The glories of Renner Springs: travelling south mid-June

Sunset at Renner SpringsWell those who’ve ever been to Renner Springs will find that description to be rather strange, but having said that, we saw some beautiful things when we overnighted on our way south recently. Where is Renner Springs? Well it’s about 820kms south of Darwin down the Track or Stuart Highway. Not much there except the roadhouse and outlying properties. But have a look at these photos and see whether you agree we saw lovely things from sundown to sunup.  The poor little night heron was not too amused by being pursued by a woman with a long camera lens. The empty cattle road train was evocative given the recent embargo on live cattle export to Indonesia.

A night heron looking for dinner - and trying to avoid me.

Having been on the go with house events were blissfully unaware that we were going to be in prime viewing position for the lunar eclipse so when we woke up early that morning we were a bit befuddled by the disappearing moon. As we couldn’t get on the road until there was some light I took some dawn photos with the partial eclipse. It looks rather pretty.

Sunrise and the lunar eclipse at Renner Springs mid-June 2011

An empty cattle road-train heading north early in the live-cattle embargo.

Beauty & the Beast, united in death

Beauty and the Beast: the night heron and the cane toad.

I think this image speak volumes of the march of the cane toad into the Northern Territory (apart from all those shades of brown).  We stopped to look at some brolgas near a waterway on our drive home from down south, and happened to see this tableau.

It may not be the case, but it looked to me like the night heron had possibly pecked at the toad, killing it, only to die itself from the toad’s poison. It certainly reminds us that the cane toad migration is in full force and has a substantial impact on the native wildlife. This is the first year we’ve had them on our suburban block. Call in Toadbusters and the toad traps.

For those unfamiliar with cane toads, some bright spark brought them in the 1930s to combat the cane beatle which was affecting crops. Like so many introduced species it then went crazy and has had a terrible effect on native animals. Unfortunately there’s also a native frog in the Top End which at a casual glance looks similar to a cane toad -those we don’t want to destroy!

BTW I am not a bird expert so if my bird identification is incorrect please leave a comment and set me straight.