Channel Country

The Channel Country is a region in Outback Australia. It’s name comes from intertwined river channels which crisscross the region. The Principle Rivers are the Cooper, Diamantina and Georgina Rivers that all drain into Lake Eyre in South Australia. That is if there is enough flood waters. Otherwise, the waters just evaporate into the hot dry land. With the Winton floods of last year enough water came down the channels and into the rivers all the way to Lake Eyre. It is an arid landscape where rivers flow intermittently, so this happens every 10 yrs or so. M

channel country sign

We left Birdsville heading to Bedourie and passed another stand of Waddi Trees (Acacia Peuce). We saw these same trees on the other side of the Simpson desert near old Andado earlier in the year. They can live up to 1000 yrs out here in the baking desert with little water. Amazing! M

waddi tree sign

waddi tree with budgies etc
Budgies loved the Waddi Trees
waddi budgie
So much nicer out of a cage!
baby black faced woodswallow
A baby Black Faced Woodswallow called out for her Mum who was on the branch above.
boot tree
On the road to Bedourie we came across this boot tree. There’s a bit more than boots on it these days. I wanted to add Steve’s thongs to this but he wouldn’t let me!
gibber and cigarette
Also on the road was a table and benches in the middle of nowhere on a gibber plain. On the table was a box glued down and in it a single cigarette. Maybe this is a ‘smoko’ stop for road train drivers? Maybe you are meant to leave a ‘ciggie’ behind if you use the table? We didn’t know what it all meant, but I had a scan around for the elusive Gibber Bird while I was there, just in case.
2nd hand shop
This is the so called roadside ‘OP Shop’ also in the middle of nowhere. Before all my op shop buddies get too excited, there was nothing good. OK, possibly the stainless steel 4 slice toaster- but we just didn’t need it.
carcoory sign
The Carcory ruins on the road were very nicely built and were once owned by Sidney Kidman himself. Most of the Waddi wood lintels were still good. All it needed was a roof. It would be nice to see this restored. It is part of Roseberth station.

beautiful but

Lunch was on a wetland near this bore, which was being used by a road gang. One of the workers came over to us on the wetland outlet to have a chat, while we ate our lunch. He was from Port Augusta and drove up the Birdsville track whenever he worked up here. Imagine taking the Birdsville track to get to work? They must think tourists are silly!

Our camp for the next two nights was at Cuttaburra Crossing on Eyre Creek, which comes off the Georgina River. It was a beautiful free camp and an amazing spot for birds. We could also get in the river when we were hot. It was just under 40deg, so it was great to cool off. We were amazed to find some Grey Nomads camping there for a few nights out there in the heat and trying to catch some fish from the river. M

cuttaburra camp
Cuttaburra Crossing camp on Eyre Creek was like an Aviary.
cuttaburra camps swim
Eyre Creek swimming. To avoid the thick clay mud on the bottom one had to “walk the log” to enter and exit. We were in there with all types of water birds with many others in the trees around us. There were a million finches around coming down to drink and raptors flying along on the hunt for food.
cuttaburra bird hide
There were 2 bird hides but we saw more from inside the caravan. I don’t know why Kedron does not market these vans with their bird hide capability?

An exciting new bird was the Flock Bronzewing which we failed to see in Birdsville. A strange looking pidgeon. This flock left this one behind.

stubble quail
The stubble quail was another new one for the list. I think this was spotted from in bed!I kept the binoculars handy at all times here. 

Black shouldered kite, Red-kneed Dotterel, Glossy Ibis, Diamond Dove

cheryl and graham
We stopped by and had morning tea (smoko) with our neighbors just down the creek. We were surprised to find Grey Nomads out here in the heat! Graham and Cheryl are from Longreach. They had sold their house and bought a nice caravan and were going to travel until they were sick of it or two old. Then he said they would buy a 5 acre property out of town and settle down. They were both 70 plus years old and Graham had been a Stockman all his life, hardly having any schooling. It was so interesting meeting this couple and hearing their stories. They had no problem being out here in the heat. They had a very fancy Bushtracker caravan, which was a brand we had also considered. They proudly gave us a tour and I couldn’t believe how spotless and glamorous it was, and out here in the dust! Meeting interesting travelers on the road who also love the outback is part of the fun out here. M

We stopped in Bedourie with a population around 140 for a break, a swim and some lunch. Bedourie is famous for it’s camel races in July. We had lunch at the pub and were served by a young German backpacker couple from Hanover. They were running the hotel and caravan park for the owner who didn’t like working at his pub and preferred to be out with his camels. Later we went for a swim at the local pool and the only people that were at the pool- were the German couple having a two hour break and some exercise. Funny how you can get to know half the town in a few hours out here. M

the bedourie royal
We had lunch at the Bedourie pub and had a chat with 2 ‘locals’ at the bar. One woman worked for the council and had driven from Birdsville for a meeting that day. That is 200 kms one way mostly on dirt! The other was the local church minister from Brisbane who made it out to Birdsville every 8 weeks to do a church service and at the other towns along the way. I asked him how many ‘customers’ he got for his last service. It was 2. It was a very special 2 he told us. It was a couple who owns many cattle stations in the area and the largest private land owners left in Australia. Sidney Kidman used to hold this title. Many outback  properties are now cattle companies.  M
ah the good ol days
I couldn’t believe these boxing matches still take place out here. There are always locals willing to come into town to have a box. They supposedly travel around with a doctor and a lawyer these days. M
why is bedourie famous
Bedourie was a sweet little town and it’s claim to fame is this special camp oven.
bedourie spa pool
After lunch we went for a swim in the town pool which is lovely. It was near 40 degrees. Once we were cold in the normal pool we jumped in the Artesian spa to warm up.
bore number 3 borer
On the road to Windora we stopped at the no 3 bore to check for new birds.
Australasian Grebe 4
This Grebe loves bore water!
dam cows
We were surprised to find water in this turkey nest dam. The cow hung out there and so did a few birds.
final approach
Brolgas coming in to land on the dam looked pretty funny.

 

gibber bird finally
FINALLY A GIBBER BIRD! Just when I was beginning to think they didn’t really exist Steve spotted one right on the side of the road. Mind you, this is after many walks across gibber stones, getting out of bed at dawn and then at dusk on the hot gibber. This bird sat on this rock right on the side of the road at midday in 38 deg. Who would have thought!
gibber bird back
Here is my back view!
gibber bird front
Aren’t I cute? I’ll pose for you!

We have not tried very hard to find birds on this trip. There were very few very early morning bird runs. We just go out looking when we feel like it. With the gibber bird we really tried hard, as it was bugging me that we had seen so much gibber, but not this bird. We had cocktails at camp that night to celebrate!

These gorgeous horses were on the side of the road. This was a very new foal still a bit funny on it’s feet.

the nullarbor has nothing on this
This area looked more treeless than the Nullarbor.

This area must not have so much of interest as they had no less than three signs to advertise this hole in the hill. One was complete with pointer in case you still didn’t see it. Do you see it?

It’s quite a business loading cattle onto a double decker road train and getting them all to stand in the right direction. All the stockmen worked with a cigarette in their mouths just like the ‘Marlborough Man’.

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