Sharing the view with a jabiru

Jabiru at Mamukala wetlands by Gary Scott

Jabiru at Mamukala wetlands by Gary Scott

Kakadu is in the middle of the cool weather season – Wurrgeng – this is the name that the local Indigenous people of northern Kakadu, Bininj, give to this part of the dry season.

The water levels in the wetlands of Kakadu are getting lower each passing day. Birds are becoming much easier to spot as they start gathering, ready to congregate in great numbers around the billabongs which will diminish in a few months time.

I recently went down to Mamukala wetlands near the South Alligator River. I was lucky enough to come across this beautiful male black-neck stork, or jabiru, feeding amongst the water lilies. You can tell it’s a male because it has a black coloured eye, unlike the female which has a yellow eye. Jabirus mate as a couple for several years, sometimes for life, building their enormous nests, up to 1.5 metres deep and 2 metres wide, high up in the paperbark trees surrounding the wetlands.

Occasionally, I’ve spotted a jabiru – which also happens to be Australia’s only stork – sitting on top of the rocky escarpment at Ubirr. Perhaps it too is enjoying the same beautiful views of the Nadab floodplain that attracts many visitors to Kakadu at this time of year.

Jabiru at Ubirr by Gary Scott

Jabiru at Ubirr by Gary Scott

Gary Scott
Kakadu National Park ranger

2 thoughts on “Sharing the view with a jabiru

  1. Strange how those rocks look like they have been neatly stacked on top of one and other. But I suppose its just from the wind wearing away over a hundreds of years?

  2. Thanks for your comment Joshua. Those are very old rocks in the photo taken at Ubirr. The rocks are known as Kambolgie Sandstone formation, the same as throughout the Arnhem Land escarpment and plateau. The original sediments were laid down around 1.7 billion years ago by a giant river system that ran through the area. When the river flooded it deposited layers of sand up to 10 metres thick. In quiet times the river also deposited many thin layers of sediment. Over time these sediments consolidated to become the stacked sandstone formation we see today. You’re right that the rock is wearing away due to the erosive forces of wind and rain. It is estimated that the escarpment is eroding at its weakest points at a rate of 1 metre every 1000 years. The Arnhem Land plateau is around 300 kilometres from north to south and goes inland for 200 kilometres or so, which means that it will be around for some time yet!

    For more information about Kakadu’s geology visit http://www.environment.gov.au/parks/kakadu/nature-science/geology.html

    Gary Scott, Kakadu National Park

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