Day 3: daily decathlon commences

platypus viewing pool, Platypus Bushcamp.

platypus viewing pool, Platypus Bushcamp.

Day 3: the decathlon commences: Event 1: Try to get as much sleep as possible on a constantly-deflating thermarest.  This is not as bad as it sounds if you approach it with vey low expectations of comfort, from there, the rest is as simple as periodic re-inflations through the night…. bliss.  Event 2: Wake, get up before the birds do, and savour a cup of tea or coffee in the pre-dawn glow. Event 3: Cycle to the trail head of the Finch-hatton Gorge track (1.5 km) (as this is a decathlon, the trick is not to go out hard too early… there is nothing like a slightly-longer-than-expected climb to humble the rashly-enthusastic player). Event 4:  Dismount, and continue on foot to the study site, (on this day only 400m above sea level) a bracing 30 minute walk up the hill through thick scrub. Altitude change: 300m.  Event 5: observe, identify and count all birds encountered during a 30-minute 150-metre transect, mostly from their calls (as this is a team event, some players also occupy themselves by collecting and counting fallen fruit on the forest floor for a frugivore resources study), repeat four times… 

Event 6…  Return to the bicycles,  and then back to Platypus bushcamp at pace (downhill). Event 7: prepare and enjoy a much needed and very late breakfast is as little time as possible. Event 8:  (aquatic event) Plunge into limpid rainforest pool and float around listening to the Lewins Honeyeaters and watching White-rumped Swiftlets wheel overhead.  Event 9:  Powernap (may be combined with picnic lunch by platypus viewing area).  Event 10:   Prepare and enjoy a large and much needed meal, suitably protein and carb-rich to fortify the body for tomorrows decathlon…  repeat until data are sufficient.

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