Sunshine Coast Birds

Birding and other wildlife experiences from the Sunshine Coast and elsewhere in Australia - and from overseas - with scribblings about travel, environmental issues, kayaking, hiking and camping.

Friday, 25 July 2014

Around Oz Part 21 – Karajina National Park, Pilbara

Karajina National Park
After leaving Cape Keraudren (see last post) we travelled south to the De Grey River, where we intended overnighting, but unseasonally heavy rain had turned the place into a quagmire.  A brief excursion turned up the distinctive buff-breasted Pilbara race of Blue-winged Kookaburra but not that of the Black-tailed Treecreeper.

Blue-winged Kookaburra - Pilbara race
We moved on to Karijina National Park - regarded as one of Australia’s finest reserves - in the Hamersley Range, for a three-night stay. We put up with a generator the first night as the only spot left was in a generator zone (this place is popular) but moved camp the next day to a generator-free area.  There are a series of camping areas, very nicely arranged and maintained.

Dale Gorge - Fortescue Falls
The change in weather over just 24 hours as we moved south and inland was quite radical. The balmy winter days of the tropics are over. We have returned to decidedly cold nights. 
After the rains, the desert woodland here, a mix of eucalypt and mulga with plenty of spinifex and tussock grass, is looking lush and vibrant - a stark contrast with the drought-stricken woodlands of western Queensland.
Karijina - good-looking woodlands
 Dale Gorge, near the camping ground, is typical of the marvellous gorges and escarpments that have given this national park its reputation. They are awe-inspiring; the pictures tell the story. We walked both the rim and bottom of the gorge.

Dale Gorge

Dale Gorge - pool reflections

Dale Gorge - Circular Pool

Dale Gorge
Dale Gorge - Fern Pool
 A small colony of Little Red Flying-Foxes was roosting in the gorge at the Fern Pool. Among them were a couple of Black Flying-Foxes.

Black Flying-Fox
With so many shrubs in flower, it was surprising there are not more nomadic desert honeyeaters about; just plenty of Singing, Spiny-cheeked and Brown Honeyeaters, and Yellow-throated Miners.

Singing Honeyeater
It was nice to find a group of Painted Finches on the Dale Gorge path. The red-bellied form of the Plumed Pigeon was also here.

Painted Finch

Plumed Pigeon (red-bellied race)
Other birds about included Western Gerygone, Western Bowerbird, Variegated Fairy-wren, Inland Thornbill and Red-capped Robin.

Red-capped Robin
A Ring-tailed Dragon Ctenophorus caudicinctus was found in the spinifex.

Ring-tailed Dragon

A bit of night-time dinner-making in the night bush.  

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