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, 20 June 2014

Around Oz Part 5 - Nitmiluk National Park:Katherine Gorge, Edith Falls

Katherine Gorge
After our exciting encounter with Rufous Owls at Mataranka (see previous post) we moved on to Katherine and Nitmiluk National Park. We opted to spend one night in the main camping ground at Katherine Gorge - in the southern portion of the park - and two nights in the northern portion at Edith Falls (Leliyn).
Savannah viewed from gorge lookout
The main Katherine Gorge area is extremely touristy and the camping ground extravagantly expensive, but the beauty of the gorge is spell-binding, with towering sandstone cliffs lining the Katherine River. I'm always impressed by the vista of endless tropical savannahs enjoyed from the various look-outs..

Rockhole - Katherine Gorge
We did two walking trails - Baraweit and Windolf. I've been to Katherine Gorge several times previously and while still impressive, it is unfortunate to see it so commercialised.
Katherine Gorge
At the cafeteria, ultra-tame Blue-winged Kookaburras and Great Bowerbirds were quick to snatch food from tables. Northern Rosellas came in to drink around tents. Other birds seen in the surrounding sandstone areas included Helmeted (Sandstone) Friarbird and Chesnut-quilled Rock-Pigeon, while Red-tailed Black Cockatoos and Bush Stone-Curlews were about the camp. .

Great Bowerbird
Northern Rosella
A huge colony of tens of thousands of Little Red Flying Foxes is established along the river in the vicinity of the park headquarters.

Little Red Flying-Fox

Little Red Flying-Fox
Agile Wallaby
Agile (Sandy) Wallabies were abundant around the camping area. Little Woodswallow was nice to see in numbers, both at Katherine Gorge and Edith Falls.

Little Woodswallow

Edith Falls - main rockpool
After leaving the gorge we had to hang around Katherine until 2pm to pick up alcohol supplies (NT alcohol restrictions unsuccessfully attempting to reduce imbibing by indiginous people). We moved on to Edith Falls, a spectacular series of waterfalls in a beautiful area of rugged sandstone gorges. Lovely to cool off in the heat by plunging into the huge rock pool at the base of the falls.

Edith Falls

Croc trap - Edith River
Baited traps are set along the Edith River below the falls in case a wayward saltwater crocodile wanders upstream.

Antilopine Kangaroo
A group of Antilopoine Kangaroos crossed the road on the way in. Silver-crowned Friarbird was one of the more conspicuous birds about. The camping ground was pleasantly situated a short walk from the main swimming hole.

Silver-crowned Friarbird

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