This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.


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2007 Travels July 17

TUESDAY 17 JULY     MORNINGTON WILDERNESS CAMP

We had a less active day today.

M and I did washing. John tried to fix the lantern – took it apart, put it back together again – but it still was not working much at all. I wrote some cards to grandchildren, and a letter to son about his possibly joining us up in these parts, at some stage.

We spent some time watching the nearby bowerbird constructing his bower, and practising his dancing near it. John was inspired to try to use the video function on the big camera, to record some of the bird’s antics.

He is in there!

I went for a wander along the lovely little Annie Creek, near our camp, taking photos.

Reflections in Annie Creek

I tried to phone Charnley Station, to book us in there, but could not raise them.

Our rowdy neighbours departed this morning, so their stay had been brief. If they visited Sir John Gorge at all, yesterday, it must have been before we got there, as we hadn’t seen them at all. A quick rush-about stay?

Old Strangler Fig tree by Annie Creek

I was so pleased that we had made the effort to come down here. It was quite different to other parts of the Kimberley that we had previously visited. I had wanted to visit here since  I first read that a campground had been set up. It was just unfortunate that our 2000 planned trip from here across the now-closed Tableland Track, did not happen. It was now one of those forever-lost opportunities.


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2007 Travels July 1

SUNDAY 1 JULY     KUNUNURRA

After the usual morning getting-going routines, we drove out to Lake Argyle Resort.

Lake Argyle – only the very small northern end

There is only the one road out to there, leaving the highway back east of Kununurra, almost to the NT border. The day was much nicer than when we’d passed this way over a week ago!

The drive out to the resort, dam wall and surrounds was well worth doing, just for the scenery along the road.

Out there, we did a little walking – to a couple of lookout areas.

Dam wall and one of the lookouts

At one of them, we were distracted from the views by a noisy group of red tailed black cockatoos, feeding in the trees, quite close to us.

From one of the lookouts, we could see down over the Ord River, to where we had cruised up yesterday.

Ord River – a section we’d travelled on yesterday

Drove across the dam wall to the far side, parked near the boat landing, and wandered around for a bit longer than we’d had time to do, yesterday.

Ord River Dam wall – such a small structure to hold back so much water

It really is such a small dam to hold back such an enormous volume of water! What struck me as noteworthy was that Patrick Durack was suggesting damming the Ord, decades before it happened.

John wanted us to have a fish and chip lunch at the Argyle Tavern, where they served the silver cobbler fish. As we’d previously discovered, this was the more palatable – marketable – name for the catfish caught in the Lake!

I was feeling a bit off colour before lunch, and was even more so after the meal, which was very greasy and tasted like the cooking oil was rank. It was a pity, because we’d talked this up to M, and because we had really enjoyed previous meals  of this fish, even buying some for the van freezer. Not this time!

On the way back, stopped at the Stonewall Creek crossing and wandered about there for a little while. It was just being an ordinary creek, without a great deal of water. It was hard to describe to M what it was like when raging with overflow waters.

Our other destination on the return trip, was Mirima National Park, close to town. This is only small, but contains unusual rock formations and  great short walks through them. The rocks are the banded sandstone formations similar to the Bungles – and like Keep River.

We walked through the valley between the rock formations and up to a lookout over Kununurra and its surrounding farmed plains.

One of the rock formations here has a name that both amused and fascinated me, the first time ever we came here – translated from the indigenous as  Head Lice Dreaming. I love it.

Head Lice Dreaming

Came across a bower belonging to a Great Bower Bird. It was always interesting to see which types of items individual male birds collect to decorate their bowers. This one had found some pale green glass – it looked like he was still experimenting with this.  Presumably he had also brought the plastic drink can insert, to try out?

I went to bed very early, feeling very flu-ey. I couldn’t work out how much was due to the awful lunch, and how much was some illness.

John had to cook his own tea. I think it finished up being baked beans from a tin!


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2005 Travels July 21

THURSDAY 21 JULY     PUNGALINA

This was not a day off for us, but we went out to the wetlands for a while, in the afternoon, to do the monthly bird survey there, while we still had the time. I kind of consider this to be within the scope of our work, rather than leisure. Who knows what we might find, that would bring bird watchers flocking?

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Courtship bower of Great Bower Bird

The lake had shrunk quite noticeably – what was a wide area of mud was now dry, powdery dust.

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Shrinking wet lands

 

 

 


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2003 Travels June 15

SUNDAY 15 JUNE     ADELS GROVE

I was on reception again.

In the time before my late starts on such days, and on afternoons when we knock off at 5 or 5.30pm, it was just so pleasant, relaxing out the front of the van, in the Grove. It was such a green area, because of the thick canopy, and things growing in every direction one looked. The thickness of the canopy meant that little grew beneath it, so the ground was covered in leaf litter, rather than scrub or weeds.

I loved the bird life. There was always something to watch, and be entertained by.

The great bowerbirds bounced around our camp area – they were so amusingly ungainly, and always looking for food to steal. The white gaped honey eaters were bold, and would fly right into the main kitchen, through the servery hatch, looking for food.

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White-gaped Honeyeater

There were regular territorial battles, by our van, between willy wagtails and white browed robins. We regularly heard the raucous calls of the blue winged kookaburra.

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White-browed Robin

The pair of barking owls that lived around the Grove could be quite loud with their little dog yapping noises. Sometimes, we would yap and one would answer us!

One day, I’d had a camper come up, while I was on reception. She was very cross because, when I’d booked her in the previous day, I’d told her there were no generators or dogs allowed down in the Grove camp area. She had thought it would thus be lovely and peaceful. Now, she insisted to me that she’d been kept awake for hours the previous night, by a camper’s dog barking nearby. She was quite aggrieved.

I asked her if it sounded like little dogs, yapping. She answered yes. I told her the noise would have been our barking owls. Then she got really angry because she thought I was joking, at her expense, and she scoffed at the idea of owls that bark. I had to get the bird book out from under the counter – very grateful for it being there – and show her the entry, before she would – grudgingly – accept that the sound in the night was from birds.

There was always something entertaining, here!

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Great Bowerbird and his bower


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1998 Travels October 9

FRIDAY 9 OCTOBER     MOUNT SURPRISE

We had to be up much earlier than usual for our trip out to O’Briens Creek. This “official”  topaz fossicking area is about 40kms to the NW of Mt Surprise, along a reasonable gravel road.

We had arranged for a lesson on fossicking for topaz, from Sam, at Elsie’s Place, on the fields.  He does the instructing on her leasehold. We had to be there by 8.30am. Starting at this hour made sense on a hot day. The lesson cost $10 each. We had no trouble finding the place, following the instructions given at the PO yesterday, by the lady who booked for us.

The fossicking is easy enough – just dig up the gravelly dirt, sieve it, and look. The hard part is figuring out where to dig, when you are on your own! Sam is an interesting old guy. He and John got on really well. After he had showed us the basics – and we had found a few little pieces – he showed us where he is currently digging at Tourmaline Gully, up O’Briens Creek. We had to drive there, following him, but it was not far. Glad he showed us though, as the area is rather a maze of tracks.

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Sam and Wendy digging for topaz at Tourmaline Gully

We finished with him about midday – by which time it was pretty hot.

On the way back, we called in at Diggers Rest, the main establishment out there. They hire out digging equipment and sell topaz. The owner has sold up and is going back to Cairns. He lent us a sieve. He has lots of fairly tame birds at the place, which is a bit of an oasis. He showed us the bower of a bowerbird that lives in the garden – most intricate and attractive, with an entry “pathway” of white stones. Apparently, every so often the bird finds some topaz and puts it there, so the owner exchanges that for a different white stone! We noted that there were oddments of other coloured things, discarded beside the bower. Some trial and error perhaps? There were also apostle birds around, out there.

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The bower of the Great Bower Bird at Diggers Rest

Back in the township, we bought a fossicker’s  licence, for $7.50 a month, for both of us. That will allow us to go looking for topaz, on our own, out there.

Fuelled up Truck – 76cpl. The price is dearer inland!

We went for a lovely long swim.

There were several people from the Savannahlander train, now on its return journey to Cairns, overnighting here, in the new cabins. They went over to the hotel for a counter tea. This is the first time this has happened – people usually stay at the hotel – and we hope this is the start of some extra business for Jo and Joe, whose enterprise we admire. I think the Savannahlander would be an interesting little trip for people to do; it certainly covers a range of dramatic country.

Tea was sweet and sour fish. I used a recipe for sweet and sour chicken to get the sauce and it was excellent.