It’s Hot! Dam Hot!


It’s safe to say this summer has been hotter than a very hot thing that is feeling hot. The knock on effect of all that heat is that motivation evaporates – literally. It is very hard to get out and about when temperatures are above 40ºC (104ºF). The UV index is so high that if you’ve been outside for longer than 5 minutes you need to see a dermatologist to have skin cancers removed.


Frida trying to trying to escape the summer heat in what’s left of the Avon River


So summer days are spent dreaming up ways to keep cool. You can go for the psychological approach like my Beloved Significant Other (BSO) – she is reading Scandi noir books set in  chilly sub Arctic nordic climes hoping that she can convince her body that it is cold. I’ve tried watching a few films along those lines but my body is not easily fooled. Next is the physical approach. The BSO has also taken to spending as much time as possible at the swimming pool. I don’t go as when I get into the pool the water gets out. More seriously the pool isn’t heated in any way and the cold water has me shrieking like a teenage girl at a Beatles concert. So I’ve given up on that idea. I’ve taken to hanging around the freezer cabinet in the local super market along with the rest of the town. The competition for the best spots can be brutal. The little old ladies are the worst – they’ve got sharp pointy elbows that they use to great effect to secure prime position and maximum coolness. The best place to go is the bottle shop’s (liquor store or off-licence for non Aussies) coolroom. Absolutely blissful. Unfortunately I was banned after I tried to smuggle in a chair and a TV. The best strategy is to get up early and try and do everything before it gets too hot. Then you retreat back to the sanctity of home and crank up the air con. This is why I’ve been printing photos lately.


Nidoolyorong or Black-fronted Dotterel (Elseyornis melanops). York, Western Australia.


Yellow billed Spoonbill, Platalea flavipes. York, Western Australia.


A Willie Wagtail wondering if the Rainbow Bee Eater is going to share its dragon fly.

The impact of all this hot weather on the local wildlife has been considerable. The numbers of birds around is quite low. Lack of food and water. Even along the river, which now no longer resembles a river but a series of small fetid murky pools, there seems to be less activity. It has been a bumper year for dragon flies. I guess they must like it a little on the warm side. Once a week I’ve been going out to a large freshwater lake about 50Km from here to work on a new project. There’s been a bit more activity there but not much. Early in the mornings there is no vehicular access so you have to walk in through the bush and a couple of times I’ve come across a mob of kangaroos sparked out in the shade under the trees. They’re so hot and lethargic they can’t summon up the energy to move and they just lazily watch as I walk past. The only real activity at the lake has come in the form of a randy male musk duck desperately swimming up and down looking for a victim – err I mean prospective breeding partner. That duck can certainly move fast. Funnily enough I’ve not yet spotted a female musk duck – I guess they must be too hot and bothered and are avoiding him by hiding in the reed beds.

Musk Duck by Paul Amyes on
A male musk duck – not the randy one mentioned above.

Thankfully it is the end of February. That means we’ve only got to survive March and the the weather will start to cool in April. Can’t wait!!