Emerging from the bush …

A happy new year to all and sundry. I am full of optimism, it can’t be anywhere near as disastrous as Tim Blair predicts

I woke up to 2015 in Victoria’s Sunset country not far from this sign …

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This is the part of Australia that achieved fame when Apple Maps was launched. Version one directed people going to Mildura into the wilderness. The press made much of the prospect of people dying of thirst or succumbing to snake bite. I did neither but I did make an excellent start to my 2015 bird list.

A couple of people have taken on the challenge of the Calendar Game. I will post my progress from time to time, hopefully they will inform us all of their progress in comments. So far this year I have seen 110 species, so I’m safe until April 20th.

Summer is harsh. Weather is always a topic of conversation in Victoria because it changes frequently. The cycle runs from a hot north wind through a cold change from the west, a couple of cooler days then the wind turns northerly and things hot up again. The dramatic moment is the change itself, it can drop the temperature 15 degrees in half an hour. In summer that’s usually very welcome.

When it’s very hot and windy the fire risk is high. Fires tend to start during the northerly, all too often because some nutbag deliberately lights it. Initially the fire front travels south, burning embers often travel ahead on the wind, starting spot fires that make firebreaks ineffective. Despite reports that it travels faster than a speeding bullet the front is likely not to exceed 16–20 km/h. After five or six hours then the area affected will look like a relatively narrow triangle with its base in the south about 100 km from the apex at the fire’s origin.

The change arrives with a strong westerly wind, the fire front now becomes the eastern side, much longer than the southerly base. If the change is accompanied by heavy rain … great. In summer it often isn’t. In Victoria the loss of life and property is usually greater after the change.

The most recent weather cycle produced the fires in the Adelaide hills, South Australia, which has destroyed at least 26 houses, and fires in western and southern Victoria that have been less destructive. Looking west from my front gate the change looked like this …

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My fire plan is simple. There is a road leading south and another going east. Fire from the north, McGee goes south, fire from the west, McGee goes east.

But on a brighter note, my meanderings over the last couple of days have turned up some beautiful sights …

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The old trestle bridge at Archdale, and below a Rainbow Bee-eater at Newstead.

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2 thoughts on “Emerging from the bush …

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