When Mandy Muir pointed out these Sarus cranes (Grus antigone) [top two photos] on the plains at Yellow Waters in Kakadu this time last year, I didn’t realise quite how lucky I was to see and photograph them in our part of the Deep North. Professor Stephen Garnett from Charles Darwin University tells me that this was the first time they had been noted in the Top End. Only three birds were seen and they have since departed. Sarus cranes have been sighted in years past down near Borroloola and reported once from the Ord River in Western Australia. Their stronghold is North Queensland and the Gulf Country. Amazingly, they are believed to have been present in Australia for perhaps 10,000 years but were only first recorded officially in 1968. Since they were first noticed their numbers seems to have been growing and it’s believed there are around 5,000 birds now. They benefit from some kinds of farming but other crops like sugar cane are bad news for them. Habitat loss in Thailand and the Phillipines has seen the sub-species in both places become extinct. A population of about 700 is being studied in northern Cambodia. This population is regarded as “steady” but nevertheless vulnerable to threats from changes in land use. India has been paying special attention to their Sarus crane population and Professor Garnett reports that there are about 10,000 birds doing quite well there. Superficially, the Sarus looks like the more common and widespread Brolga (Grus rubicundus) [bottom photograph] but on closer inspection there is plenty to distinguish between them. Brolgas have dark legs and Sarus crane legs are pinkish to reddish. The Sarus has more red on its head and neck, with the red extending down the neck a little. A size difference is also noticeable amongst adults, as the Sarus is about 10% bigger than the Brolga. The Sarus has a lighter beak to that of the Brolga. Given the fate of the Sarus in Thailand and the Phillippines, we need to pay more attention to make sure we don’t overlook these cranes again…as settler society did in Australia until 1968.

In a great spreading Albizia tree beside the bike path at Rapid Creek a pair of tawny frogmouths (Podargus strigoides) have been joined by a new family member. The youngster is still a fluffy, mottled grey ball of down but is big enough to leave the nest, such as it is, and sit well camouflaged in the leaves above mum. Dad was still nearby, trying to catch some last shut-eye before sundown and work-time. The frogmouths hunt like kookaburras, sitting watchfully on a post or branch and then gliding silently down to take their prey with their BIG beaks. Their voice is usually a resonant, pulsing “oom, oom, oom, oom” — mostly — but they do have a variety of other calls.

Today another painting by Jack Green, artist and activist from Borroloola in the Gulf Country of Australia’s Northern Territory. Jack explains the message:
Jacky Green 2012, Private Collection
These are the four clan or language groups around Borroloola. On the left in white and black at the top are the Yanyuwa. To the right of them are the Mara. Underneath in yellow and black are Gudanji, with Garawa on the right in black and white. While we are four different groups we are all related through ceremony, culture, land and marriage. The circle represents the ceremony that ties us together. The boat in the centre represents a prau that the Macassans used to sail from Indonesia to the Gulf of Carpentaria. My great-grandfather saw one of these and he went and painted it on his country at a cave at Spring Creek. The Macassans are part of our history; they came long before white people. We traded with them.
In the box at the top of the painting are three groups of people. On the left are Aboriginal people wondering what’s going on. In the middle are pastoralists. On the right are government people. This represents us as separate groups, not working together. On the right are four boxes. At the top is a government man. The man with white hair represents the boss of the mine, not caring about what happens to our country. Below him are miners. At the bottom are two miners standing in front of some rock art. They don’t care about the rock art or our sacred sites. They go looking for them,
taking pictures, or they ignore them when the mines go in.

People of the Nightcliff promenade # 2: If swing’s your thing, you should be down near the Nightcliff jetty every Sunday from around 4.30 to 6pm. And if you’re not sure just what do with your feet trust your host Quito Washington to show you how it goes. Quito’s there for the love of swing and hanging with cool humans. He came to Darwin on the wings of love back in 2000 — brought from his native San Diego by an Australian bride. The Sunday sessions go all dry season and attract 40/50 folk of all ages. Things hot up on Wednesday nights at the Darwin Railway Sports and Social Club with more music from swingtime. Every second Wednesday you get the sounds of the Hot and Cold Big Band live and on the other week you get Quito spinning the discs. “Every now and then (more now than then) I catch myself when I realise I am living one of my dreams by being the DJ at a swing nightclub — picking the music, spinning it up, and seeing the response of the crowd … I’m like ‘this is awesome personified!’” Quito and a friend kicked Swing Dance NT off in 2009 and its been off the chain ever since because “it don’t mean a thing, if it ain’t got swing”.


A Swedish woman hitting a neo-Nazi protester with her handbag. The woman was reportedly a concentration camp survivor. [1985]

Volunteers learn how to fight fires at Pearl Harbor [c. 1941 – 1945]

A 106-year old Armenian woman protecting her home with an AK-47. [1990]

Komako Kimura, a prominent Japanese suffragist at a march in New York. [October 23, 1917]

Erika, a 15-year-old Hungarian fighter who fought for freedom against the Soviet Union. [October 1956]

Sarla Thakral, 21 years old, the first Indian woman to earn a pilot license. [1936]

Voting activist Annie Lumpkins at the Little Rock city jail. [1961]  

(freakin’ immaculate)

Source with more wonderful photos