In the meantime, we've seen a few unusual things, which gave me moments of delight, wonder, or disgust each in their turn. One night I went out to toilet the dog, and a green tree frog had parked by the back door. I have to say, they are actually extremely cute. They're also extremely fast. It was being all photogenic until we actually tried to take a picture of it. Then it took off and went underneath the house. That was when I realised what that weird, rhythmic sound that I've heard so many mornings was. It's most probably a frog sitting beneath the house croaking.
That was a relief, because at the time I had thought it was our pipes imploding or something more sinister.
Every evening, hundreds of bats fly overhead - thousands even. The council has estimated that Chinchilla has between 10,000 to 15,000 local fruit bats. That clearly outnumbers the local people. The locals talk about taking a gun to them. I think it's because fruit bat poo burns away your car paint and causes general devastation. Also, apparently bats really stink. I haven't noticed it, but then I don't have much of a sense of smell.
I noticed that the bats always issued from the same direction every night, between seven and seven thirty. They fly remarkably silently. Any other bird that flies in a flock here is bound to announce its presence by screeching its lungs out. That's quite normal in Australia. Crows become the background music (ahem, cacophony) to your life. Bats are relatively quiet by comparison. They fascinated me.
Then one day when we were heading to the farmer's market, I glimpsed a bunch of trees over the creek with lots of large black teardrops clinging to them. Michael and I turned around the car and headed down the street toward the trees.
That's when we discovered where all the bats come from. You have to see it to believe it, but there were literally a thousand on one tree. Last year, the bat colony settled above Charlie's Creek in the middle of town. The council eventually got people to use spud guns and things to move them to a more "natural habitat" as they put it. They succeeding in getting the bats to move... across the road, which was where we found all of them.
The trees were so laden that the bats were rearranging themselves during the day. When they fly in direct sunlight, their wings are see-through.
My weird wildlife sightings came to a climax with seeing my first snake at school on Monday. It was most probably a baby eastern brown, and it looked very frightened of all the children, slithering and twisting like crazy. I was leaving anyway, so I just went around the area where it was. It was good timing, because if I'd stayed any longer I probably would have been shut in the school for an additional ten minutes along with everyone else while the snake was being dealt with.
I surprised myself by not really being that worried, even though the eastern brown is rated as the second most poisonous of all land snakes, and baby browns are often highly venomous.
All in a day's work in Australia, I suppose. I survived another day and returned home to eat chicken nuggets for tea.
In the meantime, it's ten/eleven days till my fifth book releases! So I'm looking forward to the excitement that that brings into my life as well.
Until next time!