Lake Tuchewop & the Green Turtle

To: <>
Subject: Lake Tuchewop & the Green Turtle
From: "Geoffrey Allan Jones" <>
Date: Sat, 3 Jan 2015 17:23:21 +1100
Evening everyone it has been a while since I have put up a post but I
thought this may amuse some of you and all the best of 2015 to everyone.



On the 30th of Jan, like many of you, who have previously made the journey
this was my first chance to head over to Lake Tutchewop with Tom Wheller
from Deniliquin and a mate of his. We arrived at around 6-30am and went
straight to the inlet from the irrigation channel that feeds water into the
lake and binned the birds at that location with no success, we then drove
over to the other side of the lake to find bugger all and returned to the
inlet but other than some Pelicans and Banded Stilts there were no waders at



>From there we headed over to Lake William and Little Lake Kelly with the
same result but at Lake Kelly proper there were tons of birds so we walked
the shores looking at many a Sharpie and Red-necked Stint in amongst the
Banded Stilts, Red-necked Avocets, Grey Teal and Australian Shelducks, we
even found a lone Curlew Sandpiper but alas no LBD or RNP so back to the
inlet we went, and by that time the wind was up to World Kite Flying
Championship level. We walked down towards the inlet channel and noticed
that there were some Sharp-tails in amongst the low growth along the
channels that feed into the lake but kept thinking that the Dowitcher was
too large to be in the low growth ( great decision from us! ) and headed off
to Swan Hill and a few of the Lakes up in that area just in case the bird
had moved, after quite a few hours and a couple of meat pies at the local
bakery we headed back to the inlet yet again. 


As we drove in the Indians were losing so many wickets on the radio that I
had my ear on the radio and picked up my bins ( Now I know that most of you
will be in complete shock by now to know that I sometimes use a set of bins
but if you can't beat them join them I say and to my complete shock this
little orange bugger stood out like a beacon so I was quickly got out of the
car walking down to where the bird was preening itself next to quite a few
Sharpies. As I turned around to head back to the car a couple of people came
down and one of them was Greg McKay who told me that he had photographed the
bird earlier that day up in the low growth along the channel ( that did send
a message back to my brain "you dickhead!")  At this stage I had to drive
Tom and his mate Kevin back to Barham where we had left Kev's car so that
they could head back home to Deniliquin, before I headed back to the inlet
at Lake Tutchewop as I wanted to try and photograph the bird in low light
with the sun at my back. 


A couple of years ago I had bought over the internet a contraption called a
Skimmer which is like an upside down frypan which you can mount your
Wimberly Head to for attaching your camera and lens so as to keep them very
low to the ground or in this case mud and be able to slide it in front of
you ( that was the plan ) By the time I had arrived back no-one was around
so I quickly changed clothes as I did have some idea of what was to come and
slowly walked down with my bins and hat having mindfully slapped on 50+
sunscreen as I knew it would take time to move towards the bird without
making it nervous so the slowly slowly approach was taken. 


Now that mud goes black as soon as you break thru the surface and I quickly
had visions of being sucked under never to be seen again but soon realised
it was only about 250mm till the surface was hard underneath me again and
unfortunately for my wife there would be no collecting of the life insurance
policy. So moving like a Green Turtle trying to get up the beach to lay its
eggs and leaving a tell tale trail I pushed my contraption slowly towards
the subject with the sound of squelching mud and a not to pleasant smell
joining me in my quest. 


As most of you have found out the wind up there is not your friend and the
Dowitcher had its head firmly nestled into its plumage and showed no signs
of letting me get an easy shot, so the game of patience began with me around
10 metres away from the bird waiting for it to show me that wonderful bill.

At this stage a chap turned up in a ute and I must have made a really good
site , as he jumped back in the ute and took off, maybe it was the site of
my bum crack or he just didn't believe some idiot would be out there
wallowing in the mud! It took me around 2 hours to gain the shots that I was
after and many moves as my tracks would have told for anyone turning up the
next day.

After washing clothes, camera and myself and finding out we had only drawn
the cricket test, and having a quick beer in the name of not getting to
dehydrated I headed off to Maldon to have a few sherbets' with some great
friends of mine Alby & Eleanor Wright and partake of their wonderful
hospitality for the night.


Here is a link to a couple of shots from the Mud!

Regards Geoff Jones

Barra Imaging


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