This is s rundown on current Bowra conditions. Before we left home,
others were very generous with help for us. and so I am passing on the
service to those whose arrival in SWQld may be imminent.
Be aware that rain is moving in from the west, and that several roads
have already been closed. Ian McLaren told Bowra campers that if they
were not planning to leave today, they may well be there for 3 days and
unable to get out. The floods earlier this year and the rain about a
month ago have left the southwest still damp. It won't take much rain to
turn the gravel roads impassable. We had planned to head west from Bowra
this morning, but after talking to the Cunnamulla information office, we
headed north to lesser or negligible rain. It was likely we wouldn't
have been allowed further than Thargomindah. As I write at 4pm from
Charleville, the rain is beginning. The locals are taking it seriously,
and don't enjoy digging hairy-chested travellers out of the bog.
Birding at Bowra is very good at present. It falls well short of the
best birding we have had at Bowra, but that's because the regional
conditions are so good that the birds are well spread out. I have never
seen Bowra looking so good in the many years we have been visiting. The
grass is so long - though now dried and yellow - that you can't see the
ground birds walking around.
At the same time, I haven't seen Bowra's roads in such poor condition
before, and this is a legacy of the earlier floods. Patches of bog
remain to catch the unwary. We got through everywhere we wanted to go in
2WD, but a low sedan would be unhappy bumping along the potholes and
creek scours. Mind you, a sedan can still negotiate quite a few kms of
good birding country. You just need to know when to turn around in a sedan.
Julie and Ian McLaren are still running Bowra, but their withdrawal is
only days away. We stayed with them in town for a couple of nights, and
we saw that they are really tired. The last drought took a lot out of
them, followed by floods, and they truly need and relish the prospect of
life as private citizens. I understand Birds Queensland will fulfill the
birding and accommodation role from next week.
Last night around the campfire at happy hour I noticed people sounding
anxious about some of the gossip they had heard about BQ's plans to
change things, believing it may spoil their pleasure next time. Ian and
Julie ran a very laid-back show, but with the change of ownership may
come some legal constraints necessitating rules and regulations. It is
very easy to lose goodwill, and we just have to hope that BQ is aware of
the need to maintain that goodwill.
For myself, I was filled with pure joy at being there. I thrilled at my
reunion with my favourite Black-breasted Buzzard; it had been so long
since I had seen a Pallid Cuckoo, and had two apparently planning to lay
in a Red-capped Robin's nest, with the male robin outraged and insistent
that it wouldn't happen. James delighted in his beloved Major Mitchells.
I think he may be related to them. We were driving along yesterday,
birding with our eyes everywhere outside the vehicle, when James
suddenly shrieked and braked, then bailed out of the vehicle. I was
thinking snake, but hey, it's winter. It was a massive spider, crawling
along the steering column towards James. I had to get the spider out
before James would get back in. I guess that's one of the reasons why a
guy gets married. Forty years later I am still doing my duty.
So if you're on the way to Bowra, be careful on the roads, and enjoy the
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