Bunya Mountains_Day 2

Sunday 6th October 2013

We were woken up by nothing else than hundred of birds singing, this was awsome even if it was at dawn. Then we fell asleep again, and then the sun hit the tent (bottom left) at 7.22am and it was worse than any alarm clock. We jumped out of the tent shouting “Woo, it’s hot!” Lesson learnt. Always, always put your tent where the shadow will be in the morning, particularly in Australia where the sun is a killer, as soon as he is up in the sky!

Westcott Camping

After some breakfast, as Eric and Madi had planned to do the same walk as us, the boys went to leave their car at the ending point of the walk in Burtons Well, and came back with our car. Convenient, so that none of us would have to walk back on the road from there to the campground. While we were waiting for them, this little bird came to say “Hi!”. It’s a white-browed scrubwren. (Thanks Robert Ashdown! 🙂 )

little bird

We started walking around 10am and for the next 4-5 hours, we went from Westcott campground to Burtons Well, via Koondaii, Cherry Plain lookout, Bottle Tree Bluff and Ghinghion lookout.

Bunya Mountains walking tracks

The area was pretty dry:

dry

After only a few minutes, we saw a lace monitor freezing and staring at us. We saw two more later. Robert Ashdown told me that this particular one has an unusual colour form known as “Bells colour form” because it has a banded pattern rather than spots and blotches.

guana

We saw a rhinoceros tree.

rhinoceros tree

And a dead horse tree.

dead horse tree

And some cheeky tree, which seems to have someone hiding under it, waiting for you to walk by to say “Surprise!”

DSC_4938

Right after we saw some yellow and black echidna but it was really well hidden sadly, hard to photograph.
We saw more bunya trees.

bunya trees

And some funny palm trees called grass trees which looked like some pygmy people observing us, eyes full of curiosity.

grass trees

While searching the name for that tree, I actually discovered that it was in the past referred to as blackboy, which refers to an Aboriginal boy holding up a spear, but then as the name was offensive, people called it instead grasstree. I learned from Wikipedia that the Aboriginals used the flowering spike as a fishing spear.

And the beautiful view with some more cactus.

view

And a Piglet tree looking for his friend Winnie the Pooh.

Piglet tree

And a snake tree getting into the water.

snake tree

And more beautiful view.

more view

And the face of a grumpy rock. Probably someone so grumpy that the gods of the mountains transformed him into a rock. Ahah.

grumpy face

And more more beautiful view.

view

And a monitor lezard tree.

lizard tree

And an elephant tree.

elephant tree

The elephant tree seen from the side had a very nice profile too.

elephant tree from side

We had a break at the Burton’s Well campground and then went for the short walk to Mt Kiangarow, the highest point around (1,135m high).

We saw a caribou tree.

caribou tree

And the beautiful view from Mt Kiangarow’s lookout with pygmies trees holding their spears. The few pygmy tree people we had seen earlier in the walk must have told them that we were coming and that they should defend their territory.

view from Kiangarow

We also saw Meadow Argus butterflies, contemplating their shadows.

butterflies

And a Lewin’s honeyeater eating seeds on one of the pygmy tree spear.

bird on spear

And more of the beautiful view.

view

And another bird, an Eastern Spinebill eating the flowers of the grasstree. Aboriginals used to soak the flowers in the water and the nectar from the flowers made a sweet tasting drink. The flowers were are used as a compass, as the flowers on the warmer, sunnier side of the spike (usually the north facing side) often open before the flowers on the cooler side facing away from the sun. Smart!

bird eating flowers of spear

An Eastern Yellow Robin.

bird

A Golden Whistler:

bird

Before to exit the forest, we saw the witch’s broom, ready for her to take off as soon as the new moon would be rising.

witch's broom

And her cauldron tree which transforms in a real cauldron at night and in which she cooks the great barred frogs (must be why we didn’t see any), as well as the children who were not obeying their parents enough.

caldron

And of course, I got a tick, on the belly! (or we could say, the tick got me…) Bunya Mountains is reputed for its ticks.
Had another one in the evening, on the neck! Yuk.

tique

Back at the campground, we made a fire. And the new moon appeared at twilight.

new moon

And we saw a ‘new moon’ set. Like a sunset. But for the new moon.
Disappearing already below the branches.

new moon set

And Scorpion was in the sky, my favourite constellation.

Scorpion

We heard the owl all evening while we cooked and gathered around the fire.

During the night, the wind was so strong that we thought the tent would blow away! We heard some people hammering their tents spikes in the middle of the night. I thought that a storm was coming, or a big rain, and looked outside but the sky was clear and the stars were gorgeous. It was just the wind, a crazy wind, so crazy it got all of us sleeping at the campground nervous and uneasy, not sleeping well, unused to the nature’s force and sounds of that wind that we don’t hear as much in the big cities.

Huge thanks to Robert Ashdown for helping me out identify the birds names!Check out his awsome blog here: http://www.robertashdown.com/blog/


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