Great article Jill.
For all us birders who have had the privilege to visit Bowra we can only say a
very very big thank-you to Julie and Ian McLaren for being such wonderful
custodians of this magical place and giving so many such wonderful opportunity
to visit their property over the years. I'm sure I speak for all birders in
wishing them a very well earned new chapter in their lives.
We all hope their special place remains one of Australia's natural treasures
On 27/07/2010, at 4:42 PM, J Dening wrote:
> Hi Everyone,
> 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
> 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
> So if you're on the way to Bowra, be careful on the roads, and enjoy the
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