Well, what a week this has been! We have been suffering through extra high temperatures and no rain at all for the last month. Then early last week Tropical Cyclone Oswald began tracking down the coast from north Queensland and dropping excessive amounts of rain on the way. By Thursday it hit us! It was now classed as an ex-tropical cyclone but still had very high winds and lots of rain. Over four days we had 451mm (18 inches) of rain (measured in my own rain gauge). It was very uncomfortable but didn't do any great damage right at my place. By Sunday afternoon the rain had eased off to showers around here. However, all the rivers still had to carry off the rain that had been falling in the catchment areas. There are no big rivers or streams that come down close to here. We lost power for a few hours - we lost TV for several days - and worst of all we lost ALL phones (landlines and mobiles) for the last 24 hours. Everything is now back on and I hope it stays that way. The towns and cities on all the rivers have turned into disaster areas. Some of the catchment areas measured 1000mm of rain! The worst hit area is north of here - the city of Bundaberg. Flood waters have inundated the city to levels never seen before, and yesterday and today emergency services have been using helicopters to lift people off house roofs and anywhere else they have been caught. Even the hospital has had to evacuate all their patients by helicopter down to Brisbane. The storm tracked down almost as far as Sydney in New South Wales doing lots of damage especially on the north coast of NSW. I think I have been very fortunate!
On Sunday afternoon, after the worst of the wind and rain had passed, I went out to Inskip peninsular with friends who have a big heavy 4 wheel drive. It was almost low tide and most of the peninsular was exposed. However, the shape of the sand spit and the wave marks on the sand were signs that the waves had been breaking right over this area a few hours before.
Huddled down among the flotsam brought up by the tide was a Tern that I had never seen before. At first we thought it was injured or even dead but it was only resting and flew off as we approached. It was a Sooty Tern (Sterna fuscata) and had been brought down by the storm. They are usually found from Cairns northward and around to West Australia. There was also a group of terns feeding off small fish a little way off from the shore. I had a friend (who is an expert on terns!) look at my photos and she counted 13 Sooty Terns feeding among the birds out there.
The following day this bird was handed in to a wildlife carer. It is a juvenile Red-tailed Tropic Bird and had also been blown south on the big storm winds. This is NOT a perfect photo but is a very interesting record for this far south.
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