Friday, June 11, 2010

Magpie Geese

The Magpie Goose, Anseranas semipalmata, is a waterbird species found in coastal northern Australia and savannah in southern New Guinea. It is a unique member of the order Anseriformes, and arranged in a family and genus distinct from all other living waterfowl. The Magpie Goose is a resident breeder in northern Australia and in southern New Guinea.
Magpie-geese are unmistakable birds with their black and white plumage and yellowish legs. The feet are only partially webbed, although the Magpie Goose will feed on vegetable matter in the water as well as on land. Males are larger than females. Unlike true geese, the moult is gradual, and there is no flightless period. The voice is a loud honking.
The Magpie Goose has a black neck and head, with a characteristic knob on the crown (larger in males), which increases in size with age. The underparts are white, with contrasting black edges on the underwing. The bill, legs and feet are orange. The Magpie Goose differs from most waterfowl in having strongly clawed toes that are webbed only on their basal halves (i.e. only partly webbed). Females are slightly smaller than males.

Where does it live?

The Magpie Goose is widespread throughout coastal northern and eastern Australia. It can be seen from Fitzroy River, Western Australia, through northern Australia to Rockhampton, Queensland, and has been extending its range into coastal New South Wales to the Clarence River and further south.
The Magpie Goose is seen in floodplains and wet grasslands. Some individuals, mostly younger birds, may be seen at quite long distances inland.

What does it do?

Large, noisy flocks of up to a few thousand birds congregate to feed on aquatic vegetation. The Magpie Goose is a specialized feeder with wild rice, Oryza, Paspalum, Panicum and spike-rush, Eleocharis, forming the bulk of its diet.
During the breeding season, Magpie Geese build nests in secluded places, usually close to wetlands. The nest is almost single-handedly constructed by the male. It usually consists of a simple unlined cup placed either in a floating platform of trampled reeds or built in tree-tops. Pairs of geese mate for life, but a male may have two females. Two females may occasionally use the same nest to lay the large, oval, off-white coloured eggs. All adults share incubation and care for the young.

Brahman Cattle at Double Lagoon Normanton

The Brahman breed originated from Bos indicus cattle originally brought from India. Through centuries of exposure to inadequate food supplies, insect pests, parasites, diseases and the weather extremes of tropical India, the native cattle developed some remarkable adaptations for survival. These are the "sacred cattle of India," and many of the Hindu faith will not eat meat from them, will not permit them to be slaughtered, and will not sell them. These facts, in conjunction with he quarantine regulations of the United States, have made it difficult to import cattle from India into this country.
All the Bos indicus cattle are characterized by a large hump over the top of the shoulder and neck. Spinal processes below the hump are extended, and there is considerable muscular tissue covering the processes. The other characteristics of these cattle are their horns, which usually curve upward and are sometimes tilted to the rear, their ears, which are generally large and pendulous, and the throatlatch and dewlap, which have a large amount of excess skin. They also have more highly developed sweat glands than European cattle (Bos taurus) and so can perspire more freely. Bos indicus cattle produce an oily secretion from the sebaceous glands which has a distinctive odor and is reported to assist in repelling insects.

Origin of the Breed

Some 30 well defined breeds of cattle have been listed in India. Three principal strains or varieties were brought to the United States and used in the development of the Brahman breed are the Guzerat, the Nellore, and Gir. In addition, the Krishna Valley strain was introduced and used to a lesser extent. The general similarity of the Guzert strain to the cattle selected and developed in this country would indicate that cattlemen working with the breed have generally preferred this type.

 Here at the muster, the weiners have been separated and are in the yards ready to be returned to the paddocks until the next muster

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Working at a Cattle Station at Normanton Queensland Australia

Working at a cattle Station

31 May 2010
Trip took 3 days..first night at Camilalla Beach, then 45 kms past Bowen and then Ravenshoe and here...2,012 kms distance traveled.
Was very exciting. Loved the trip and found the roads and weather excellent. The Toyota drove well..was wonderful trip.

Love the property. Its right next to a lagoon and very green and very beautiful. Will do photos next week. I can use the internet weekly so will prepare for it. Its a very beautiful part of the world, many birds and trees and beautiful colors. Love the people I am working for..Bill and Maxine and the team love my cooking. I shall never want to leave here I can see.

So far done nothing but cook. Today the muster started. It is done with a helicopter who finds the cattle and directs the team to collect them and take them to the fenced areas for all they do to them. Then it takes 5 days for this lot to be done, and then the helicopter comes for the next part. I will know more as I see it happening. I hope to be poking around the sheds with a camera and get some photos...want one of the cattle being led in, dust around, as they come towards the shed.

They killed a hige beast for meat, and I have mince and steaks and huge roasts to prepare. The guys will eat 2 Porterhouse a meal. I am amazed. I have never seen so much meat before. Last night I cooked  salted meat for lunch today. They make their own salt beef here and its delicious. Cooked in in a crock pot overnight.
Today I will make a huge roast fort tomorrows lunch, and have steaks for dinner when they return. They have taken a cut lunch...sandwiches, cake, scones and fruit. They eat very well here. I am sure I will be fat in 2 months with all this good cooking, and eating, I am doing here.

This is this weeks the muster has started, and soon the yards will be full of brahmin and motor bikes, and action.

1 June 2010

Yesterday the muster started. A helicopter locates the cattle, and then they are driven down to the house yards.
Today they will dip them and inject them after sorting them into weiners, calves, pregnant and fat. This property is a breeding property where they breed Brahmin cattle.
The property is one of a few properties. Others fatten for the overseas market. The meat from here goes overseas. It is of a very high quality. The meat that was killed for the kitchen has so far been a flap roast, salted meat and an irish stew, and the food is delicious as the quality of the meat, and vegetables here, is very high.
On the way at Milla Milla I saw a tea plantation and bought some local tea which has a wonderful flavor. The countryside between Innidfail and Ravenhoe is all very mountainous. That is where the tea grows. I also took photos of a Wind farm. Ravenshoe claims to be Australia's highest town.
It was scary driving up these steep inclines in the first and second gear. The views were spectacular but as the driver, I was more concerned with getting the van up the hill and over.

Today the team are giving the 600 cattle in the yard injections and the dip. They will work these cattle for about 5 days and then the helicopter will return for the next muster. I hope to get some aerial shots if I get lucky.