A Touch of Creativity from a Veteran Earthwatcher, Robert Bender
A Touch of Creativity from a Veteran Earthwatcher, Robert Bender
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A Touch of Creativity from a Veteran Earthwatcher, Robert Bender

Veteran Earthwatcher Robert Bender brought a touch of creativity out into the field while participating in the Freshwater Turtles of the Kimberley expedition earlier this year - his 18th Earthwatch expedition!


The short-necks have eye-streak that’s red,
And some have an extra-large head.
When the turtle’s well-fed
The streak looks like red-lead.
Reptiles ugly? Never let it be said!

Such a handsome gray turtle, none finer;
Of two species, he’s senior, not minor.
Lugged to camp in a bag,
His hind foot gets a tag;
To its pool then returns Chelodina.

Take the length and the width of its shell
It’s a turtling technique we learn well.
With calipers we
Quickly measure all three-
The carapace, plastron, and skull.

The immature turtles are cute,
So tiny’s each marginal scute;
With their baby webbed feet
Yawning stretches look sweet;
‘Bout their beauty there’s sure no dispute.

Along graded roads all corrugated
Though rusty old gates antiquated
We are heading towards
More lumpy grass swards
Which as sleep sites are very low-rated.

Wrens twitter, of day giving warning;
The lily pond smooth, early morning.
Something raises its head,
Ripple circles then spread;
Crescent moon overhead at the dawning.

Snorkeling fast-flowing Bell Creek,
Under pandanus curtains we peek.
There may be a croc
Or, lying prone on a rock,
There might be the turtles we seek.

Little turtles they duck and they weave
As we chase them and try to retrieve.
They dive into murk
Where to find them’s hard work
And their speed is just hard to believe!

From captivity turtles release
So their longing for water might cease;
They’ve been pierced upside down,
Turned around and around,
Now of freedom they get a new lease.

A Kimberley rose by the road
Was well into flowering mode;
Not a leaf on the tree
But, delightful to see,
Each branch with a pink floral load.

Our turtling is now at an end;
Snork’ling’s yielded a large dividend.
The last turtle’s been filed,
Final records compiled-
Now homeward to Melbourne we wend.

A stop to see Wandjina art
At Mowanjum Community mart.
Bodies yellow and white
Were filmed dancing at night;
Elders tell of their Wandjina heart.

Previous Article 226 Days, 5,424 Hours, and 18 Expeditions
Next Article An Extraordinary Passion: Student Challenger Kimi Pellosis


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