We lost another flying day today, this time to a stream of mid-level cloud that meandered over southern Australia, seemingly determined to frustrate soaring at Benalla. It was forecast to retreat to the north, but was clearly in no hurry to do so. At times we could see clear skies both to the south and to the north, but for hours we were stuck near the middle of this east-west band, with no sun on the ground to create usable thermals.
18-Meter and Open classes had their tasks cancelled around 2:00, when it became obvious that all optimistic views of the weather development were fantasy. The 15-Meter class (which has had only 4 valid tasks thus far) hung on grimly. But it was not to be, and this class’ task was scrubbed around 3:00. By late afternoon, the sun was visible at Benalla – too late for a task.
I haven’t had time to do the birdwatching that this area demands – I’ve had to settle for what can be seen casually (quite good by the standards of most gliding sites). I’m called out of bed each morning, reliably around 7:15, by one of three different species: kookaburras (crazy; impossible to ignore), magpies (an interesting sort of warbling yodel) and sulfur-crested cockatoos (an elegant bird whose call is remarkably harsh and disagreeable). We see galahs (aka rose-breasted cockatoos) every day, often taking dust baths at the airfield. Rosellas (colorful Australian parrots) of multiple kinds can occasionally be seen. Soaring birds are not especially common, but I did spot a couple of wedge-tailed eagles (not especially rare, but always notable).
More translations from American English to Australian:
Raisins – sultanas
Pickup truck – ute (as in: utility vehicle)
Candies – lollies
Field – paddock
Asphalt – bitumen
AC (short form of air conditioning) – air con
Buddy – mate
Downtown – CBD (central business district)
Soccer – footy
Football (American rules) – gridiron
Clothespin – peg
Trash – rubbish
Shopping cart – trolley