Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Easter at Wyperfeld National Park

Wyperfeld is a good park for a camping trip in April; it is a comfortable drive from Melbourne, it is north-west so the weather is normally warmer and dryer than southern destinations and it is large enough that even if the campground is a bit crowded the trails aren't too busy. In fact once you get maybe a kilometre down the tracks most of the other campers have given up and gone back and then the rest of the place is deserted.
Southern Scrub-robin

Australian Ringneck
Sulphur-crested Cockatoos 

This year has been very dry and it showed. Where we normally stop for lunch in Horsham and look for Bush Stone-curlews all the underbrush has gone and the local hoons have been driving through between the trees and digging up the sandy soil even more. It seems that the Stone-curlews have gone too.
Lerp cases. They are sweet and sugary and are a favourite with small birds like hornbills and pardalotes

Striated Pardalote
Yellow Thornbill

Out on the road very little is green and it was only around some of the watered areas like along the river and marshes at Jeparit that we found any trees in flower. The Wonga campground was also dry and dusty but we headed for the farthest end, near the start of the Discovery Walk, and found a nice flat spot beside a tree and a view out over grassland to a dry lake.
Our camp. It was a bit windy so we tied the veranda down to the water drum

View from the tent

Once we had walked out the Discovery Walk as far as Devil Pools we had the place to ourselves and in the tall River Red Gums beside the dry Lake Brambruk the Regent Parrots showed up, as usual. The Desert Walk track was the same and we found a nice side track where we saw no one and the Southern Scrub-robins called all around us and a nice Tawny-crowned Honeyeater sat up in the morning sun and sang.
River Red Gum standing beside the dry Lake Brambruk

Male Regent Parrot

Tawny-crowned Honeyeater. I find them a challenge as they sit high and sing but as soon as you try and get close they either fly away or drop down into the scrub. 
Desert Walk where the Southern Scrub-robins live

The only place we found other people in any sort of numbers was on the Black Flat trails. Most were leaving as we arrived which was nice, especially as they were the types that drove fast on the dirt road raising clouds of dust and forcing us off to the edge. Here we walked the Tyakil Nature Walk track and watched Tree Martins inspecting hollows in the River Red Gums. We also had our mystery bird for the trip just before we got to Round Lake. In a small stand of Cypress-pine we heard a whistler calling. It sounded like a Gilbert's or Red-lored but because the call had been brief we weren't sure. Logic says it was a Gilbert's because Red-lored is not found in the park but ..... We searched and searched but could not find the bird beyond a shadow moving in thick Tea Tree scrub. Sigh.
Tree Martins inspecting a possible nest site

The green bush centre right was where we had our mystery warbler

Female Red-capped Robin
Male Redthroat. Wyperfeld is the easiest place to find them in Victoria.

Our good fortune held out on Monday because we woke early and had the tent and car packed in time for a drive around the loop drive before heading home. Just as we got near the end of the drive the first rain drops hit the windshield and as we drove south the rain got harder and harder. The country really needed the rain so no complaints, but it was nice to have everything packed before it started.
Bullant Nest. It was approx 2 metres from side to side

Bull Ant they are at least 25 mm long and the pincers are impressive. I am told however that the stinger is in the tail and it REALLY hurts. 

At the opposite end the interpretive sign said that this massive hole is an air vent to an ant nest and the ants are no more than 2 or 3 mm in length.

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