Garig Gunak Barlu National Park (Cobourg Peninsula) June 28 - July 1 2021
  Another evening dinner at Smith Point.

We seem to be making a habit of it.

And a white tipped reef shark to break the routine of dining.

  While the sun illuminated the cliffs.

Black Point in the distance to the south.

  Next morning an early morning stroll past the crocodile crossing surprised a female shining flycatcher partaking of breakfast.

We find them easy to recognise.

  And a ......... which eludes me.
  We see lots of these throughout the peninsula.

They look like grey fantails, but we rarely see the fan of their tail.

They also don't inhabit this area. Perhaps Northern Fantail. Which are known to only fan their tail occasionally.

  We follow the wetland drive. The one we walked a few days ago.

Stopping at the wide open space. We take the chairs to a shady spot and sit, and wait. For whatever comes our way.

  Just a glimpse. Perhaps a grey-crowned babbler.

Apparently it has a rufus brown belly.

  Brighter than any image in the bird book. A posture like a night heron but obviously different colours.

Perhaps a pied heron. Hopefully the "white hackles frilling the lower neck" are distinctive, along with the beautiful dark blue.

  A solitary red-winged parrot. Perhaps young.

We've heard rainbow lorikeets flying by, but very few parrots.

Thus, a bit of a surprise. But a nice surprise.

  We can't resist the bright greens and blues of the wetlands.
  Surely a juvenile pallid cuckoo.

A fleeting visit.

As so often happens, a bird lands, we point the camera and hope, the bird flies on.

Quick .... we can now recognise a bird changing posture, crouching, ready to take off.

The small birds it happens too fast for us. This cuckoo was large enough to take just a smidgeon longer to prepare.

  We disturbed one of these lizards near the water. It took off across the water like a paddle steamer. And disappeared in the reeds.

This one crossed the road in front of us, and waited patiently, posing, for us to take a pic.

  We haven't seen any Banteng cattle (beyond a few that crossed the road in front of us near the ranger station). They were imported from Bali for the Victoria Settlement.

We haven't seen any Buffalo.

We haven't seen any Timor Horses.

We haven't seen any Sambar Deer (though we did see some in India).

We haven't seen or heard any dingoes.

We've seen lots of tracks.

So we rose early, determined in our searches.


  Stopped on the edge of the Banteng Plain.

Not too long after dawn.

Pretending to be inconspicuous.

  Lots of cattle here at some time. And a few recent droppings.

But no cattle now.

  Fresh droppings seem to attract blue flies.

We are close.

Perhaps as close as we were to elephants when we saw their droppings in Thailand.

We didn't see any elephants. And we haven't seen any cattle.

  The flies are rather pretty.

I explored the edge of the plain to the south. A large, muddy, billabong.

  Frustrated by the lack of animals we resorted to a walk around the coast at Stewart Point.

The vehicle track leaves the sea and cuts across the point to Lizard Bay. About a km.

This pic looking eastwards. The fire is the other side of the estuary and shouldn't bother us.

  A midden on the cliff edge.

I'd hazzard a guess that the cliff was further out and easier to negotiate for access t the sea, and sea food, when the midden was made.

  Looking northwards to the estuary (Port Bremer) entrance.
  A bit of a relief to see these very old tyre marks near the edge of the cliff. At times our path was a bit of a scratchy bush bash and the day was hot.

We are about 20m from the vehicle track. We walk the km back to the truck on the track.

  Some bad news.

Darwin is in lockdown due to the covid virus. An announcement will be made tomorrow about the future of the lockdown, whether to lift or keep.

The Northern Land Council have announced that if the lockdown continues they will completely close the road into Arnhem Land at Cahills Crossing.

The road was closed for entry last week (after we entered). The possible complete closure would prevent us leaving (though common sense would presumably prevail if we were at risk of starving).

Nevertheless, we decide to leave the peninsula the next morning. To reach the crossing before announcements on Darwin and crossing closure.

A last look at the sunset over Smith Point. More than a hint of sadness at our premature departure.

  An early start. Just on dawn.

Dust and sun impede our progress.

  But it does light up the forest rather nicely.
  I feel the heat from the fire as we pass.

The road is as rough as we recall, though slightly lower tyre pressures help.

But it gradually improves as we head south.

The last 100km to the Maningrida junction has been freshly graded.

  We pass Oeenpelli (we later learn at the Border Store that had we a permit to enter - no "contact permits" issued this year due to covid - we could have organised a tour of Injalak Rock Art from the Art Centre, despite what their website says, and even Arnhem Land Day Tours haven't had access).

Past Red Lily Lagoon.

  To the crossing.
  With a couple of hundred mm of water.

This time of year, as freshwater flow from the creek has reduced, the crossing is relatively easy at most times. Less than 600mm and limited flow seems to be the benchmark.

  We stop to inspect the crossing. It didn't need inspecting! We took some pics.

A few people on the other side.

  As we crossed.
  A quick trip into Jabiru for supplies. Wondering if there has been a run on the shop. The worst is a lack of potatoes.

We stop for the night at Merl Campground. A couple of km west of the crossing. Some walking and art viewing tomorrow. We are tired.

Dinner was atop a carefully arranged rock.

A stone's throw from our vehicles.

There is a collapsed fence between us and the bigger rock in the distance. Marking a prohibited area.

We are happy with our bit of the country.


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