There’s so much happening in the park right now we hardly know where to begin! Once again we’re approaching the hot dry weather season of Gurrung - a tough time for many animals as it’s hot and water is scarce. Cracks appear in the dried up floodplains, creating homes for lizards, small mammals, and almangiyi (long neck turtles). Almangiyi bury themselves in the mud to sleep and wait for the rain to come though Bininj find them by looking out for their breathing holes pushed up in the mud.
As the waters recede it’s the best time for Bininj to hunt nawandak (file snakes) amongst the freshwater mangrove roots. In the mud freshwater shellfish can be found, cooked on the coals and eaten. Delicious!
Waterbirds come together in the remaining waterholes such as Mamukala Wetlands. The magpie geese look grubby at this time of year - their feathers are stained from the thick mud around drying waterholes as they dig deep searching for the edible roots and tubers they love to eat.
The South Alligator River catchment of Kakadu has become the best habitat for magpie geese in northern Australia and this important refuge helps magpie geese to survive this challenging season. Competition is high.
The kapok bush can be seen everywhere at this time of year, with bright yellow flowers perched on bare sticks. The kapok bears fruit which starts off green and oblong. When it appears you know that the freshwater crocodiles and turtles have laid their eggs – and when the fruit pods crack open naturally it means the freshwater crocs and turtles have hatched!
Tracey, Kakadu National Park
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Kakadu in Gurung
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