Yesterday we visited the Litchfield National
Park, where we swam at a couple of beautiful waterfalls and also saw the
remarkable magnetic termite mounds. The magnetic termite mounds are so
named, not because they are actually magnetic, but because they are built by
blind termites and yet they are all aligned with magnetic north, to within
1 degree of error.
Our guide discussed the aboriginal way of
maintaining the land by controlled brush fires, how this has been going on for
tens of thousands of years and that land and the indigenous species have come to
depend on it. Attempts to stop the firing have been damaging to the
environment and now the park authorities carry on the traditions
of controlled firing. He showed us how kites gather around the
fires waiting for animals to be flushed out. Apparently kites have been
seen carrying burning embers to a new site to start a fire that will flush
out fresh prey.