Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Lake Cargelligo Day 2

Honeyeater of the day: Hard to get a nominee!  Noisy Friarbird at Hillston wins out.
Other bird of the day:  Red-necked Avocet a strong contender as was Black Falcon.  But I cannot go past Crimson Chat (3rd sighting ever and V spiffy).
Plant of the day:  Drifts of white daisies.
Icon of Spring  Copulating Nankeen Kestrels.
Icon of the Wild West:  Many contenders.  Droving cattle a very strong player, as were feral kelpies in a cage on a dust-covered ute.  However I rated the old windmill as the winner.

The day started with a walk past Frog Hollow where many people camp.  Some of these vans are the size of an inner city penthouse!

At the end of the Hollow was an ochre pit with a long history.  It looked as though it was stull in use.
At some point in the process Frances found - through discussions in the Camp Kitchen - that several of our fellow campers were from the Illawarra Bird Club and another was from Grafton: quite a bit of money going in to the community through birding!

The serious business started at the settlement ponds of the Waste Water Treatment Ponds (aka the poo pits).  It isn't possible to drive round now but the walk is easy and pet friendly so in we went.
 The birds were tremendous.   The most exciting of this grouping were the Red-necked Avocets, which are very uncommon around Canberra.  The ducks are Australasian Shovelers, Pacific Black Ducks, Grey Teal and Hardhead.
One of the Avocets.
There were also a bunch of Black-winged Stilts.
I always get a buzz when I come across a Cockatiel.  There were several pairs of them, investigating the hollows in some old dead trees out in the middle of the ponds.
Red-rumped Parrots were similarly engaged but they are bog common in Carwoola so not so exciting.    Another frequent bird around Carwoola is the Nankeen Kestrel.  This is a  female,
  ..... who became noisy when visited by the male just after I put the camera away.  Very much a matter of Wham, Bam, Thank-you-Ma'am.  This was not just misogyny on the part of the male but also a need  to assault a Black Falcon which flew by.

After racking up 41 species at the site we took ourselves off to Chat Alley.  The directions given on the Visitors Centre Bird routes site were excellent.  However I was expecting an expanse of saltbush stretching to the horizon, not about 50m of the odd bush surrounded by canola.
Whatever: I soon found some White Fronted Chats and while Frances was looking at them commented on the red birds a few metres further up the road.   Whoo and also hoooo!  Crimson Chats - my "Love to see one" bird of the trip.  I was even happier to see 5: well done that Frances!

There were swathes of daisies beside the road.
This was a different sort of daisy seen near The Sheet of Water.  (Things have got a tad out of sequence in order to be thematic - sorry about that.)
This is a swathe of the latter.
The theme of this section is Icons of the Wild West.  This veteran windmill was an early contender, especially with the deserted homestead in the background.
A sign in a shop window in Hillston.  I hope they have copywrighted the slogan "You snuff em, we'll stuff em."
Aw, ain't they cute.

A couple of kelpies in the back of a ute in Hillston.  They seemed to think the town was their territory and objected violently to Tammy's presence in the area.  In typical terrier fashion she responded that she was quite happy to meet at a time and place of their choosing.

The clean colours of this building and the sky behind reminded me of a Jeffrey Smart painting.  
Quite a bit of the rest of the town seemed to be somewhat faded.  It would once have had a cross roads function between Griffith and Cobar (NS) and Parkes and Ivanhoe (EW) but I suspect neither of those routes is sufficiently well travelled to sustain a moderate  - by NSW standards - sized town.

I also think they need to do a bit of work on client satisfaction fulfillment: I went to the bakery to buy a steak and kidney pie and although they had a heap of pies evident I was simply told the only hot one was a pork pie.  That is sort of reasonable as it was after core lunchtime, but someone who wanted to sell a pie could have used the words "Would you like us to microwave one for you?"  I ended up getting a footy match standard mass produced pie from the shop across the road, so the local economy got a bit of action but not the amount they would have for the artisanal offal item I was after.

They had a War Memorial in a well kept park.
A memorial to the towns vintage  - a tad over 150 years since founding.  I doubt they will make a bicentennial.
An excellent mural of one of the founding families: an accompanying plaque named the people.
We took an interesting pedestrian bridge across the mighty Lachlan (in width the size of a creek on the Eastern side of the Divide or the second biggest river in South Australia) to Desatholon Park.  They had a few amusing scul;ptures lurking in the canola which had invaded the place ....
.. and some very impressive River Red Gums Eucalyptus camaldulensis with many hollows to form nest sites.
On the way back towards Lake Cargelligo I was impressed with this rocky reef.  As the rocks were very red I suspect iron could be evident in the miineralisation.  I didn't spot anyone from the Rhinehart family nearby however (and it is hard to overlook them).
Getting back towards chronology, we headed out the far side of town to The Sheet of Waters, taking the more interesting route from the airport. It was described as a 'dry weather road' and judging by the mud holes we drove around, this is a fair bit of language.  Looking at the ruts in the mudholes some people had difficulty with the word 'dry'.  When we arrived at the Sheet there were a few more folk camping and a bunch of Pelicans in the inflow.
Not much else in the way of birds.  A slight surprise was the appearance of a Police 4x4 but they were just touring the area and after a friendly chat wandered on their way.

We followed not long after, pausing at the final bird hide hoping for Great Crested Grebe.  No joy, just a bunch of Little bBlack Cormorants.
On getting back to the campsite some of the Apostlebirds were up in their mud nest ...
... while others were attacking something on the ground.  The other turned out to be a Shingleback so I drove the birds off and then carried the reptile out of ranmge.
A pretty spiffy sunset.

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