This fabulously marked, intriguing and often cryptic specimen of a bird - a Nankeen Night-heron (Nycticorax caledonicus) - was the last image etched into my mind after returning to Perth. I crept up the verandah post and streeeeetched on my belly across the corrugated iron roof to get as close as I could to this juvenile bird, who sat silently in a eucalypt, unfazed by the din of drunken laughter and live music below us. Minutes before, some party-goers had pointed him out to me, roosting in a low sapling near the campfire. He then flushed from this perch, and in about three strokes of his silent wings, missed the live band’s drummer by inches as he flapped up to the new perched. What a magic moment! One that summed up a magic time, with inspiring people, in a magic location. A privilege to be part of.
I’ve just spent 3 weeks exploring the gobsmacking landscapes of the vast El Questro Wilderness Park on the 2010 Australian Geographic Scientific Expedition. You’ve probably already guessed that it was a remarkable, once-in-a-lifetime experience, filled with too many stories to talk about here. The only thing I can say is look at the Photo Album which contains a small fraction of the photos I took while I was up there... then if you’re keen to see these things for real, keep your eyes on the Australian Geographic website for news of another trip in 2012.