Day 6 - encountering rare birds and a troubled camel

After a beautiful pasta dinner we sat around the campfire and listened to Boyd and Charlie telling us all about the indigenous history of the Simpson Desert. The night was clear and windy at times and we woke to a lovely, mild and cool day. In fact, when the wind was blowing it was quite cold.

We checked on the pit traps but had no luck catching any reptiles or small mammals; although, we did think we saw a fox around the campfire during the night.

Michael Boyd setting the pit traps

              Setting the pit traps

We set off after loading the camels and walked along the eastern side of the salt pan. Judith, Boyd, Andrea and myself walked along the perimeter of the salt pan observing some more spotted dotterels, and orange chats in the salt bush. We also saw birds of prey such as the Nankeen Kestrel, the Spotted Harrier, as well as the Swamp Harrier and a Grey Falcon (this bird is quite rare).

We also saw a Button Quail, a Red-Backed Kingfisher. After lunch as we walked along the dune crest we saw an Eyrean Wren which apparently is also quite rare, as well as a Crested Bellbird. A beautiful Black Honeyeater was also spotted feeding on the Green Bird Flower or Regal Bird Flower (Clotalaria cunninghamii).

Michael Regal Bird Flower Clotalaria cunninghamii

Regal Bird Flower (Clotalaria cunninghamii)

This is also quite a rare bird, The Black-Faced and White-Breasted Woodswallow were constantly with us through the day, treating us to their spectacular aerial displays. Late in the afternoon Boyd went off in search of the White-winged Fairy Wren which was apparently heard but not seen.

Michael Black faced Woodswallow

      A Black-Faced Woodswallow

After lunch we crossed over the highest dune we had so far encountered on our expedition.

Michael Crossing the largest sand dune

               The sand dune

While traversing this dune Bronson’s load slipped forward and he became quite distressed so his load had to removed and re-loaded. This took some time so after re-securing his load we had to make camp. Camp 6 (S 25 degrees 48.44 minutes E 138 degrees 06.811 minutes) was situated in a lovely inter-dunal corridor with Gidgee bushes and rich red sandy soil. We set up our swags and immediately set out to the dune crest to prepare the pit traps. Another great day of trekking and it was a welcome change to be walking in cooler weather after the heat of the last few days.