22 July 2012

Confined to Barracks – or not!

Wednesday – What a difference a few hours of sunshine makes! The morning was bright and clear and we were spurred on to complete more of the painting tasks whilst it was dry enough to do so.  An afternoon short trip in the Kubota was a chance to check out the track to the tip flats and we espied a family of red roos in the open grasslands below the ridge.

Having checked the track earlier in the day, Mr R. decided it was a perfect evening to do some night driving.  So getting fully rugged up against the cold we headed back out to the flats eager to spot some night life.   The stars were amazing – not a cloud in the sky and the Milky Way was so very clear you could feel as though you could touch the stars!

Unfortunately, no owls or dingoes to be seen, but we did come across a small macropod on the track.  Mr R. snapped away whilst Mrs R. held the torch.  Great there should be some fantastic photos to identify the little guy when we get back.  Just check the camera and show me.  Oh, oh – they are not nice words Mr R.  What goes?  Dare I tell – the flash was facing the top of the vehicle and not the little animal on the track! Result – well no result really – just a black screen.  Mrs R. got one shot in but non-identifiable!    It was a very stressed driver all the way back to the homestead!

Thursday – Not a happy day at all!   

Mrs R.’s turn to have a dummy-spit this morning – woken by the sounds of heavy rain once again she was not impressed! 

Today the rangers, Matt and David, trekked up from Clermont to check the possibility of a ‘controlled burn’ for next week.  Obviously that was going to be a ‘no-go’ after this lot of rain!

Mr R. was not happy as the ride-on was taken away to be fixed – in Emerald and would not be returned before we leave, so the mowing won’t get done.

Even the birds stayed quiet today!

Friday – A day of release

After the dummy-spit yesterday all were delighted to see the sun shining, even though there was a bitterly cold wind blowing from the south.  A morning of painting and an afternoon of trekking.  We ventured out in the K. down the highway to Kapunda to check the rain gauge.  Not as much rain in the southern end of the park as at the homestead – only 54mm in four weeks – homestead had 64 in 6 days!

The wattle is absolutely stunning in that part of the park – even Mr R. could smell it!  Strong scents of honey and yellow carpets everywhere.  It was lovely to get out again. Won’t last long though as the dark rain clouds started to move in from the east again.

Sunday - After the Rain

At last the rain has stopped and we are able to once again trek around the park in the Kubota.  Some tracks were still a little boggy and impassable until today (Sunday) so it was with a little trepidation that we ventured out for a day of ‘sight-seeing’. Armed with cameras, binos, bird book, and video camera, and dressed accordingly, that is warm jacket, walking boots, and hat, we started out along the fire-break track to seek the entrance to Saltwater and Piccadilly dams. 

The fire-break was firm under wheel and we crossed the highway (after looking left and right of course) to trek into Saltwater first.  An amazing number of birds this time including a white-necked heron, great egret, black winged stilt, jacanas, grebes, darters, Pacific black ducks, and native ibis.  There was also evidence of pig activity around the dam, and a number of Dingo tracks on the dam wall.

Our venture into Piccadilly dam area was our first on this visit.  Very little bird life but Mr R. managed to snag a fantastic photo of a Whistler Kite in flight above us.  There were a few boggy spots along the track but the intrepid ‘Bota driver managed to get us thru with no problems.  We enjoyed morning tea in a relatively sheltered area near the dam before heading back out to the highway to investigate another track we had spied along the fire-break. 

Having once again crossed the highway, after waving to a few truckies and grey nomads, we found the track we had spied earlier.  To our disappointment it was actually the original track entrance to the homestead and we ended up on the main track to the house.

Undeterred and not yet willing to return to the house (who would after being confined to barracks for so long), we headed out to the Mistake Creek track – our favourite track.  This track had been very, very boggy after the last down pour and had been impassable for over a week.  Stopping at 3 mile creek we had lunch and contemplated the possibility of continuing onto  MC as the cattle had really churned up the track ahead and we couldn’t be sure it was dry enough to trek along.  But Mr R. said “What the hell – plenty of winch points if needed – let’s go for it”.  

So for the first time in 10 days we arrived at the Creek (only a few boggy waterholes to navigate!). Pig feed was, of course, all gone and we had three very large claw in our net. The Creek has risen a good 2 metres after the rain and looked as though it had been even higher than that last week.

So the sun is shining again and the tracks are drying out.  We have just five days left at Nairana and if the sun continues to shine upon us we shall be out and about the park every day – heading for the northern end on Monday in hopes to find the lagoons in that area, which according to the ranger is where we will find most of the waterbirds this time.

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