|Lakefield National Park - Sweetwater||August 3 - 6 2019|
|We cross Marina Plain, a brief detour on our way to
Sweetwater. We've tried riverside, now we'll try lagoonside .....
The watercourses are lined with paperbarks and dense bush. Between them is open eucalypt forest. And a couple of plains.
Prior to being National Park Lakefield was used for cattle and horses, generally supplied to the Palmer Goldfields in the 19th century.
We don't know if the plains are naturally without trees.
|Leaving the main road we cross Saltwater Creek, which is dry this far from the sea, then cross the exit creek from Sweetwater. A little sand that didn't need 4wd.|
|Then open forest until we reached the campsite, at the
northern end of the lagoon, after about a km.
The exit creek is on our right.
|Our introductory stroll was south on the track past the
The middle of the track is full of small white, yellow, and the most beautiful deep purple, flowers.
We ponder idly if they are orchids.
|To continue the respite from birds and geology we become
interested in a striped dragonfly. We wonder if they are unique to this
small area, and wonder why.
The edge of the lagoon is lined with paperbarks and mud. A couple of places open out for a more clear view.
|Back at camp we admire the beard. A Brahminy Kite. The perch, looking down the length of the lagoon, was also used by a White-bellied sea eagle.|
|Campsite with limited access to the water, though sufficient to fill our tanks.|
|Day two we set off around the northern edge of the lagoon.
Or is it a lake?
We steadily become drawn further around, until we realise we are halfway. Its about 10km to circumnavigate, but that's what we did.
Along the way we spotted a pied butcherbird.
|Enjoyed watching a couple of green pygmy geese, though there were more than a few on the lake.|
|Almost exactly halfway round, as we discussed whether it
was easier to return the way we knew or risk being unable to complete the
circuit, a couple of ducks arrived.
We pretended to be trees while the two White-Headed Shelducks admired the view from their branch and ignored us.
After about a half hour we continued, unfortunately disturbing the ducks.
|We detoured away from the edge for a little while and
encountered a flock of double-barred finches chattering to each other.
The rest of the trip was uneventful, our shortcut between the two southern legs of the lake was successful and we found the end of the track on the east side.
Uneventful apart from the couple of crocodiles we disturbed. We think if we had to hunt for a living we would either starve or learn to look further ahead.
|Day three we headed almost due east from the campsite. The
satellite image suggests a small lagoon.
On the way we surprised a pair of red-winged parrots. We've heard and seen lots of lorikeets and were idly checking why these two didn't seem to behave the same as the others.
|Whatever is growing on the leaf there's not a lot, just a couple of leaves.|
|The lagoon turned out to be very small and full of
vegetation. We had to search a bit to find it.
Nothing ventured, nothing gained .....
Whereas the lake we are camped beside is a watercourse, gouged out of the land between two ridges, where three creeks met, that has rock in the exit channel to contain it, this is simply a shallow depression in the land, with little or no flow, that can hold water.
|This pic represents a triumph of sorts. For a few days,
including at Chong Swamp, we've been hearing a very distinctive repeating
whistle from what we thought was a largish bird, but could never see one.
Eventually, next to the campsite, we could see the beak move at the same time as the sound. A useful clue? Its a Yellow Honeyeater. Just a bit bigger than a finch. To add the pic was a nice bonus.
Sometimes its pleasant simply to sit and watch and enjoy, without the additional complication of a camera.
|Almost at the same time we caught more movement. Just a
hint of a few leaves.
I thought cuckoos were medium sized birds. This we think is small. Its a Fan-Tailed Cuckoo.
We didn't hear it cuckoo-ing. Perhaps it doesn't. We would struggle to distinguish it from cuckooshrikes and doves.
|Early morning a couple of Green Pygmy Geese turned up and
swam around in our little alcove.
I guess if we hadn't walked 10km around the lake and seen some we wouldn't have known what we were looking at and they wouldn't have turned up.
They seem to be feeding continually.
We don't know why they are geese and not ducks.
We've noticed that when disturbed magpie geese make a lot of noise and may eventually fly away. Ducks seem to fly away and sometimes make a noise in the air. These pygmy geese seem to behave like ducks. Perhaps size matters.
|We found it quite difficult to recognise "green" let alone
take a pic. But eventually the light was more or less right.
The bird book has paintings from "skins" held in museums and elsewhere. Just turning a single feather can usually change its colour or shade. Watching a whole bird turn is fascinating.
|There's that yellow honeyeater again.
We heard the whistle and waited for it to appear. Birds are creatures of habit, we just have to work out what the habit is. Different birds, different habits.
We also recognised the yellow oriole when it appeared.
Day four was a domestic day in which we alternately "did things" and stopped to look at the lake.
|Happy with all the bird life, and the exercise, we retire
for our fourth night at Sweetwater.
We seem to have shifted a gear slightly with our bird watching. We seem to have deliberately looked for birds, and campsites with birds, in Oyala Thumotang and Lakefield National Parks. And we seem to have become a little better at prediction and when/where to look rather than being simply opportunistic.
We also have been paying more attention to light and angle when taking pics, so feel ready for the next camera, and tripod.
We doubt we'll ever become great photographers or bird watchers. But when the opportunity presents itself we find some enjoyment in both. I am also not a great narrator, but then the purpose of the blog is to assist my ailing memory - the simple enjoyment of "do you remember when ....".
Perhaps its as simple as when we spread ourselves thinly across this big country there are places to look at geology, other places for history, and yet others for birds. Perhaps we just potter along from one campsite to the next absorbing whatever is interesting at the time.
|Lakefield National Park - Hann Crossing||August 7 - 8 2019|