And the bush has friends to meet him, and their kindly voices greet him, In the murmur of the breezes and the river on its bars,
And he sees the vision splendid of the sunlit plains extended, And at night the wonderous glory of the everlasting stars.

Banjo Paterson (1889)

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Easter at Cue

Just back from another interesting birding trip to the Cue area in the Murchison region of Western Australia. Alas, no new bird species for me, but my wife did get 4 new lifers. A special tick for her was the Banded Whiteface, which was in it's usual arid haunt near Austin Downs station. We had arrived during the hot middle part of the day and were getting prepared to spend at least a couple hours looking for it over the barren stony plains, when suddenly two appeared less than 20 metres from the car! Excellent.

Our first night's camp at a Grey Honeyeater site near Paynes Find, but no Grey Honeyeaters were found. As you can see from the fly net, the bush flies were crazy out there!

Our typical camp setup. This one on Warne River near the Paynes Find - Sandstone road.

At Lake Austin we did find the Dunna-dunna, an unusual plant found growing at salt lakes only in this region.

A beautiful Pygmy Spiny-tailed Skink that came wandering into our campsite. A common lizard of these acacia woodlands, that uses it's spines to wedge itself in crevices against predators.

On our last night we had camped near Paynes Find again and were treated to lightening shows most of the night. Luckily most thunderstorms were to the north or south of our camp.

In the morning we woke, to find a massive storm bearing down directly on our camp!

We only just packed up in time and got out onto the main track, before a huge downpour flooded the whole area, turning the red soil into a boggy sticky mud.

The rain brought out wildlife, such as this female Red Kangaroo, to drink at roadside pools.

A wonderful trip, we did get over 70 species of birds, but still no Grey Honeyeater or Gilbert's Whistler! Looks like this area will need a springtime (September?) visit, maybe next year.

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