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Slow and steady wins the race


Veronica Ross

The day started early with a 6.30am rise, no Sunday sleep in today. A forage into the bushland where we set the various traps produced a quoll and a bandicoot in the caged traps but nothing in the Elliot or pit traps. Seeing a quoll in the wild was an opportunity that I thought I would never experience due to the cane toad invasion on the mainland. Next we bundled into the 4WD's and headed for Salt Creek. The drive in saw us seeing dense woodlands that did not undergo yearly burn offs, cycads and the encroachment of mangroves into the woodlands as the sea level and salt pans rise. We were on the quest for find gobies and periwinkles. No gobies ventured into the traps laid yesterday as the tide did not rise enough but after a fishing expedition using the net, 5 species were collected and identified. Next we were on the search for periwinkles. What fascinated me was that they were not in the mud but on the mangrove leaves, most times at about waist to eye height. Why are they in the trees you ask? Its so that the crabs don't eat them. Richard showed us how to determine the sex of them. Since they usually mate at the beginning of the wet season, if you add a little water to your finger the mollusc emerges and you are able to see the reproductive parts. We located a male and female and were determined to play match maker, relocating the female to the same leaves as the male. They were last seen ignoring each other but time will allow their love to blossom.

After lunch we relocated to Site 2, a site that all the scientist visit to do their various surveys. We were on the quest for land snails. we located a number of shells but no live species. The land snails tend to burrow into the soil during the dry to escape to weather. We moved closer to the river and this game me the opportunity to play with a macro lens on my phone, photographing some of the plants and fungi in the area. Since we were so close to the cave paintings the day finished with a visit there. What an amazing day, can it get better than this? Hanging with scientists is inspiring and amazing.

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