31 May 2011

Sunshine and Mice

17 May
SUNSHINE! BLUE SKY! WARM! SOL IS BACK! We spent much of the day putzing along the coast enjoying the blue sky. We made it as far as Kingston SE where we had lunch and discussed our plans. We aren't real impressed with this part of the coast and so think we will head inland a little. Not to mention the nice weather isn't going to last.

We decided to head inland and are currently camped at Bool Lagoon Game Reserve which is a bird refuge on the order of Cheyenne Bottoms in Kansas or the Bosque in New Mexico. It is huge and the noise even a few hours after sunset is amazing. Tomorrow at sunrise should be spectacular.

22 May 2011
The next morning WAS spectacular with a gorgeous sunrise and lots of birds. During the day we did a number of walks and saw lots of birds and bunnies. There was even a pair of swans with 2 babies which seemed really strange since it is autumn.
sunrise at Bool Lagoon
Bool Lagoon with ducks and swans
Australian White and Strawnecked Ibis
along with 4 or 5 other kinds of birds
Bunyip at Bool Lagoon
Trox went on a ride while we were at Bool Lagoon. Not a very technical ride but pretty long. While on the ride he made a friend of a really little quail. Speaking of friends a little bird kept visiting our mirror and yelling at himself while he pecked the mirror. All around the area were board walks so we were able to walk way out on the water where the birds were.
little quail
swan family
snake in the grass near Bunyip
Yellow-rumped Thornbill visiting himself
Echnidna along road at Bool
these guys are pretty well camouflaged
2 swans; 1 egret
walking the boardwalk
spotted this guy in a drain
Once we left Bool we headed towards Naracoorte and then on to Cockatoo Lake which is where we are now. We are going to go back towards the coast probably tomorrow or the next day and from there on up to Carol's. We aren't sure where we'll go from there but we're still looking at crossing the Nullarbor to head towards Perth.

Shortly before Naracoorte there is a park with caves. We toured around the grounds and spent a night there but never went into any of the caves. The grounds were beautifully groomed and nice to walk around. The caves were full of fossils and bones of large animals from many many years ago.
statue of one of the skeletons found
it was a giant Wombat
the banksia were really pretty
Honeyeater on banksia
This Roo was spotted lazing around
in the door to the cave
hanging on a wal
The drive on to "Cocky" Lake was not a long one and when we got here there was another couple and that was it. I had met the couple, John and Doris, at Johanna Beach when we were there but it was Doris who remembered. We have a beautiful spot next to the lake which we're told is fairly shallow (less than 3 meters/10 feet) and last year was totally dry. The first night's sunset was really nice.
sunset at Cocky Lake
sunset at Cocky Lake
Bunyip at Cocky Lake next to Red Gum
It isn't this year and is full of water fowl to entertain us. One we have watched is a Musk Duck but he never gets close enough to photo. Trox got in a ride here and few walks have also occurred. The trees here are mostly red gums which are really old with big gnarly limbs. The kids must love to climb them.
flock of Sulphur Cocaktoos near Cocky Lake
they don't like foxes here

23 May
MICE! We have so far trapped FOUR! First one we got was about a week ago and it was big - not rat big but BIG for a mouse. Then the next day/night we trapped two more little ones (kids?). All was quiet for a few days but this morning we found another one in the trap in the front. Not sure if today's is a new one or related to the others - probably new since we haven't seen indications of mice for a few days. Ends up that this part of Australia is currently having a mouse problem - probably because the population exploded during the wet summer when there was lots of food and now as it gets cold they are moving inside looking for easy food. Wish they would leave Bunyip alone!

24 May
After we left Cockatoo Lake we headed for Keith to buy gas (propane in American) and spent the night here. A little was out of the Lake park we spotted a herd of Elk (ELK?). They were pretty small but definitely elk and fenced.
Elk north of Cocky Lake
Now we are going to head towards the coast (I think).

25 Mary
Yesterday we made it to 42 Mile Crossing Campground. We are in the Coorong National Park along the Husband Peninsula. We spotted Emus on our way into the campground as well as Roos. Once here we met a couple from Eildon who own a houseboat at the marina just up (or is that down?) from Doug & Eileen's. We didn't get their name before they left but the name of their boat is "Beyond Belief" and it is a "hire boat" which simply means they rent it out. Last night on the walk back from the toilet block we spotted the local wombat and he let us get really close.

spotted on our walk before dark
now that IS a boodha belly!
These are BIG birds!

This morning we traipsed up and over the dunes to the Southern Ocean. Along the way we spotted birds and emu tracks. On the beach the shells were amazing. Where the tide has washed them up they were feet deep. Along the walk Trox found a compllete Conch shell about the size of my fist. We did a short walk yesterday before it go dark and got to see lots of Roos.

the board walk up and over the dunes
a shell bed
walking back on the 4WD track
Ring Necked Parrot

26 May
After leaving 42 mile we worked our way up the Husband Peninsula to Meningie. On our way we stopped at a point with an observation building over looking a group of islands -0 the home of the largest permanent flock of Australia Pelicans. Pretty amazing to just sit and watch them fly about and fish.

each one of those white dots is a Pelican
Musk Lorikeet

Once in Meingie we had a nice dinner next to Lake Albert and then spent the night parked next to the local cemetery which we explored early this morning. We then went back to the park where we had breakfast and spotted a Musk Lorikeet which we had heard making lots of noise last night but didn't get to see. We are now headed towards Long Point back on the Coorong on the other side of Lake Albert.

they don't like Fox here either
Cormorants on the wharf at Long Point

28 May
We had a wonderful spot at Long Point and were all alone except for birds galore. Pelicans and gulls and Ibis and Egrets and Pied Cormorants and Caspian Terns and swallows and honey eaters and Shrikes and Hoary Headed Grebes .... Trox was in heaven as he found new birds he hadn't seen yet. We had a nice walk and Trox got a ride in. The weather was wet and cold one minute and then the sun would come out and it would warm right up and rainbows would appears.

beautiful rainbow near sunset
a Pelican coming in to land near sunset
Australia Pelican come to chase away the gulls
Crested Terns
A White Faced Heron and Oyster Catchers
White Faced Heron
a mob of Pelicans
these cormarants were just resting on the power lines

Bunyip just made his first ever ferry crossing on a punt - a cable drawn flat barge - at Narrung. We crossed "The Narrows" which is the channel that connects Lake Albert and Lake Alexandrina. And one more bird - spotted after we got off the punt Trox spotted a Reed Warbler. It is Saturday and we are expected at Carol's on Monday so we have some of today, tomorrow and some of Monday to travel about 150 kilometers - I think we can make that.

boarding the punt ferry at The Narrows
Cuckoo Shrike
Reed Warbler
The only inland lighthouse in Australia - also the smallest
Scotch Thistle

Even later
Well, Bunyip has now done TWO punt crossing. We crossed the Murray River at Wellington and worked our way to Strathalbyn. Along the way we stopped at a wet lands where we spotted even more new birds. We saw a Black shouldered Kite which was really pretty. AND on the way to the wet lands we saw CAMELS! They were in with some sheep and it was really easy to get a feel for absolutely how huge they are!

boarding the punt ferry at Wellington
Black Shouldered Kite