The Mardam (whisling kite) have a feeding frenzy, and nesting in my yard, I have the djenj they catch in the nearby billabong raining down as mardam drop them half eaten. I awake to a mardam eating a large garlerrk outside the window and wish I had got to my camera in time. Missing camera moments has been a common situation for me.
Areas of country in Gunbalanya are fenced off for bullocky which the community have kept breeding since Cahill’s time. There is an abbatoir and the meat is sold at the store. There is alot of kunngobahn (pandanas) growing in the paddocks and so many times I have taken daluk there for harvests. They do not trust the bullocky calling them cheeky (dangerous) especially if their horns look long and will not get out of the truck near them. The other night after a big day driving with kakkak to bars in kakadu resorts, Jabiru town camp and an outstation called Mudginberri between Gunbalanya and Jabiru, we encountered a Buffalo near Cahill’s crossing. It wasn’t tall but it was round and well fed. It appeared like a giant pig with buffalo horns. This trip was hilarious, so many different bininj coming for trips in the truck and we ended up with a couple of huge freshly caught djenj too.
On another trip to Darwin to pick up the manager and shop for Injalak supplies (boy, what alot of tea and sugar!!) I spotted a Jabiru eating what looked like a snake, but I was told probably an eel. The bininj who paint at Injalak went hunting the other day and got a wallaby, I wish I had been there, they cooked it on the spot. While collecting kunngobahn, daluk often find manme (vege foods) and we have had green plums, and black plums. After I made a particularly good manmali (hook stick) from a paperbark tree all on my own to replace one that we lost off the roof on the bumpy road to the springs (another sacred place), The daluk began making a kuku (pipe) from the wood scraps. It looked like a chillum (Indian pipe). We often collect colours for dye as well, the mandjurndum (yellow root), wirdihl wirdihl (brown bulb) and leaves of a bush no-one knew the name of to make black. Ash is added to the yellow to make orange and green is made from boiling kunngobahn leaves.
I love taking daluk out on country and they love it too. We are always wary of nayin (snakes) and bang the ground. A small brown went under the car once as I sat in it and another reared up at us on the road. One night after the club taking bininj and daluk home, I was given a large cooked egg to eat on the spot, It was really yummy and turned out to be wilark (the egg of the magpie goose). This is the dreaming for Arguluk Hill.