On a dreary, cold, grey, wet Saturday afternoon when spring seems very much further away than just two days on the calendar, and when really the only sensible place to be would be tucked up in a cinema somewhere, it's masochistically pleasurable to remember how it was in the Northern Territory just three weeks ago. And still is, of course...
Warm, humid, colourful - exactly what Auckland isn't, today - the Territory is also full of birds and animals which for me anyway makes it even more appealing on top of its striking scenery, ripping-yarn history and glorious open skies. From that point of view, the evening cruise that we took on Yellow Water Billabong was the real highlight of our World Expeditions Kakadu Adventure. Dan took us to the jetty where we joined a sunset cruise for a couple of hours along the winding course of the South Alligator River. We sat in a tin catamaran and tootled along with Adam in the back spotting birds and crocs for us, and happily manoeuvring the boat back and forth so we all got a good look.
We saw so many birds! From the huge - a sea-eagle swooping on a fish right in front of us, and a stately jabiru (all jabirus are 'stately', it's a rule) stalking in slow motion through the shallows, to the tiny - bright red and blue kingfishers. The lotuses were pink and white, there was smoke from a burn off going sepia on the horizon, the pandanus and paperbark trees turned into black silhouettes, and then just as the sun was slipping below the horizon a great flock of, er, birds flew past, perfectly timed (by Adam, or so he claimed). Fabulous, dramatic and highly recommended.
Also, all over, sigh. Now it's just ring-necked doves nagging (gently) on the roof, sparrows on the seed feeder, silvereyes on the fat, and chickens in the garden. Oh, and Harley in the bathroom, rescued weak and wobbling 6 weeks ago, all mangey and maggotty, and now twice the weight on a steady diet of Fancy Feast, and raring to go back to the wild. Come on, spring.