Karlamilyi (Rudall River) - A bustard of a day (Plains Turkey that is) Luck finds us at Tjarra Pool

Wednesday, Jul 04, 2012 at 00:00


Wednesday 4th July, 2012
Tjarra Pool, Karlamilyi

I had a restless night for some reason not made easier by the skin irritation I seem to have picked up. Maybe it was the washing powder but it’s getting worse particularly around the joints. Not Much to look at but irritating never the less. It was Pam’s memorial today starting at Midday so I rang Vik before departure to let her know I would be thinking of her. It was jaffles and tea by the creek for breakfast. As I sat quietly this morning, a dozen honey eaters were working over a nearby flowering gum. They were busy about their work oblivious to the intruder sitting quietly observing from nearby. The whole day was to have a nature filled flavour to it particularly on the twitching (bird watching) front.

We were away about 8:30 a.m. with the tuck truck out front on a road it knows only too well. Through the rough and washed out track we went. Entering the stony slopes of the Harbutt range, we encountered another party of three or so heading west. They had holed a radiator and were heading for Parnngurr. I scared up as few bustards from the roadside. The conditions were a mixed bag of sand, rocks, the occasional side track around a degenerated section of track, more rocky stretches and of course, corrugations although nothing like yesterday. We hit the Main Talawana at the Cotton Creek deviation in good time and from there it was all clear sailing on a magnificent track the 24 km to the Rudall Turn.

I was amazed at the red of the neighbouring dunes, plus their steepness and the predominance of snappy gums. Just prior to the turn, 4 camels were mooching by the roadside, the beasts in magnificent condition. We took a quick photo stop at the Rudall-Talawanna intersection and then headed in the 8 km to the southern (bottom) hand pump for morning tea. The locals had been at work and the grass around the pump area was burnt. The pump was US and not providing water at all. A camel skull adorned the base of one of the eucalypts. We had a cuppa and were visited by a couple of butcher birds eager for scraps. While doign the walk around, Jaydub found that they had sheered the bottom right shocker mount on the trailer so he quickly unscrewed the shocker from the top mount and removed it.

We were soon on the way again through recently fired areas. At one point I stopped as there were a couple of bustards on the track in front of me. This was in the midst of a recently burnt patch, very recently in fact as there were still a few smouldering logs about. As I approached the bustard, camera in hand, I realised that there were in fact 4 birds in close proximity as they all took to the air. This spooked a dozen or so more birds that had been grazing across the scorched ground. The air was suddenly alive with bustards, more than we’d seen on the whole trip to date. The flock must have been working the recently burnt scrub for grubs, insects and seeds. They only flew a few hundred metres to the next patch of burnt scrub and we could again pick them at a distance searching the area for tid bits, and appearing to do quite well at it. Makes you wonder if the aboriginals used to fire the scrub and then lie in wait for our fine feathered friends?

A little further on we left the deep sandy rutted road for the rocky expanses of the Fingoon Range and its quartz studded hills and mesa.Tom Tit hill inspired a stop and photo shoot from its summit and then it was on across the Rudall and into Jarra Pool. Talk about blessed! I’m not buying tattslotto tickets again. Jarra pool was brimming with water and there wasn’t a soul in attendance! We had the place to ourselves, well around 1:00 p.m. we did anyway. We established camp on the sandy bank over looking the pool and then had some lunch, Suzette producing freshly baked bread for a fantastic sandwich. I received a call from my aunt’s wake speaking with Anthony, Jo sand Cam. Then it was unloading the quads and a wood hunt before attending to the domestic chores like clothes washing. The bird life about the place was phenomenal. Galahs, budgies, kingfishers and blue winged kookaburras, grebes, ducks, falcons and kites made for a photographers dream. Suze and I snapped quite a few photos.

I cooked a lamb Rogan josh with raita for dinner followed by a delicious butterscotch self saucing pud from suzettes camp oven. Great meal in a fantastic location by one of my favourite waterholes.

''We knew from the experience of well-known travelers that the
trip would doubtless be attended with much hardship.''
Richard Maurice - 1903
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