Hot and wet and dry and warm and cold


The weather’s been all over the place: hot and sultry one moment, thundery and cool the next. Clear and dry, cold and wet. I was looking at one of the weather websites recently and was baffled by this prediction. On Wednesday there was a 100% chance of 20 mm of rain, but by Friday there would be a 10% less chance of twice as much. Huh?

The creek was clear and dry on Sunday morning but the water looked dirty and horrible. A frothy scum bristled around the water’s edge and, even though it’s run quite frequently recently, there was still a huge amount of litter.

If I needed cheering up then this huge graffito under the railway bridge did the trick. These monster tags take themselves too seriously sometimes, but how can you not like a pink one with a cute elephant face?

The air felt spring-like. By the gap in the railway fence there’s a blue-tongue that’s taken to warming himself up in the mornings.

He’s there as regular as clockwork but he needs to be careful; recently I’ve seen a swamp harrier patrolling the reed beds. There was a black-shouldered kite on this patch but, since the arrival of the harrier, he’s made himself scarce. I was surprised. Given that the swamp harrier’s so much bigger than the kite I’d have thought that they’d have different prey sizes but perhaps it’s a territory thing. Either way, the swamp harrier looks incredibly impressive, lolling through the air with deep, lazy sweeps of the wing. He may be after rabbits as the gasworks is teeming with kits at the moment. This one wasn’t looking too lively though.

The banksia are in flower. I don’t know if it’s something natural or whether it’s a result of some deep, DNA-altering pollution in the ground there, but the cones on this tree all seemed to succumb to a weird growth. (I can’t remember the name for this: not a lerp or a scale; maybe a gall?)

I saw this dragonfly and it was perfectly still and perfectly formed. I thought it had just died.

When I came back half an hour later it was up and about, off the creek bed and onto the concrete banking. Perhaps it had just hatched and was drying its wings.

By the afternoon the thunder heads had rolled over and a thin rain started. Snails appeared from everywhere; these guys were making short work of an old orange on Newcastle Street. Imagine if they were eleven feet long. Jesus, that’d be scary.

Finally, SantaWatch. Is this the biggest inflatable Santa you’ve ever seen? He was all puffed up on Saturday afternoon, but by the time I cycled past about half eleven he was totally deflated. I’ll bet someone spent Sunday morning with a dish of soapy water and a Vulcanising kit.

Time for change


Hmm. The slashers have been through the gasworks site and now the window panes have been repaired on the old admin building. This is a good thing – I’ve been worried out the way the beautiful old Newcastle Coke and Cole Company office, in its centenary year, has been falling to rack and ruin. So why don’t I like it?

Alarm clock

Pure self-interest, I’m sad to say. It’s private property but I do like to let Jambo run through the gaps in the fence to chase the rabbits. It’s such a privilege to have a wide open space in the middle of the city, a space that isn’t regulated, manicured and subject to dozens of stifling minor by-laws. So I suppose that Jambo will lose his play area soon, and it’ll be back to the creek for the both of us.

Speaking of which. The creek normally looks pretty chipper after a good flow but this morning it looked horrible. On Sunday morning I saw this large, weird-looking object bobbing around, just out of reach.

Bag of foam chips

I was hoping that it might be full of used $100 notes but disappointingly it was foam chips, the whole big bag blown away or escaped from some packing factory. I couldn’t get to it; truth is, I didn’t try very hard. The thought of humping a bag of foam chips all the way home and to the bin didn’t seem like it was worth the Good Citizen points I’d earn. Though I felt terrible this morning when I saw that it had either burst open or been kicked open by kids. The whole creek was littered with foamy snow and the water glowered at me accusingly, muttering “You could have prevented this!”

So to cheer myself up I’ve posted a few unrelated Hamilton North pics. These are all ones that have been floating around on my camera for a few days waiting vainly for a relevant topic to come into my head.

Thong and longneck

repairing telegraph poles

Chain in a drum

Chemical containers on train

My “go to” man for all things natural, Max Elliott, suggested that this poor critter is a Limnodynastes peronii (Striped Marsh Frog to you and me). To hear his call, go to the gasworks on any wet night or follow this link to the Frogs Australia website.

Dead frog

Train crossing Broadmeadow Road