The Bush Stone-curlew

I had a few big days. On Monday night, I learned that I would be driving next day. Tuesday morning I was up before dawn to drive to Cooktown. I picked up 5 people in town, then picked up another lady from the hospital. Off we headed back to Ayton, Bloomfield & Wujal Wujal, bound for Cairns in the minibus via the Bloomfield Track, Cape Trib and Mossman. Then down the coast road. I had a really great time with my passengers on the way down, and everyone from the 70 plus year folks to the young backpackers loved my playlist that I’d piped through the stereo.
On board I had three in their 20s, one in her early thirties, a couple who were between 60 and 70,and two Bloomfield icons, Harry and Dick. Dick is in his 80s.
We stopped at PK’s for a break, then continued to Mossman. At Mossman we found Clive waiting,  who was meeting us there so the passengers had a cooler ride through into Cairns. I kept the baggage on board, as I was heading into Cairns anyway. No use double-handling. One of the passengers, Julie, asked me about the music I was playing and had thought that it was a themed CD, made just for that coastal run. I explained that it was one of my playlists. There are 136 tracks from artists a varied as Clare Bowditch,LazyboyTV, Florence, Pink Floyd,Donovan, Sia, John Lee Hooker, the Seabellies Dido & many others. It is a variety of relaxed, emotive, mellowed and sensual. Julie started writing down some the tracks, so I suggested she ride with me to Cairns and go through the list as we drove. We discussed heaps of stuff. Julie had been on board the Duyfken replica, but was heading back to Fremantle (Freo) in a few days. It turned out that she is a vocalist in a band, and has a good taste in music. She gave me some artists names to check out & we swapped email addys to keep in touch. Julie is going to send me a few mp3s of her bands music. We agreed to catch up when she was back this way. It certainly made the drive more enjoyable, and I’ve made another friend from around Australia.
I stayed at Barnesy’s place on Tuesday night and we caught up on stuff over a few mild Coopers and xxxx Golds. We got up at about 4:30am because he had to prep his boat and go to sea. I went down and checked out the improvements he’d made over the past eight months. It’s looking good, but it was still predawn, so I couldn’t get pics. I dropped the commuter off at the workshop and then Andrew arrived. We jumped in one of the 22 seat Coasters and headed to The Pier to pick up the firat of our three passengers. Kathleen is in her eighties,and her great grandfather was the first white man to cross the Palmer River.  We picked up Ron & Helen, two of the passengers from the run yesterday, at Raintrees, then headed home. Here are some tourist pics,like the Daintree ferry 🙂

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So why the weird post title? Well, I was reading a field guide to animals of the wet tropics and saw a photo og a Bush Stone-curlew in there. When I lived in Rockhampton, there was a pair of Bush Stone-curlews who would nest in the carpark, amongst the trees and shrubs planted in the parking dividers. I remember seeing them nest there for at least four years. Well,the site was redeveloped and the carpark and trees bulldozed. In the redevelopment process,a new entrance road to the complex was built. In the middle was a traffic island with gravel and dirt between the kerbing. I drove in there doing a delivery there one day,and where the carpark had once been, was the area for the construction site sheds. I jumped out of the truck and went hunting for a freight receiver. Well,who was wandering around the site sheds,but the two curlews! When I found the bloke I was looking for, I mentioned the birds. He told me that they were always around and were a bit aggro towards the work crews. I told him they had a good a good excuse and explained the history of the pair. In later weeks,the curlews began ‘nesting’ on the traffic island. I admired their tenacity, but felt sorry for them. When sitting on eggs, they will freeze when aproached, attempting to blend in their ground nests, a scraping on the dirt.

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