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Sunday, November 03, 2002

Back from camp

We got out of town this weekend - out to a tiny portion of Morton National Park. We car camped it - ease and convenience being the order of the day. We brought too much food and the total fire ban kept us from having to cook. Dishes were kept to a minimum and snacking, naps and bird watching at a maximum. I should say that although there were several birds around, most of the bird watching was of one Kookaburra in particular (pictured above, but more in the image gallery). It hunted almost constantly around the camp sites - very entertaining if a little unsettling. They're in the Kingfisher family - carnivorous - and tend to drop out of trees, spearing their prey with their beaks. I'd never thought about it before, but they make a low thud when they hit the ground. And then their beaks click a little when they're chomping down their catch. It was very up close and personal hunting with one catch being made right at the door of our tent (a beetle I think).

Also in the image gallery are several extreme close-ups taken by fitting the eyepiece of my monocular to the lens of the camera - making extreme macro possible. You can see a lot of distortion around the edges, but the center came in to focus just fine.

On the way home we drove out to the coast via Jambaroo and then Kiama and then up through "The Gong" Woolongong. Woolongong used to do a ripping good trade in steel. It's now scaled back to just doing some trade in steel. The steel plant is an amazingly dark, smokey, smelly, huge industrial-revolution era monster that looks straight out of a David Lynch or Tim Burton movie. It belches creamy coloured steam and mandarin orange fire and pots can be seen on a half-mile long clothesline swinging and jerking along in procession to be filled with molten metal. It provided the jolt of civilization that brought my head back out of the trees and pointed my mind towards Monday.

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