What have you seen that is not Natural to the Bush?

Submitted: Monday, Jun 29, 2015 at 22:02
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Hi Everyone

During our recent great Gulf trip, we came across some great sights in many great locations, but one large bird caught our attention.

I know you are thinking a Wedge Tailed Eagle, yes we saw dozens of them during our travels, but this bird can not fly.

Now you are thinking an Emu?.....wrong.

Heading up the Birdsville Track, a drive that we have done so many times, when a very large bird caught my attention. Was I in Africa???, no this was the remote Birdsville Track in Outback South Australia.

This bird would tower over our large native flightless Emu and at around 7 feet tall and black and white, I could not believe what I had just seen.

It darted across the track in a hurry and headed for some larger vegetation thinking I could not see it. So quickly out with the Nikon and this is what I captured.........an Ostrich.

Now do you believe me????


Cheers and no I was not drinking.




Stephen.



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Reply By: Member - backtracks - Monday, Jun 29, 2015 at 22:15

Monday, Jun 29, 2015 at 22:15
There's a story there for sure !
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Monday, Jun 29, 2015 at 22:31

Monday, Jun 29, 2015 at 22:31
Hi Backtracks

I know that they were introduced into Australia in the early 1900's and they were farmed around Port Augusta for the then fashion industry. There have been sightings around Morgan, in the Riverland of South Australia, but not for a long time.

When I was going to school, one lads I knew was from a station from east of Burra, and they had them on his station.

Like most things that size they are an easy target from moron shooters and they are now all but gone from east of Burra.

This one on the Birdsville Track must have made its way they from past generations over 100 years ago, and I wonder just how many are still out there in the wild. Its only main predator out there would be dingos, and of course from someone with a gun.


Cheers


Stephen
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Follow Up By: disco driver - Monday, Jun 29, 2015 at 23:54

Monday, Jun 29, 2015 at 23:54
Not so long ago, late 80s-early 90s, there was a 'get rich quick'/'tax lurk' scheme pushed onto the suckers with plenty of spare cash.............and a few with limited finance to farm ostrich for meat, leather and feathers.
The way it was supposed to work was for investors to purchase an ostrich or two (at prices between $1000 and $2000 per bird) and other farmers with an interest in farming them on their properties would adjist them and hatch out any eggs.

Needless to say most of those who bought birds went broke while those who set up to adjist them made money, not from birds and eggs but from adjistment fees $20.00/bird/week (all care but no responsibility).
Not bad money when you have around 200 ostrich fenced in.

Didn't last long, like most get rich quick schemes.

Please note that it is still illegal to release ostrich into the wild in WA.
If it was me, I'd have destroyed in asap.

Disco.

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Follow Up By: john m85 - Tuesday, Jun 30, 2015 at 08:17

Tuesday, Jun 30, 2015 at 08:17
Stephen not all shooters are morons I have been shooting for nearly 40 years it only takes a couple of people to do the wrong thing then it gives the rest a bad name if it wasn't for the conservation work that shooters do a lot of wildlife would not be there for you to enjoy.

john.
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Tuesday, Jun 30, 2015 at 08:54

Tuesday, Jun 30, 2015 at 08:54
Hi John

I was once a past responsible shooter as well, and my comments do not apply to them.

It is the morons that head bush and take their guns with them and shoot anything that moves. I know personally that station people have had stock shot right on the side of road, just because they are there, or large holes shot in signs.

Also everyone must be aware that just because you have a gun, it is illegal to shoot on private stations without written consent from the station owner.



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Stephen
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Reply By: BunderDog - Tuesday, Jun 30, 2015 at 05:39

Tuesday, Jun 30, 2015 at 05:39
Cane toads!!!
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Tuesday, Jun 30, 2015 at 07:20

Tuesday, Jun 30, 2015 at 07:20
Hi BunderDog

Yes those Cane Toads are a real pest for sure and we even saw them at Julia Creek.


Cheers



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Reply By: Slow one - Tuesday, Jun 30, 2015 at 06:42

Tuesday, Jun 30, 2015 at 06:42
In the 70's at Portland Roads Qld, which was remote then.
You would come out of the bush at a certain time of year and there would be a small colony of "Ladies of negotiable virtue" happily looking after the northern pawning fleet.
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Follow Up By: pop2jocem - Tuesday, Jun 30, 2015 at 12:16

Tuesday, Jun 30, 2015 at 12:16
So the "pawning fleet" was being "serviced" by the "porning fleet"???

(;=0)

Cheers
Pop
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Reply By: Life Member-Doug T NSW - Tuesday, Jun 30, 2015 at 07:43

Tuesday, Jun 30, 2015 at 07:43
Campers...........

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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Tuesday, Jun 30, 2015 at 14:42

Tuesday, Jun 30, 2015 at 14:42
Hi Doug

Yes there are always campers around, some better than others.



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Reply By: Hairy (NT) - Tuesday, Jun 30, 2015 at 08:32

Tuesday, Jun 30, 2015 at 08:32
Moron shooters?
Or conservationist protecting our native wildlife?
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Tuesday, Jun 30, 2015 at 14:12

Tuesday, Jun 30, 2015 at 14:12
Hi Hairy

Morons for sure and not conservationist.

Here is a picture that many travellers along the Birdsville Track have seen for many years, mixing with station cattle. These 2 camels were not feral, but actually pets of Dulkaninna Station.

A few years ago, their pets were shot, along with some cattle by none other than complete moron shooters and they are very lucky that the station people along the length of the Birdsville Track did not catch them, as they would have met true bush justice. Every station along the length of the track was made aware of the shootings and they were looking out for any further situations anymore from Marree to Birdsville.

The same thing happened a good number of years ago starting just out of Marree. Anything that moved was shot, including pet and working station horses. Word soon travelled up the track and the offenders were caught bragging about their shooting trip in the Birdsville Pub.

Just because they carry a gun, it does not give them the right to shoot without permission from station owners.



Cheers



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Reply By: Member - Duncan W (WA) - Tuesday, Jun 30, 2015 at 09:56

Tuesday, Jun 30, 2015 at 09:56
Wild/feral donkeys, horses, goats, dogs, foxes & cats. Once came upon a mob of about 60 donkeys NW of Mt Augustus as we rounded a bend in the track and I don't know who was the most shocked, them or me.

Between Millar Range and Pt Waulfe in the GVD a baby fox scurried through our camp one night, we couldn't believe it being as it was so far away from what I would have thought was typical fox territory.

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Dunc
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Tuesday, Jun 30, 2015 at 14:41

Tuesday, Jun 30, 2015 at 14:41
Hi Dunc

Yes our remote areas sure have a real mixture of feral animals and you would not have expected to see that fox way out there. Its a wonder that did not end up as bush tucker for the dingos, as they did some wildlife experiments up in the Roxby Downs area a number of years ago.

With an area completely fenced off with high fencing, the counted all the feral animals, including foxes and cats. They then introduced a few dingo and after some time, the dingo had killed every fox and cat, which really surprised me.


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Follow Up By: The Explorer - Tuesday, Jun 30, 2015 at 21:58

Tuesday, Jun 30, 2015 at 21:58
"you would not have expected to see that fox way out there"

The buggers are further north/inland than WA's Mid West i.e Mt Augustus. So expect them..

Lake Disappointment/CSR



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Follow Up By: Fab72 - Sunday, Jul 05, 2015 at 09:09

Sunday, Jul 05, 2015 at 09:09
I am a huge advocate for the protection of dingoes. They are after all Australia's natural top order predator.

The great work they do in controlling fox, rabbit and cat numbers is sadly over shadowed by tales of the occasional sheep they destroy. The fact is pure bred dingoes are few in numbers and unlikely to be responsible for ALL the damage caused to livestock in the quantities often reported. However feral dogs that attacks sheep, chooks etc are increasing in numbers.

My golden rule of thumb is that there are no plagues of natural sorts. It is through man's intervention that pests and plagues have become a part of life. Wasn't it cane toads that were introduced to control cane beetles? Foxes for the sporting activities of the English gentry? Cats as companions? Culling Dingoes will only further compound the issue. Cats destroy small marsupials to extinction as do foxes (who are responsible for more sheep attacks than dingoes) and rabbits destroy the herbage that sheep graze on and the damage done by rabbits to farming land is immeasurable.

Biased? Perhaps? Pure dingoes are few in numbers and extinction is permanent. People need to think wisely before they pull the trigger (or drop the 1080 for that matter).

P.S.... yes I own a pure dingo. I also live south of the fence. Save me the dingo/baby jokes.... you'd be hard pressed to come up with one that is original.

Fab.
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Reply By: Dave B ( ADL) - Tuesday, Jun 30, 2015 at 10:05

Tuesday, Jun 30, 2015 at 10:05
G'day Stephen, apparently they can live to around 40-45 years, so goodness knows how long it has been in the area.
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Tuesday, Jun 30, 2015 at 14:36

Tuesday, Jun 30, 2015 at 14:36
Hi Dave

Hope you have settled down in the Big Smoke and you are both enjoying your new surrounds.

Thanks for that piece of trivia, as that seems like a long time for them to live and it makes me wonder just how widespread they still are. Did you over come across any up in the Hill area during your extensive travels.


All the best and keep warm at this cool time of the years.



Cheers


Stephen

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Follow Up By: member - mazcan - Tuesday, Jun 30, 2015 at 15:59

Tuesday, Jun 30, 2015 at 15:59
hi
there seems to be a lot of feral politicians that live a long time also
just thought i'd throw that one in too
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Follow Up By: Dave B ( ADL) - Tuesday, Jun 30, 2015 at 16:43

Tuesday, Jun 30, 2015 at 16:43
Never heard of them around the Hill at all, and never heard of them in my many trips in the Flinders apart from the old stories about them at Pt Augusta.

cheers
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Reply By: Mick O - Tuesday, Jun 30, 2015 at 11:04

Tuesday, Jun 30, 2015 at 11:04
Camels,


...........................and European backpackers!

Both cause specific problems ;-)

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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Tuesday, Jun 30, 2015 at 14:31

Tuesday, Jun 30, 2015 at 14:31
Hi Mick

Yes the old feral camel sure gets around, but the only ones that saw on this trip were in holding yards and from what we were told, were used for camel racing.

As for the backpackers, the only ones that we came across were working in the remote Roadhouses and pubs.



Cheers


Stephen
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Follow Up By: get outmore - Tuesday, Jun 30, 2015 at 14:43

Tuesday, Jun 30, 2015 at 14:43
at least with European back packers theres plenty of nasties around the outback to thin out thier numbers......
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Follow Up By: Member - John (Vic) - Wednesday, Jul 01, 2015 at 00:26

Wednesday, Jul 01, 2015 at 00:26
That's funny Dave :)

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Reply By: get outmore - Tuesday, Jun 30, 2015 at 11:11

Tuesday, Jun 30, 2015 at 11:11
ostritches were common out from pt augusta although i hadnt heard of sightings since the 80s now - looks like thier still around
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Tuesday, Jun 30, 2015 at 14:28

Tuesday, Jun 30, 2015 at 14:28
Hi get out more

Like you, I knew they were around out in the sand hill country north of Port Augusta, but I have not heard of any sighting for a very long time.

Just how many are out there would be interesting to know, but I would say not very many, compared to the dozens of Emus that you see out there.



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Reply By: Member - Peter (1) - Tuesday, Jun 30, 2015 at 12:22

Tuesday, Jun 30, 2015 at 12:22
Yep, Stephen, that's an Ostrich. Probably flew over from Africa!!!!

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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Tuesday, Jun 30, 2015 at 14:25

Tuesday, Jun 30, 2015 at 14:25
Hi Peter

Yes I could not believe it when I first saw it. Seeing they can not fly, it would have been a bloody long swim....lol



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Reply By: The Landy - Tuesday, Jun 30, 2015 at 12:50

Tuesday, Jun 30, 2015 at 12:50
Toilet Paper!!!

Hey, glad the trip went well and look forward to reading Stephen...

Cheers, Baz
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Tuesday, Jun 30, 2015 at 14:21

Tuesday, Jun 30, 2015 at 14:21
Hi Baz

We had a ball thank and we will be back as they say.

Yes toilet paper is up there with my pet hates for sure, and why can not be burnt after you have done your business.



Cheers



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Reply By: Rick (S.A.) - Tuesday, Jun 30, 2015 at 14:48

Tuesday, Jun 30, 2015 at 14:48
Q:

What have you seen that is not Natural to the Bush?

A:

I've seen something decidedly un-natural, and I reckon you two have as well...................Space junk!
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Follow Up By: Member - johnat - Tuesday, Jun 30, 2015 at 16:00

Tuesday, Jun 30, 2015 at 16:00
As well as burnt out bodies of cars!

I was told that some in and around Alice get a "junker", run it till it dies, then torch it to claim insurance, and use the proceeds to get another junker for the same deal (and live off the profits). Not sure how true that story is, but!
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Wednesday, Jul 01, 2015 at 08:05

Wednesday, Jul 01, 2015 at 08:05
Hi Rick

Yes, way out in the northern Simpson, but I have forgotten about that....lol


Cheers




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Reply By: Nargun51 - Tuesday, Jun 30, 2015 at 16:26

Tuesday, Jun 30, 2015 at 16:26
Have run across some neat rows of plants, whilst being natural, were certainly not indigenous to the area.
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Reply By: Jeffrey B2 - Tuesday, Jun 30, 2015 at 17:03

Tuesday, Jun 30, 2015 at 17:03
Hi ! Stephen L

There are or were a few about 300 km west of Brisbane for a while.

I think the local cockies and roo shooters cleaned them up some time back.

They can be a bit dangerous at times and so can the old male Emu if he has chicks to guard.

Had a couple of frights with male Emus, once on a motorbike and got too close to his nest and another taking a video of another and 17 chicks when he turned around and made it quite evident I was too close.

All good fun and very good photo of the Ostrich you saw,

Have fun Haji-Baba
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Tuesday, Jun 30, 2015 at 19:11

Tuesday, Jun 30, 2015 at 19:11
Hi Jeffrey

Yes for sure about the male Emus with chicks at foot. A friend of mine was chased for getting too close when taking photos and still talks about his lucky escape.



Cheers



Stephen
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Reply By: AlbyNSW - Tuesday, Jun 30, 2015 at 18:20

Tuesday, Jun 30, 2015 at 18:20
Black Panther west of Milthorpe NSW

Indian Palm Squirrels Perth
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Tuesday, Jun 30, 2015 at 19:08

Tuesday, Jun 30, 2015 at 19:08
Hi Alby

That sure would've been a great experience. There are often stories about big cats in the wilds, with claims that they originate from pets brought in by US service men during WW2.


Cheers



Stephen
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Follow Up By: Member - johnat - Tuesday, Jun 30, 2015 at 20:37

Tuesday, Jun 30, 2015 at 20:37
One would have to query where the servicemen would have kept their "pets" while on service, no? Did they just stick it in their kitbag and drop it off when they were on R&R> Or did they get mommy to send it over when they knew where they were headed? Gotta be kidding!
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Follow Up By: Michael H9 - Tuesday, Jun 30, 2015 at 22:23

Tuesday, Jun 30, 2015 at 22:23
I heard the big black cats are chased around by 8 foot tall hairy guys with big feet. That picture would be worth a bit....
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Reply By: The Explorer - Tuesday, Jun 30, 2015 at 22:24

Tuesday, Jun 30, 2015 at 22:24
Hello Stephen

According to Pizzey and Knight (2012) Ostriches were introduced to various parts of Australia as early as 1869. Atlas of Living Australia shows a few records around and north of Port Augusta - Link HERE



Not sure of currency of data, and obviously not all observations recorded/reported by all people.

I spotted about 40 south of Margaret River in a farm paddock open to state forest a few years ago (not sure if I have any pics). They are indeed a large impressive bird and apparently they taste OK :)

Cheers
Greg
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Wednesday, Jul 01, 2015 at 08:10

Wednesday, Jul 01, 2015 at 08:10
Hi Greg

Thanks for that and it is very interesting. It makes you wonder just how many are living out there along the Birdsville Track area, as there must be breeding birds out there to keep the population going.

It is a wonder with all the thousands of travellers along the Birdsville Track that no one else has chanced on them before.



Cheers



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Follow Up By: get outmore - Wednesday, Jul 01, 2015 at 12:20

Wednesday, Jul 01, 2015 at 12:20
besides breeding - Now im not an Ostrich expert but that bird looks to be in very good shape so youd assume its got some good conditions for it to survive in
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Wednesday, Jul 01, 2015 at 21:08

Wednesday, Jul 01, 2015 at 21:08
Hi Greg

I had a great chat today with a Ranger from the Far North National Parks Office in Port Augusta.

I have given her the full details and it was well north of expected past sightings, and they will include it as a positive sighting. I have given her a couple of photos, as well as the exact location that we saw the single bird.

I have also spoken with the station people who's station the bird was on. They are aware of it and have seen it a few times. From what they were telling me, it travels over a very large area ( hundreds of kilometres ) and is know to a good number of stations. It sounds like the poor Ostrich follows the season and rainfall and must seem to know where the rain has fallen. One things that they were also telling me is that they must be a very strong and powerful bird, as even if they do not see it in person, they know when it is around.....it goes straight through their fences.

Another thing that I should have also said in the first post, is it must also be a wise bird, as it is well outside of the Dingo Fence and I know that there are lots of dingos in that area and you would think that a few dingos together would be able to take it down and make a meal of it.



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Stephen
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Follow Up By: get outmore - Sunday, Jul 05, 2015 at 09:25

Sunday, Jul 05, 2015 at 09:25
I would have thought an animal being native to areas with Lions, cheetas, leapards,hyenas, african hunting dogs to name a few wouldnt have much trouble in seeing off a pack of dingos
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Reply By: Member - John (Vic) - Wednesday, Jul 01, 2015 at 00:36

Wednesday, Jul 01, 2015 at 00:36
Makes you wonder the outcome if the Emu's and Ostriches took a liking to each other.
Would the chicks be EmO's? :)

Interesting story and photo, I've never seen an ostrich anywhere other than captivity.
Hate to hit one in the car, an emu is bad enough, ostriches are bigger and taller.

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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Wednesday, Jul 01, 2015 at 08:15

Wednesday, Jul 01, 2015 at 08:15
Hi John

Like I have mentioned earlier in the replies, I have heard stories of them around Port Augusta and east of Burra in station country, but never even given it a thought about them being that far north.

They are a massive bird for sure and if it was hit by a car, would do a lot of damage, knowing just how much damage an Emu can do.



Cheers




Stephen
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Reply By: Bob Y. - Qld - Wednesday, Jul 01, 2015 at 09:47

Wednesday, Jul 01, 2015 at 09:47
Good to catch up the other day, Stephen!

Travelling back home from the Atherton Tablelands last Sunday, and noticed a couple of non-native plants, while on the road from Almaden to Mt Surprise.

Had pulled up at Fossil Brook, to take a couple of photos of the crossing, and noticed a majestic old mango tree, growing by itself, not far away from the stream. No sign of any old buildings close by(Springfield Station was maybe a km or so away) so can only assume there may have been an earlier camp there.





A bit closer to the Gulf Developmental Road, noticed some stands of Rubber Vine, a highly invasive, escaped garden plant. It has overtaken many areas in the Gulf and Peninsular, and while it chokes out native vegetation, it also makes mustering extremely difficult and expensive. These couple of stands were out on open country, but once it gets into creek systems. it forms impenetrable thickets, that cattle love to hide in. :-)



Also saw about a dozen rabbits that night, travelling between The Lynd, and Whitecliff Gorge Ck, where I camped, not far from Porcupine Gorge N/P.

Bob

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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Wednesday, Jul 01, 2015 at 20:50

Wednesday, Jul 01, 2015 at 20:50
Hi Bob

Yes it was great to finally catch in person, and I can assure you that we will return again to your great little town.

Those are interesting photos and thanks for posting them. Fossil Brook looks an interesting place and a place to camp.

We can not get warm since we arrived home, with every morning below zero and daytime temperatures no more than 13°.....bloody cold.

All the best.


Regards


Stephen & Fiona
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Reply By: get outmore - Wednesday, Jul 01, 2015 at 12:27

Wednesday, Jul 01, 2015 at 12:27
something doesnt have to be not natural to the bush to be a rare sight - just out of place

Ive posted here before about the 000s of pelicans that suddenly decended on my home town of Wudinna on the Eyre Penninsula
they covered both the town and school ovals which kind of adjoin
they quickly moved on and from memory the last straggler left after about 3 days

this was probablly the early 80s if not 1980
and most most likely the Pelicans returning to the coast from Lake Eyre filling in 1974 as it dried out and stopping for a rest
a very unexpected natural phenomana in a town where not much happens
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Wednesday, Jul 01, 2015 at 20:56

Wednesday, Jul 01, 2015 at 20:56
Hi Get Outmore

Thanks for that great piece of information, thanks and those birds in that number would have been a real sight to see.

I did not realise that you were a South Ausssie and a west coast lad.

You have great country over you way and we always enjoy the area around your town.

Cheers


Stephen
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Reply By: Mike W1 - Thursday, Jul 02, 2015 at 23:01

Thursday, Jul 02, 2015 at 23:01
Hi Stephen,

In 1988 I was camping a coupla clicks outside Nyngan on the river with a few mates (fishing etc.) We had consumed a few refreshing amber liquids and it was quiet late when we saw a fully grown Indian elephant wondering past the camp, It was a sobering experience with an older bloke with us saying "Jeez the pigs grow big up this way" Macca always had a way with words

It turned out that it was from a circus in town and had pulled his chain.

Cheers Wilko
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Reply By: Member - Scott M (NSW) - Sunday, Jul 05, 2015 at 11:18

Sunday, Jul 05, 2015 at 11:18
I'm surprised no-one has mentioned 'plane-henge' ....
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