Australia – Fall Semester 2000

July 2000

I have finally got home from Maggie and our fieldtrip..
It has been a successful week educationally…

It started last week with my intensive course when I meet some old friends that I hadn’t seen for ages..
The whole course is called Animal Form & Function field course. It was divided into 5 groups; insects, mammals, amphibians and marine parasites.

Basically I have had lectures from 9 to 5 everyday the first week! Little long sometimes but nice coffee pauses and the Ozzy tempo (=slow) it wasn’t too bad…

Second week (15th – 21th) we went out to Maggie and did the practical part of the course. During that week we started little differently but as early as 05.30 when we did the Bird chorus (listen to the birds when they wake up) the latest was when we had nocturnal mammals. Some days where pretty slack, e.g. the mammals, started at 7am finished at 10.30am…

My week looked like this:

Butterflies Monday 8am -3.30pm, where we went out to catch butterflies and brought ’em back in special thingies to id them. A special species where selected to estimate the population size… (mark and re-capture method).
we putted some b’flies in the fridge for 5, 30 and 60min to see how long time it took for them to thaw…
On the evening/night we went out to cheek out nocturnal spiders..

The Tuesday went to Horseshoe Bay to catch some fish so we could cheek for marine parasites.
I had a snoub nosed dart (food fish) it was not entirely dead when I picked it up from the bin in the lab, so I had to cut the main aorta under the gills, I felt little bad about killing it but when after 5 hours dissecting I had found 8spp. of parasites in the gills and intestine and thousands of cystod-cysts I realized this one had not long to live before it would die… It was no longer a fish but a collection of parasites in form of a fish…
Of the 8spp. 1 was totally unknown, 1 was REALLY rare, and another two was freshwater parasites and the fish is an saltwater fish seems little peculiar…

On the Wednesday it was time to face the reptiles, we went out to a creek called Gustav Crk which was a dried out creek with some small Billabong in a 120 meter transect we first observed the behavior of the lizards, and later on catch them for marking, id and weighting… I didn’t have any luck in catching them but my group was quite successful. The majority of the caught lizard was of the species Carlia rhombodalis , which is about 7-8cm long and weighs 2-3grms, cute little thing..

Mammals was up on the Thursday, so went again out to secluded area of Maggie to see if there as any different between two habitat (mangrove and woodland divided by a road) and if so, why..
The chosen mammal was the brushtailed Possum, we caught them by using special possum traps. We found quite a lot of possums and we checked the females for joey’s and measured the head length of both the adult and the Joey..
It was not only the females that was sexually violated ’cause we measured the testis on the males…
Before we let ’em go again we measured, weight and sexed them. In the ones we didn’t have a transponder one was placed under the skin in the neck.
In one of the traps a water rat was caught, really pretty!!

On the Thursday night, we went out to cheek for nocturnal mammals, I found four possums and one koala! a real cutie!! One really big spider (10cm between the toes, 4cm long body). as you might now if you shine your torch on the animals the light id´s reflected in there eyes…
The koala was the first wild koala I seen.

On the Friday we checked out birds but I have no real affection for small birds, and specially here in Oz ’cause the bird differ from home and all other continents.. so I felt I didn’t get so much out of it though I am leaving the country in a year!


One week into July and I have had a experience of a lifetime…

I was pretty bored last week so I decided to drive out to Billabong Sanctuary 20min outside the city, to take some stock photos of the Australian and North Queensland’s wildlife.

I got some very nice photos of koalas, kangaroos, crocodiles and other cute and cuddly animals. There was an opportunity for hugging a koala and of cause I took the chance to hold this little teddy bear, the koala in question was an 18month-old baby, and was really cute!

I think that little thing didn’t leave any of us that cuddle it untouched!

When I held it the baby koala, pushed it’s hairy head onto my neck and just hugged me back when I was petting it’s back

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