Sunday, 31 January 2010

Where's Barry?

The first thing I notice upon returning to my blog is that the t-shirt I'm wearing in the masthead photo is very very blue. I had a fit of housewife brilliance the other week and decided the only way to get the brown dirt and green eucalyptus stains out of said shirt was to soak it in bleach. I promptly forgot about it and - hey presto! - I found myself with one pale lilac shirt, with glimmers of blue here and there. Sort of a batik effect. And wouldnt' you know it, the stains did not shift at all. Now, if anything, they're just more prominent because the shirt is now lighter.

But enough about me!

I worked the morning shift today and was allocated to yard 10 where I've been for the last few Sundays.

Peering into Westhaven Barry's yard, it's a case of "Where's Barry?". He's not on the gunyah that I can see, nor up his little tree, nor scurrying about the yard. Often when you can't see them, they're parked directly behind the gate, a bit like a small furry footman. But not this time. I ventured into the yard to inspect the gunayh in case he's tucked into (or, tucking into, more like) a spray of leaf.

Then I look up. Barry's ornamenting the centre of his umbrella. It's the perfect tree, with equally spaced branches that make it easy to climb and wedge yourself in.

Westhaven Barry

Here's the video:

So Matt didn't get fed his nutritional formula today, since he couldn't be asked to come down. And I did ask him. Over and over. I reckon that observing the yard volunteers at the Koala Hospital mustn't be that dissimilar to watching patients ouside a mental health facility: we potter around our yards, picking up twigs and poop and nattering away to our allocated koala - a long involved albeit very one-sided conversation. Like watching someone you think might have 'a few kangaroos loose in the top paddock', only to realise that they're chattering away on a bluetooth headset.

Then there's young Kennedy Tristan. I remember the day he came in. It was November and he'd been hit by not one but two cars. He looked awful, with blood coming from his eyes.

Kennedy Tristan

But he made a rapid recovery and has been under observation in yard 10 for several weeks now. He has his own tree so that he maintains his climbing strength. He doesn't come down all that often, so he generally misses out on his formula. Today, though, he came down and was looking about himself rather insistently.

I made up some formula and went into his yard. And the chase was on! He scampered down from the gunyah and ran around the yard after me. I genuinely feared that if I slowed down, he might try to climb me. Finally, he jumped back onto his tree and I started drawing some formula up into the syringe. Apparently, I wasn't fast enough, however, as Tristan started hooting the traditional male bellow. It was remarkable seeing him do it up close. I managed to catch the tail end of it on video. It always sounds disembodied, like it's coming from somewhere else.

Then when I came to feeding him, he was soooo pushy. I couldn't get it in him fast enough; half of it ended up on his chin and shoulder:

Kennedy Tristan

After he finished, he took off up the tree again, leaving me feeling, well, a little used actually :)

Inside the hospital there was a bit of action going on. The supervisor was in, as well as some of the teamleader heavyweights, which is unusual for a Sunday. It turns out that they were off to Point Plomer where there have been bushfires this last week. Today was the first time wildlife rescuers were allowed onto the fireground, so Cheyne, Amanda, Judy and Peter were rigging themselves up in fireproof overalls and heading out there.

Barb was in to grab some leaf for her two homecare joeys. She's been rearing little orphaned Jimmy Barnes, who is only about 9 months old (ie three months out of the pouch). Settlement Point Bea has also been home with Barb these least two weeks as she'd been losing weight.

I asked Barb if she ever puts the two joeys together. Usually, she said, Bea was out in her own aviary, but owning to the hot weather she had brought her inside a few times and put her in front of the fan. Bea is about 2 years old now, and unlike other juvenile koalas of her age, she is happy to sit in a towel-lined basket with her front hands over the lip of the basket Kilroy-was-here style, just staring at Barb. This points to how NOT like a 'normal' koala she is. We suspect brain damage owing to her fall to the oyster rocks, which is what brought her into us in the first place.

Barb said when she put Jimmy in with Bea, he started 'eee'ing and squealing. He didn't like it. Barb reckons it's just that Jimmy's not interested in any older-lady cougar koalas!

Click here to view more of today's koala hospital snaps.