In the Blue Mountains…

Some recent derring-do – I had a “work” trip to the Blue Mountains to learn how to handle a 4×4 in the outback.  This was truly awful, as you can imagine.  We seized the day and made a long weekend of it.

I crossed off a lifetime goal by hearing the song of a superb lyrebird, as per David Attenborough – awesome!  We could hear the male mimicking the songs of lots of birds in the forest, like magpies and kookaburras. No chainsaws or automatic cameras though, which is not entirely disappointing. Lucy actually managed to see him displaying, although I missed him.  We also saw male and female satin bowerbirds. Absolutely fantastic.

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First couple of weeks…

Yes, we are still alive!  We arrived in Sydney about two weeks ago.  We are in a shared house temporarily for about a month until we head into the outback.  We have been orienting ourselves at our respective universities (me, Sydney; Lucy, UNSW) and trying hard to hit the ground running.  Unfortunately we are both operating to quite tight schedules so there hasn’t been much excitement to report just yet.

When we eventually get to the field, Lucy will be continuing her field research on social behaviour in chestnut-crowned babblers (cooperatively-breeding birds).   I am not sure exactly where in Australia the bugs I am studying occur, but will be starting my searches in a haphazardly chosen location, at the field station where Lucy works.  Happily this isn’t entirely random as I have been told that previous researchers have found the critters there before!

Monday was “the Queen’s birthday”, so naturally all Aussies get the day off (apart from those in WA, who don’t deserve it).  This was our first real chance to get out and enjoy Sydney so we walked from the Spit to Manly Wharf, which has fantastic views over Sydney and a ferry trip back through Sydney Harbour.  Saw my first kookaburra!

Sydney University is modelled on an Oxbridge quad, so it feels just like home, although with a few more parrots

This Shield Intentionally Left Blank - Insert Donor coat of arms as applicable.

This Shield Intentionally Left Blank - Insert coat of arms as applicable from rich donor.... (nb. before it gets colonized by paper wasps, that is - spot the nest! This pleased me greatly)

Oh, now that's just no fun at all.

Looking over towards the Spit - Sydney and Harbour Bridge in background

Banksias all over the place - straight from Mars

Horrible, horrible time we're having

For Australia, it is actually reasonably cold…

... magnificent!

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James and Lucy are flying away :(

This blog will be up soon with updates of our adventures in Oz.

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