during the countries internal war. Furniture and wall panels consisted of dark wood with thick layers of varnish polished to a high shine. Worth a fortune in any western country.
After settling in and waiting for the rain to ease, I took a walk to stretch my legs. I was tired and I had a brief orientation of the city, found somewhere to eat, had a quick meal and returned home to sleep.
The Bludger was quickly asleep.

Wednesday 21 March 2012

Wild Mushroom

A submission for the 7 Day Challenge.

I was taking my regular morning exercise walk along the Nightcliff foreshore. I paused to use the exercise equipment and do some shoulder strengthening. I noticed these two mushrooms and had a closer look. They were quite large and in the morning light they looked interesting. I determined to come back with a camera.
During my absence I was worried that some vandal may give them a good kick. For some reason people like to do that to wild Mushrooms.
Anyway I got back and found them intact, so I spent several minutes lying on the ground adjusting distance, angles and playing with various f stops and shutter speeds.
I attracted some strange looks and comments from passers by. However it is amazing what latitude is given to someone with a camera in the hand. Want to lie on your back and look at a tree, building or sky, you will be considered weird, add a camera and you become a photographer.
This was the one that I liked most out of what I took.

For the Photographers.:
  • Camera: Pentax K200 D
  • Lens: Sigma DC, 18-50mm Zoom, 1:3.5-5.6
  • Settings: 1/125 second, f/11, 50mm (equivalent to 75mm in 35mm format)
The Bludger is regretting not picking the Mushroom for breakfast.

Tuesday 20 March 2012


Excerpts from song lyrics, that contain the word "Tuesday". My rule is that I must have a copy in my music collection, not just random stuff of the web. Part of the 7 Day Challenge.

Friday on my Mind, Vanda & Young, 1966 
Monday morning feels so bad,
Ev'rybody seems to nag me
Coming tuesday I feel better,
Even my old man looks good,

Ruby Tuesday, 1966. Released by The Rolling Stones, some debate on Authors.
Goodbye, ruby tuesday
Who could hang a name on you?
When you change with every new day
Still Im gonna miss you...

Friday I'm in Love, the Cure, 1992
I don't care if Mondays black
Tuesday, Wednesday - heart attack
Thursday, never looking back
It's Friday, I'm in love

Love You Til Tuesday,  David Bowie, 1966
Oh, beautiful baby
My heart's a flame, I'll love you till Tuesday
My head's in a whirl and I'll love you till Tuesday

The obvious Album was Tuesday Night Music Club, by Sheryl Crow, but I could not find Tuesday in her lyrics. So not included.

The Bludger now has all these songs in his head and is toe tapping away.

Monday 19 March 2012


Excerpt from "The Compleat Guide to Fishing" Volume 1.

I made my way to where I had discovered that Rabduval was hiding. The house was silent and the door locked. He did not answer my knocks. Compliance to the Code ensured that I must do this procedural task.
But in my heart I knew it was a waste of time, I knew him better than that. After knocking a second time I made my way around to the back of the house.

Quietly. Sneakily. Avoiding the cameras.

Crouching so that he could not see my form pass by the windows. I made it to the back door in time to see him attempt to sneak out.

He seemed surprised to see me and scared also. He looked around, prepared for flight, but thought better of it and merely waited for me.
"Hail good fellow" I said mildly.
"What do you want?" he asked.
"You know what I have come for" I countered.
He looked downwards, avoiding my gaze. He seemed to shrink a little, but looked up and said, "I have no idea what you want".
I merely stared at him. I held his gaze until he looked away again. I stepped forward and held him by his shoulder. He flinched away when I touched him. I stayed still and simply waited. He whimpered but would not look up. In every part of my being I knew that he had the answer or the clue that I needed.
Everything pointed to him holding the key to the the next step that I needed. I was on the point of a breakthrough but I did not know how to move forward. He was not going to tell me unless he thought that I already knew sufficient.
The Code prevented me from using force. I had the tools that I needed. I could crack him in 30 seconds. I could break him. I wanted to. It would leave him relatively unharmed but if the Council found out that I had broken their Code they would do worse to me.
So I considered. He whimpered.
If I could just find the right words, ask the right question, he would collapse. But what were the correct words? What was the key? A mistake now and I would have nothing, he would clam up. Was I ready to break with the code?
"I have been to old Persia" I said, "I know".
I could feel him tense. I was close. I waited.
I kept waiting. Hoping to break him down with silence. I could almost sense his thoughts.
But then he slowly relaxed, he straightened up slightly. "You know nothing then" he said. He straightened more, squared his shoulders, looked at me. I could see it in his eyes, the growing confidence. I had used the wrong words, he knew that I did not know.
I was lost. I would never know. Could I break the Code? Would I break the Code?
He looked in my eyes and he knew that I could not. He smiled. He straightened to full height and casually brushed my hand from his shoulder. "You little shit" he said, "go to hell."
I stood there. I felt light headed as the extent of the disaster engulfed me. This was it, the end. I had been tested and failed. Defeated. The future looked bleak. No, it was worse than that, there was no future for me.
I barely noticed the sound, a muted crack. Instinct kicked in however. Subliminally I registered a silenced gun. A gun? A weapon out of history, gunpowder had not been used in kinetic energy weapons for years. All such weapons had been banned and supposedly destroyed, except those held in museums. Never the less still a lethal weapon. My advanced combat training kicked in, the same training that helped me identify the weapon, and I dived for the dirt. Subconsciously I tracked back to the source. I knew that it was behind me, above, and over my right shoulder. Where did they get the bullets from? A gun could only come from a museum.
I looked up at Rabduval. He was still smiling. As I watched a red splotch formed on is chest, it spread. His knees began to buckle. He slowly sank to the ground. I could now see a fleck of red on his lips. Blood. Copious amounts.
Regardless of the risk I crawled to him.
He looked at me. He knew he was dying. "They have found" me he said, his voice low and already sounding weak.
"It's not too late", I implored, "tell me now".
He sighed and shuddered. I leant closer, conscious of the feel of a gun lined up against my back, somewhere. He said something and I rolled rapidly to my right, back under cover.
The bullet passed through where I had been only microseconds before. It hit Rabduval in the throat. He was gone.
Where I lay I was shielded from the shooter by a low wall. I started to crawl away.
Rabduval's last words had been "it's Monday".

The Bludger was not on drugs.

Sunday 18 March 2012

Seven day Blogging Challenge.

An initiative by Jenson Taylor is to post 1 blog a day for 7 days.
Very few rules, apart from every Post title has to start with the letter of the corresponding weekday.
M - Monday
T - Tuesday, etcetera.
Stand by for some strange posts as I let my creative juices flow.
Note: While the title of this post starts with S for Sunday, it is not part of the challenge.
The Bludger is Posting.

Sunday 4 March 2012

Territory Wildlife Park - revisited

As an amateur (very amateur) photographer I follow the Gizmodo Shooting Challenges and am a semi regular contributor. The shooting challenge is a weekly opportunity to submit a photo, generally on a theme and extend your photography skills. There are no prizes, just a small amount of satisfaction, maybe some kudos, for having you pictures up on the world stage. Gizmodo has an Australian Site and a US site where one can submit photos.
Anyway this weeks challenge on the Aussie site was Birds. So I decided to head out to the Territory Wildlife Park and shoot some birds.
It is wet season here in the territory and that means much of the interior is flooded and many parts inaccessible. Actually this has been a dry wet season, but there are still plenty of roads cut and it is only in the last few days that our rail link to the rest of the country has been restored after a bridge was washed away in December.
I spent some time at Goose Lagoon, which has a bird hide overlooking the lagoon. There is an elevated walkway to the hide. This was absolutely necessary as underneath was water, in places over waist deep.
View from the walkway
It was raining lightly. I was the only one there and the area had a mystical feel about it. I can well understand the aboriginals belief in spirits being present in these lands at such times.
View from the hide
The lagoon was devoid of bird life except for 3 small ducks in the middle - too distant to be photographic subjects. But I stayed there for over an hour. It was a lovely quiet meditative spot. My mind wandered as I listened to the rain fall and I just gazed over the waters seeing but not seeing, lost in a moment of calm and beauty.
That was actually at the end of my afternoon, a lovely way to end the day. I felt calm and relaxed and at peace.
Prior to that I had been to the Billabong home to Pelicans and allegedly a rather unfriendly Freshwater Crocodile. It rained all the time that I was there and the birds were taking shelter. I too managed to shelter with a view of the water and birds.
Fishing in the rain
Shaking off the water

I saw no crocodile and when the rain eased I moved on.
The next stop was a series of aviaries that form part of a forest walk. These are walk in, via a mesh door, and in some the birds are free to roam, in others a window separates you from the birds and prevents accidental escapes. Smaller aviaries hold a range of different birds and small lizards, snakes and turtles.
A Rosella

Another bird.
The mid point of this walk is a large aviary built around a section of woodland incorporating several trees inside. A walkway gives you a treetops walk and then descends to ground level. I walked in and was confronted by a Kookaburra which took off before I could photograph it. A variety of Woodland Pigeon was the most common bird in the treetop but they were shy and difficult to capture on film.

Hiding - but I got you.
The aviary experience came to an end at this point as the descent to ground level was blocked. Not sure why but I will put it down to wet season or maintenance.
However The Bludger was well satisfied. It had been, all in all, a successful day.