The river has come up with a handy flush after the rain.
The Boss reckons it’s the first “natural” environmental flow we’ve had for several years and it livens everything up in a different way.
The water is dirtier, for one thing: that’s all the run-off, he says, from the smaller rivers and creeks higher up – the Acheron, the Rubicon and Yea Rivers, a bunch of creeks like the King Parrot, the Sunday, the Pranjip and the Castle.
That brings in a lot of tucker for the fish, shrimp and other critters – the black duck have arrived in numbers, the mountain duck are back and the azure kingfishers are hunting low along the river.
So The Boss was in for a longer walk the other day and that’s always pretty exciting; there’s new stuff to smell in the bush we’ve avoided all summer and you can check out all the tree-falls and traces of camps and campfires, not to mention the odd hare bones a fox has left behind.
What got us really going though was a biggish mob of kangaroos – I must have been distracted by a fascinating scent myself but Queenie followed this big buck who split off from the mob and headed back the way we’d come.
She tore off after it, never expecting anything other than a scent trail, when it pulled up, turned around and stood up on his hind legs. I must have heard The Boss yelling at her to stay back because he was raising his voice – the big ‘roo was facing off in boxing style and having a jab at her.
I figure she must have backed off because The Boss went on walking so I picked up the scent myself and went after this bloke. I mean, what’s a buck kangaroo against The General?
Well, it’s a surprise, first of all. He didn’t run away as I approached, as he is supposed to do, so that was disconcerting but I barked my deepest bark and sounded fearsome… and he didn’t budge.
In fact, he was bouncing around a bit like he wanted a fight.
Well, I was into it, as you would expect of me, and took a lunge or two to scare him, when all of a sudden he lashed out with a back leg and tore a lump of fur out of my neck.
That was another surprise. I mean, he was quick. And those claws are sharp. Take a look:
But I had my pride, of course, and I could hear The Boss yelling at me to get away but I couldn’t really do that and hold my head high, could I?
Then again, it was occurring to me that there wasn’t much I could do with this feller if he wasn’t going to run away from my fearsome growl and menacing countenance. He was three times my height, after all.
I was barking for reinforcements by this time, while trying to maintain some dignity.
Fortunately Queenie, who is a troublesome mother most of the time, feels the need to keep protecting me so she bounded back in my direction, accompanied by the Golden Leave-it-There, who wafts through the bush, tail floating in the breeze like he’s modelling for Yves Saint Laurent.
Like, he doesn’t know what’s going on but he bounces along behind Queenie like a fluffy apparition and it scares the living daylights out of the big buck. It’s like he’s seen a ghost and he turns tail and heads down the bank towards the river.
I’m straight after him – albeit at a respectful distance – and we all end up in the river, which is moving at quite a clip after the rain. It gives us the chance to bade farewell to the ‘roo without losing too much face.
The Boss said we were lucky there was such a strong flow – or the ‘roo might have stood in the river and drowned one or two of us.
I don’t believe he would have done that for a second.
Maybe half a second. Woof!
Of course, if The Boss was doing his job properly he would have dispatched the big buck like this bloke did: