Rachel Down Under!

The world looks fine

Posted in Australia, Sydney by rssmith218 on December 8, 2010

A check of the weekly weather forecast for this past week will show that our fourth and final week of spring fieldwork was doomed from the start.

Really, Sydney, more rain?

According to the weather bureau, this has been Australia’s wettest spring on record (that is, within the past 111 years), with an average of 160 mm of fallen rain in Australia thus far. Compare this to last year, when the national spring average rainfall was only 56.8 mm. Pretty big difference, huh?

This rain overload can primarily be attributed to the domination of La Niña conditions in the Pacific Ocean. La Niña and El Niño have always been a bit of an enigma to me, but my recent discovery of this great animation has definitely cleared things up, even in the face of cloudy weather. Check it out!

During our week in the rain, we navigated the estuaries of Broken Bay, Brisbane Waters, and, when Brisbane Waters proved to be too shallow, also Middle Harbour. See the map below.

I didn’t take pictures at either Brisbane Waters or Middle Harbour (our final two “modified” estuaries) because of the rain, but here are some quick shots of Broken Bay, a lovely “unmodified” estuary. If these pictures don’t do it for you, you can also check out this panoramic website of the nearby Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park. Pretty amazing.

We love our experiments!

You too, Katelyn?

Our day in Broken Bay was full of Australian wildlife sitings! To name a few….

1. Jellyfish

These guys were everywhere- not just in the water, but as you can see, they were also piled up on the shore. Funnily, according to Wikipedia, they are called “Jelly Blubbers.” Unlike most other Australian jellyfish, these guys are happily harmless.

2. Sea Eagles

This eagle led us to all of our prime sites!

Here’s a close-up picture so you can see how beautiful they really are.

3. Bush Turkey….not as pretty as the sea eagle, is it?

4. Lions.

Wait, lions? What?

Oh, I meant islands that look like lions! Welcome to Lion Island!

Despite the rain, this past week was a great conclusion to the spring fieldwork season. I have another separate experiment that I am going to set out (hopefully!) next week, and then I’ll be waiting for February when we return to the field to collect our experiments. Can’t wait to see what communities I’ll have growing by then!

In the wake of the field season, I passed a pretty low-key weekend full of baking, relaxing, and (embarassingly?) watching the full season of the Australian TV series Summer Heights High. It was nice to have a quiet weekend, especially considering how busy the next couple weeks are going to be. Looking forward to my upcoming travels!

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One Response

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  1. Lenore said, on December 10, 2010 at 10:38 am

    I like that turkey!!! Is it good to eat?


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