Field Work Begins

Wednesday, December 21, 1988
Mt. Spurgeon, Queensland, Australia
Dec 21
0530 woke to pack; pack weighed 21 kgs .
Had a blood test then departed for Navex and project with John Winter. Went to Mt. Carbine first. It has a manganese mine. The road climbs steeply away from the township to provide good views. There are many ants nests hills among the sparse gum trees. On the hills, Kangaroo's Tails begin to occur. The track is sandy with dep ruts caused by erosion. Max elevation is 800m (I was in charge of the altimetre for much of this expedition). As we come downhill and to McLeod River, the tails disappear. There are a few casuarinas near the river crossing.
At noon it was drizzling and we were at John Winter's camp (what comfort). We had lessons on identifying different kinds of common trees and their locations, as well as on bettong and gliders. He had trapped a Rufus Bettong which we photographed. Among the notable flora were E Grandis (tall, white, smooth-barked Eucalyptus which sheds it huge branches on the unsuspecting. Iron bark, lemon-scented citridora. Also a Red Bellied Black snake.
During the dark, spotted numerous bats flying over camp, drove uphill and spotted yellow-bellied glider, frog and greater glider . Continued spotting back in camp and saw feral cat, greater glider, feral horses, brush-tailed bettong (we think from the eyes). Retiring only past midnight. Working with John is tough.
Dec 22
An early start 0600 h. Cool breeze and did not feel warm enough in the 18C temperature. Went to check bettong traps, looking at multi-cut resin, strangle vine.
0845 breakfast.
Did some transects, recording altitudes up to 1090 m. Saw goanna, glider-tapped trees. Mapped 7 GT trees. Concluding only at 1800h.
Night spotting again and saw Yellow Bellied Glider cutting bark at 12m distance.
Dec 23
Dropped off at transect point and did 21 trees before lunch. Went to see a house in rainforest. Returned at 1600h to break camp.
1700h arrived McLeod River crossing. Tea with John before he departed for Xmas holiday. 1800h - recce'd the hill over crossing. 1100m peak is quite formidable. Dinner of Mac & cheese, carrot, potatoes. peas with savoury mince and kidney beans. Dessert was "custard" with sutanas. We chatted till 2200 that night in our new camp.
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