Day 2 - Birdsongs and sausage stew

After an early unseasonably warm night we woke to a mild cool morning with some light rain showers.

After an early breakfast we set out with Boyd to check on the Sand ridge trap line above Camp 1 (S 25 degrees 51.319 minutes E 138 degrees 6.203 minutes). This turned out to be particularly fruitful with two skink specimens (Ctenotus leae) and the Striped Skink (Ctenotus taeniatus). The pit traps along the dune crest and over the crest of the dune were also very fruitful with the capture of a Desert Hopping Mouse (Notomys alexis), a Hairy footed Dunnart or possibly a Lesser Hairy footed Dunnart (Smithopsis hirtepes), a Beaded Gecko (Lucasia demaeum) and a Sandy Inland Mouse (Pseudonis hermanbergensis).

Michael and lizard rotated

These specimens were weighed and recorded. After loading the camels we set off walking along the swale (shallow depression between dunes or the interdunal corridor). I walked along the sand ridge line with Boyd always keeping the camels in view. The 12 camels walked at a fast pace and keeping up with them was difficult at times.

Camels walking

The sand ridge was rich in bird biodiversity. There were many species of birds that included the Little Button Bird, the Australian Wood duck,, the Diamond Dove, the Black Fork tailed kite ,the Spotted harrier, the Wedge Tailed Eagle, the Australian Nankeen, the Brown Falcon, the Cockatiel, the Budgerigar, the Pallid Cuckoo, the Red Backed kingfisher, the White winged Fairy Wren, the variegated Fairy Wren, the Banded Whiteface, the Pied Honeyeater, the Singing Honeyeater, the Crimson Chat, the White Bowed Babbler, the Cinnamon Quail Thrush, the Chirping Wedgetail, the White Winged Triller, the Crested Bellbird, the Masked Woodswallow, the Black Faced Woodswallow, the Williewagtail, the Little Crow, the Brown Songlark, the Rufous Songlark and last but not least the Zebra Finch.

This amazing biodiversity in the dunes amounted to 30 species. As you might imagine the bird song while walking along the dune crest was spectacular. After reaching camp 2 by the side of the claypan and unloading the camels, we set off to carry out transect studies along the dune crest and lay new traplines. The landscape was different from around camp one with many more colourful herbs in flower. I carried out a transect species identification with Charlie and Judith along the 100m line.

After a lovely dinner (vegetable and sausage stew) we sat around the campfire and shared some stories. I went on a night walk into the middle of the claypan under the full moon. This was amazing as the moon light reflected of the saltpan creating a mystical effect. The night was warm and clear and I slept really well in my swag only waking once when the camels bell was heard close

Camels in a row