Day 5, Rockhampton to Windorah
Observer: Richard Kingsford
Royal spoonbill on the lagoon at Botanic Gardens
Yesterday – the rest day for our pilot Tim – gave us some time to go down to the Rockhampton Botanical Gardens and see some of the waterbirds from land.
Surveying the Callide Reservoir
Callide coal-fired power station
Coal mines around Biloela and Moura
The dams around here are all also only 30-40% full but with so little water around, many of them had ducks, mainly grey teal, black duck and wood ducks.
Most of the long lagoons around Moura had little water, except for one lagoon with water. Another had a small patch of water where there was a large flock of hundreds of plumed whistling-ducks on one of them.
Surveying a lagoon near Moura
The drought was again clearly on display, despite the green tinge of the land, because none of our usual major wetlands around the town of Rolleston had water. And then from there we flew west to pick up a dry Barcoo River which passed the town of Blackall where we refuelled.
After this, we continued cross the major rivers that sweep down this part of the Cooper Creek catchment. Only the Thomson River had waterholes which had filled during the floods earlier in the year. At this time, they were just patches of water in the landscape. The waterbirds were few and far between, only a few egrets, pelicans and herons on these waterholes.
We overnighted on a property just off the survey band. In the years of working with the people of the Lake Eyre Basin, I have got some deep friendships with people living on this great river system.