Friday Night, 19 September 2008

 

My last night at Bowra Station.† This morning I did manage to get the last two Ramblings up, along with Photos05.† This entry should finish up Bowra, although it might not get posted for a day or two.† Likewise, I have a few more photos to put up from here, so I will probably do a small Photos06, just to keep things in sync.

 

After getting my internet stuff done at Ian and Julieís house in Cunnamulla on the river, I stopped at the bakery and picked up a couple of pies and a caramel slice.† I came back here and heated up one pie and had my ďpie and a sliceĒ lunch that I like so much.

 

About noon, I headed out onto the station tracks again.† I didnít really expect to see much more today, but I thought I might as well give it a shot.† Oh yes, this morning, before going off to do my internet stuff, I saw a Red-winged Parrot, which was a lifer, over by the Shearersí Quarters.† A great start to the day.

 

So, soon after setting out at noon, I saw a male Red-capped Robin on a fence, a trip bird I hadnít expected out here.† I stopped several places, but didnít see much, and what I did see was stuff I had seen before.† It was much hotter today, about 86 or so by the time I got out there.† It was cloudy much of the time, with sun from time to time, and it looked to me like rain, though that never happened.† The temperature stayed right at 86 or so all day long, as it turned out, but there was a nice breeze blowing most of the time, so that helped keep it comfortable.† I spent a lot of time in the air conditioned car, cruising along slowly, looking for birds to stop for.

 

I slowly added more to my trip list Ė Splendid Fairy-wren, Horsfieldís Bronze-Cuckoo, Brolga (a large crane that I expect to see more of up north, but a good one to add here), and Brown Falcon.† Iím terrible with identifying Aussie birds of prey, but this falcon was sitting on a branch, and I got a good long look at him.† I was just getting ready to try a long distance picture with my 22X lens combination when a raven came along and scared the falcon away.† Bummer.†† I think it would have made a good picture.

 

I finally got back to the homestead area about 4:00, and I went over to the Shearersí Quarters area to look for more Fairy-wrens.† There are three species of them here, and I had only seen one, in three days.† I walked around there for about a half an hour, and I did get great views of a male White-winged Fairy-wren, which was a lifer for me.† He was a really beautiful shade of very deep blue, with brilliant white wings.†

 

I finally threw in the towel about 4:30 and returned to my cottage.† It was 83 in here at that time, and that was the peak for the day inside.† At 7:30, it has now cooled down to ďonlyĒ 81.† It is cooler outside, but I canít get much ventilation without letting in a lot of bugs, something I am reluctant to do.† There were definitely a lot more mozzies today, and I have several bites.† I didnít get any spray, so I got bitten instead.† The flies were noticeably more annoying today, too.† I notice that there are some flying bugs in here that seem like a cross between a cockroach and a moth, and I donít like them.† They are about three-quarters of an inch long, maybe, and you have to really crush them to kill them.† I donít know that they do any harm, but I just donít like them.

 

Dinner tonight was a breaded lamb chop, veggies, mashed potatoes, and a cooked tomato.† Dessert was some apple pie with custard to pour over it.† I used the leftover custard to help me finish last nightís leftover ice cream, too.† So, I am well fed, and if it would just cool down, I would be ready for bed now, but I have two hours to stay awake.† I turned on the air conditioner in my bedroom, and it does seem to be cooling it down in there a little, so that is encouraging.

 

So, my final count here at Bowra, in two plus days, is 68 species.† I was feeling pretty good about that until a guy over by the Shearersí Quarters told me he had 92.† The guy agreed that he had gotten many of them, if not most, because of knowing the calls of the birds.† Many, if not most, Aussie birders count birds heard, as well as birds seen, which gives them still another advantage over me.† Oh well, that is how it is when you are a duff birder.† I had a whole lot of fun in my time here, and I added 36 species to my trip list, of which 8 were lifers.† That puts me up to 181 species for the trip, with 22 of them being lifers.† I missed all the rare and special birds here, but I had expected that.† I added a number of species that I wonít see after this, because they donít live up north.

 

The next 4 or 5 days of the trip are going to be very poor birding days, I think.† Mainly, I need to get to the north, which is maybe 1000 miles from here, like the distance from Seattle to Los Angeles.† I donít want to drive too far in any day, and I am staying two nights in one place, partly to maybe see some birds there, but also to break up the trip.† I might add a half dozen species to my trip list in the next 5 days, but I donít expect any real progress until after I get to Townsville, next Wednesday.† Julie said tonight that the weather forecast calls for rain up north, too, where I am going.† That would cut down the birding possibilities even more, not to mention slowing down the driving.† I just hope it doesnít rain overnight here, as I wouldnít want to negotiate the 4 miles of unpaved driveway out of here after a rain.† There are already mudholes Ė a little rain would make it a mess.

 

There are two good things about the next several days.† First, I will be travelling through country that I have never seen before, real Aussie outback country, and second, I expect to have a phone in my room each night (staying in motels), so I have hopes that my dial up Internet access will work for me.† I have felt very out of touch here at Bowra, even with my connection today.† When I get to Townsville, then my real birding can begin again.† Oh yes, a third good thing Ė I should have decent air conditioning in my rooms.

 

I guess I will transfer the last of my Bowra pictures to the computer and prepare a small Photos06, to finish off the Bowra experience.† Then, I can go to bed in just over an hour and a half, if it cools down enough in my room.

 

Barry downunder, heading back toward civilization, even though it will take me several days to get there

 

Saturday Morning

 

Iíve got to give my morning temperature report, then I need to get moving, so I can get out of here as early as possible.

 

It was about 74 in my room last night when I settled down, at about 9:15.† The little air conditioner in there was struggling away, but not really doing a lot of good.† I woke before midnight, having just had a dream about being in a house fire that started because an electrical appliance malfunctioned, and I couldnít get back to sleep until I got up and turned off the air conditioner.† It was just as well, because the rest of the house was about the same temperature by then anyway.† It took a while to get back to sleep, but then I did pretty well until I got up at 6:15.† It was 69 in the room then.† That is a pretty amazing change in two days Ė from 50 degrees on Thursday morning to 69 degrees on Saturday morning.† I am very glad I got at least some of the cool weather when I was here.† The bugs in here were a heck of a lot worse last night, and the mosquitoes have definitely come out in force in the last couple of days.† It is a good time to be moving on, in that respect.† It will be even hotter up north, but I should have decent a/c each night, at least, to go with my phone connection to the outside world.

 

I did make a small Photos06 last night.† There are some pictures I like of Zebra Finches, which are tiny little birds that are all over the place, taken with my 22X tele-extender lens combination.† I also took some with the 22X arrangement, hand-held.† All the previous ones had been on my tripod, because it is impossible to really hold the camera steady enough by hand, with such a long lens on it.† But, just as an experiment, I tried some without the tripod.† Most were pretty blurry, but I posted one of a Spotted Bowerbird that was at the top of a tree, and I am happy with it.† It isnít really very sharp, but the light was very poor, and the bird is recognizable, at least.† Iíll have to try some 22X hand-held experiments in good light.

 

So, time to make my lunch (ham and cheese sandwich again) and heat up my beef, cheese, and bacon pie for my brekkie.† Then it will be time to pack up the car and hit the road, Jack.† I am hoping to be on the road before 8, but I am always very slow in the morning, so we will see.

 

Barry downunder, ready to head north, into the almost-tropics