Username:    Password:
Thanks for stopping by...
Important and Substantial Expression of Variety
























Gorgeous Fruit Held by Fine Structure
























Odds & Sods
Road Kill Across Australia
Friday, 19th October, 2012  - David Farmer

Spring began slowly in the Barossa, warm and cold, but today, 28th September, the reptiles were out. On my morning walk I found the first casualty by the road, a smallish dead snake. Last spring also began badly for reptiles.

In the Barossa we have a handsome lizard that loves sitting in the middle of the road soaking up the sun. They are quite fearless and rise up on their front legs, like a toy Tyrannosaurus, threatening cars and passersby. I was walking by the Turkey Flat winery and a beauty ran from the vineyard and stopped in the middle of the road glaring at me. I was able to stop the approaching car then chase it off the road but I did not like its chances. Sure enough next day in about that spot was its flattened body.

I've been driving a lot over the last six years. The one depressing feature of these long trips is counting the road kill. The carcasses of kangaroos are common and in areas where they are many they can line the road edges for kilometres. It's the big haulage trucks working the night shifts that do the damage. I dread hitting one, and touch wood have managed to avoid that to date. They are very dangerous in the early morning light.

On the trip to Darwin, from say the scrub lands starting at Katherine going north, carcasses of kangaroos are common. They are no match for fast moving road trains. At least the dead have some use as they are feasted on by large eagles, I think Wedge Tails, which are so heavy with food they have difficulty lifting off and risk becoming more road kill. Fortunately motorists are alert to this and drive very carefully as they are a large bird, often in groups of three or four and are not hard to see.

I had a special moment travelling over the Murray Plain from Sedan, South Australia, to the ferry crossing at Swan Reach just after a heavy rain squall, during the middle of the drought. The road was thick with groups of small kangaroos sipping from the puddles that had accumulated in dips in the bitumen. They were so thirsty they barely moved and I dropped back to 20 kilometres per hour and watched them for over 15 kilometres.

Birds are the worry as they love standing on the road, the crows picking at dead animals while magpies chatter and hop off as a car approaches. They seldom worry about flying and you can see from this characteristic that being isolated, say on an island with no predators why birds are happy to become flightless. The galahs and some other cockatoos and parrots are the worse as they gather in large groups by the roadside feeding on seeds. I think this is because rain running off the roads makes for a good crop and plenty of food along the verges.

Galahs have the habit of lifting off as a large flock, swooping from no-where, plunging down in front of the car and rising again. The trouble is the tail-enders are not looking and are frequently hit. The pink and white feathered body is easy to spot though much rarer are groups of three or four that have been cleaned up by a truck. Dead crows are rare but dead magpies of all types, but especially the smaller sub-species, are common and I see one on average every 40 or so kilometres.

Smaller birds, like finches, appear when driving through bushy land and for no reason fly right in front of the car, very low to the ground and going fast, but far to often not fast enough. Alas I have hit a few.

Another time I was driving from Truro in north east Barossa Valley to Eudunda; there had been a bit of rain around and it was just after the grain harvest and by the road edge parrots were feasting on the spills from trucks hauling grain. They would not move off the road and then it occurred to me they were intoxicated from eating fermenting grain. Sure enough I soon noticed the first splashes of coloured feathers.

I have enjoyed the long trips from the Barossa across to Margaret River, WA. I never knew there was a Nullarbor Plain wombat and get a bit upset seeing the poor buggers by the side of the road, inflated with gas and upside down, half skinned by being rolled under a fast moving car or truck. There are not many thank goodness. I turn south at Norseman and head to Esperance and that is a horror stretch where the bird kill rate is very high and even with the best intentions have hit a few of those attractive green and yellow parrots which for some reason are called Twenty Eights. From no-where they just fly into the windscreen while tiny birds just smash into the grill. The trip I did in 2011 was particularly bad and for a 100 kilometre I noted a dead bird every few kilometres.

One time I left Margaret River for a drive over to Frankland River and back, it was October I recall, the month the reptiles were on the move as I saw many, many large snakes and big lizards squashed. There is a lot of bush in this region which makes the trip enjoyable though this kill rate is a major tragedy and it really depressed me.

The Flinders Ranges are even better than the tourist brochures say and the only place I have had to stop, not once but twice to assist echidnas across the road. I'm not sure if it does any good, perhaps they do not want assistance and just turn around when you drive off.

Then what are we to do about those fat lizards, the stumpy tails that look like big slugs which crawl and stop to take a breather and then move another metre and pause again. From a distance they look like a small branch or a piece of bark on the road and then you are on them. On my Barossa walks I would see a dozen flattened blue tongues a year. They are such an attractive lizard but really have no hope in surviving a trip across a road.

A year ago I was coming back from McLaren Vale and drove through the forests behind Williamstown (southern Barossa). It was just before evening and I noted an odd shape in the middle of the road which as I got closer looked like a small wombat. To my astonishment it was a koala wandering down the middle of the road and in the fading light this was not a good idea. I drew level, wound down the window, and did my best to make frightening noises. 'Blinky bill' though was not to be hurried and made only leisurely moves to the side of the road-and none too soon as the workers leaving Williamstown were soon rushing along the road.

As for insects, I suppose they are par for the course for any driver. I have encountered a few 'plagues' of grasshoppers but the most interesting was east of Wilcannia just after the drought had broken when I drove through a storm of dragon flies that continued for over 100 kilometres. There was a lot of water lying around but where they were going I have no idea.

You do see a few dead foxes and many rabbits, so some of the vermin also have a sudden end though I've yet to encounter a dead pig, donkey or goat. We have about one million kilometres of road in Australia with about one third paved. The casualty rate is higher on the paved roads because of speed. I fiddled around for a few minutes making calculations of the animals killed in a year but as the figure mounted it all got too depressing. Whether the number is significant as a percentage of the total animal population I do not know and have no idea what can be done about the 'road kill'.

2
0
1
2
2
0
1
1
2
0
1
0
2
0
0
9
2
0
0
8
2
0
0
7
2
0
0
6
2
0
0
5
2
0
0
4
ODDS & SODS ARCHIVE 2012
Road Kill Across Australia

Friday, 19th October, 2012

Using Up That Wine Surplus

Monday, 9th January, 2011

ODDS & SODS ARCHIVE 2011
Scientific Results Way Out on the Curve

Saturday, 29th January, 2011

"Effing Hell" is Coming to a Bottle Shop Near You!

Friday, 14th January, 2011

ODDS & SODS ARCHIVE 2010
Early Worries About Smoke Taint

Monday, 29th November, 2010

A Vintage Veuve or how about a Jugiar

Wednesday, 24th November, 2010

A Whet Whistle Catches the Fishes

Monday, 4th January, 2009

Oh What a Lovely Bubble

Saturday, 2nd January, 2009

ODDS & SODS ARCHIVE 2009
The Critics Defend Their Ratings

Monday, 5th October, 2009

More Great Times for the Foodies

Friday, 2nd October, 2009

A Great Time for the Foodies

Saturday, 12th September, 2009

Will it be Lawyers over the Dining Room Table?

Saturday, 1st August, 2009

A Small Tribute to Frank Devine - Marketing and Managerialism

Sunday, 5th July, 2009

Tall Geological Tales, Uranium and Other Things

Thursday, 28th May, 2009

Tall Geological Tales, Uranium and Other Things

Thursday, 28th May, 2009

The ACCC Gets It Wrong on Groceries

Friday, 24th April, 2009

One Makes Cars the Other Wine - The Result is the Same

Sunday, 19th April, 2009

ODDS & SODS ARCHIVE 2008
Prime Red Coonawarra Soil at Risk

Monday, 2nd December, 2008

ACCC Attacks the Hero

Tuesday, 12th August, 2008

Paris Has All the Fun

Monday, 10th March, 2008

ODDS & SODS ARCHIVE 2007
Let Anarchy Rule the Roads

Monday, 17th September, 2007

When Cruel Death Appears

Wednesday, 15th August, 2007

What He Drank Last Night

Tuesday, 31st July, 2007

The Name We Dare Not Mention

Tuesday, 24th July, 2007

Pine Creek and Ah Toy

Sunday, 1st July, 2007

Opinion Polls and the Dressed Weight of a Particular Living Ox

Wednesday, 23rd May, 2007

Brushing Your Teeth with a Deadly Glycol

Wednesday, 23rd May, 2007

A Clutch of Double Entendres

Sunday, 29th April, 2007

A Picture of Global Warming?

Friday, 2nd March, 2007

Memories of Otis

Tuesday, 20th February, 2007

Grog For Your Dog

Friday, 26th January, 2007

Chunky Joins the Telegraph Haters

Wednesday, 17th January, 2006

ODDS & SODS ARCHIVE 2006
The Rarely Seen Titan Arum

Sunday, 12th November, 2006

The Flavours of Beer

Wednesday, 8th November, 2006

Woof, Woof to the Rescue of the Little Penguins

Wednesday, 1st November, 2006

Methadone Fails 97% Of Drug Addicts And Flu Vaccines Don't Help Much

Sunday, 29th October, 2006

American Fatties Cause Global Warming - The Fat Report No. 2

Sunday, 29th October, 2006

Relations Between Australia and United States Threatened

Tuesday, 24th October, 2006

The Fat Report - a Round Up of Obesity News

Monday, 23rd October, 2006

Newman's Horse Radish

Saturday, 2nd September, 2006

Woolworths Cooks up a Treat

Monday, 21st August, 2006

Giving the Mob a Helping Hand

Wednesday, 19th July, 2006

A Soccer Setback for Satellite Sales

Monday, 17th July, 2006

Worse than Pubs With No Beer – Restaurants Without Wine!

Tuesday, 11th July, 2006

The More Things Change...

Friday, 7th July, 2006

Forget the Rum, Try a Cachaça

Friday, 23th June, 2006

An Anniversary Remembered

Tuesday, 13th June, 2006

Irish Trout and Other Monsters

Friday, 2nd June, 2006

Try a Hardy Text and Get a Chardy

Thursday, 11th May, 2006

Enough to Make a Russian Revolt

Tuesday, 18th April 2006

A Day of National Shame

Wednesday, 12th April, 2006

And in the Beginning There Was … Alcohol

Saturday, 8th April, 2006

More Perils of Punting: Assistant Coach on Ice

Thursday, 9th February, 2006

Fox Hunting Lives on in South Australia

Thursday, 9th February, 2006

Wine Drinkers Are Healthier Eaters

Monday, 6th February, 2006

Understatement of the Week?

Thursday, 2nd February, 2006

The Dangers of Betting in Two Player Contests

Monday, 30th January, 2006

Reality Wine Makers

Friday, 27th January, 2006

Forget the Zero, a Proper Coke for the Memory Please

Monday, 16th January, 2006

I'll Have Mine in a Tumbler, Thanks

Wednesday, 4th January, 2006

ODDS & SODS ARCHIVE 2005
Vanilla Beans and Bourbon Casks

Wednesday, 14th December, 2005

Chinese Drinking Marx But Not Eating Him

Thursday, 8th December, 2005

How to Encounter a Glug

Friday, 2nd December, 2005

An Els of a Wine Launch

Wednesday, 30th November, 2005

Wine for Prison Pagans

Monday, 17th October, 2005

Award for Wine Institute and SA University Scientists

Monday, 10th October, 2005

Kill Two Birds With One Egg

Friday, 7th October, 2005

ODDS & SODS ARCHIVE 2004
A Tall Tale and Fishing with Plastics

Sunday, 30th January, 2005

Fishing Lakes Entrance

Friday, 10th December, 2004

Profiting from that home ground advantage

Tuesday, 5th October, 2004

A Short Walk in the Park

Thursday, 1st September, 2004

The Secret of the Golden Perch

The Dreaded Body Fat Chart

The Humble Carp Begins To Boom



©2016 Glug  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy  |   RSS Feed
Liquor Licensing Act 1997: It is an offence to sell or supply liquor to a person under the age of 18 years, or to obtain liquor on behalf of a person under the age of 18 years.
All transactions in $AUD. This web site is operated by Glug Management Company Pty Ltd ABN: 64 116 647 780 Licence No: 51401128