My recent 12 day camping trip to our KI land coincided with a burst of very wet and windy weather. With the help of the sheltering scrub at my 2 campsites, at the “ring of stones”, and the Simpson Track crossroads, plus my big Falcon wagon to sleep in, plus a weather proof tent for my gear, plus a LARGE umbrella, plus a certain acquired skill in improvising a campfire using jealously protected eucalyptus- oil- rich dry kindling leaves (the first day was dry) and saturated wood, I quite enjoyed the experience. When I say that the Cape Willoughby lighthouse 15 km NE of where I was, recorded 120 mm of rain over the 12 days, with 104 mm in total over the 4 consecutive wettest days and 41 mm and a gust of 106 kph on the wettest day, you will appreciate the conditions. The sea was fierce at times; the Willson River at Mouth Flat ran a banker, and the “ring of stones” at one stage was in a puddle!
The scrub is looking fresh, the vehicle tracks are good, all our signs are un-damaged and the orchids are having a good year. Too cold for goannas, but I did see one in a rare period of sunshine, down at Mouth Flat. I saw 3 echidnas, including one that the locals call a “blonde”, with cream coloured spines and pale fur. Plenty of ‘roos, their wet fur looking almost black, and a few wallabies too. One solitary Osprey on the coast at the end of our track; I suspect its mate would be brooding at the Black Point nest. Lovely big Shelducks in pairs were circling overhead, honking and keeping an eye on me at the crossroads campsite. The small birds were “lying low”, but special sightings were of pairs of Scarlet Robins, Golden Whistlers and Blue Fairy-wrens; the males all very colourful. Lots of Western Whipbirds singing and I managed to get a couple of quick sightings. They are exceptionally shy birds and it is always a thrill to see one. I heard Bassian Thrush calls in Simpson Conservation Park only a few metres from our land but couldn’t see them in the dense scrub and rain. I have seen pairs previously on our land only twice, and at least 20 years ago. Their call is like a quiet version of the introduced Blackbird.
I met 2 DEWNR fire officers in the Simpson CP quick response firefighting vehicle (in the rain!). They were assessing the Simpson Track (fire access track) and will trim a few over-hanging limbs before the summer fire season.