Up early and again back to
our vantage point on top of the sand dune above our camp. We eagerly await the
arrival of the Princess Parrots but alas they do not oblige. We pack up and
leave camp by 8 A.M. and head onwards to Well 35.
On the way we observe two
Spotted Harriers and two brown Falcons having a bit of a spat. We also find a
Masked Woodswallow on a nest 5 metres up in a fork of a Desert Oak. Several more
displaying male Pied Honeyeaters are also seen.
Well 35 has plenty of surface
water in patches and is heavily vegetated with Melealucas making walking too far
through it difficult. However a group of 5 Yellow-billed Spoonbills are added to
our trip list.
We fast track to Well 33 and
say goodbye to the Canning Stock Route.
We visit ?civilization? at
the aboriginal community of Kunawaritji (population 118) and refuel and
re-water. This is a picture compared to the communities of Balgo and Mulan to
the north and had won tidy community award the previous year. It has only been
built in the last few years so is still new but is well run. Many birds were
taking advantage of the sprinklers in the gardens here.
On the road again! We take
the Kidson Wapet track to the north west; a road which will be our own for the
next two and a half days as not another vehicle or person is seen.
Now that the pressure of
finding PP?s is behind us we spend more time looking for some of the birds that
we missed. However it is still very windy, making finding the smaller birds like
Rufous-crowned EmuWren and Striated Grasswren very difficult. We aim to reach
Lake Auld (dry) for our overnight camp. On the way we see a group of about 18
Camels, our first for the trip, having seen plenty of tracks.
Walking through a patch of
older and bigger Spinifex Grass we manage to get brief glimpses of our first
Spinifex Bird. I manage to get reasonable views of one climbing through the
grass at the base of a bush and then watching it scurrying away on the ground
with it?s tail cocked up in the air. Not everybody sees it. This bird was very
reddish-brown in colouration much more so than the picture portrayed in
?Slater?. Birds that we were to see later varied from reddish-brown to
grey-brown as suggested in ?Pizzey and Knight?. Five minutes later we find, and
all have stunning views of a group of Orange Chats. Now having seen three
species of Chats on this trip there was much debate over which one was the best,
very hard call as they are all pretty special. I think I would lean towards
Orange, followed by Crimson as far as striking colouration goes.
Whilst we were gallivanting
around the Spinifex looking for these birds and Debbi was sitting quietly back
in her vehicle, a Kaluta (Spinifex Antechinus) sauntered across the road in
front of the car.
We make camp just before
dark, again finding another roadside quarry to camp in free of Spinifex Grass
and vegetation for our fire. We have travelled about 150kms north west of
Kunawaritji, crossing 28 sand dunes and seeing 35 species of birds.