Author Dorothy L. ◦

WOW so much water in the gorge, the banks are wonderfully green, the sky is cloud free and a vibrant azure blue. Then I heard this loud squark, squark, squark, and there atop a dead tree is a lone Red-tailed Black Cockatoo!!

Red-tailed Black Cockatoo, Redbank Waterhole © Dorothy Latimer
Red-tailed Black Cockatoo, Redbank Waterhole © Dorothy Latimer

I walked along the bank, then the track but I was unable to see the rest of the flock of cockies. The lone Red-tailed Black Cockatoo is a male bird, although not sure if it is a juvenile and possibly lost it’s way from the rest of the flock.

Yes, had my camera at the ready and eventually captured a few in flight pics, hoping to get a splayed red tail photo. Sadly, it didn’t happen.

The only other bird at this time is the Brown Goshawk chasing a Butcherbird. I suppose that’s why there’s no small birds, as a bird of prey is in the close vicinity. Oh, there they are budgies. Not in flocks… oh, they’re at it again, mating!!

The Black Cocky is flying around calling out for all to hear but to no avail.

WOW, behind him,  three Bustards!!! Camera up focusing click, click, click. Refocus click, click, click. I checked my camera, just the first photo, all appears in focus.

I waited around for a while for something else to happen, but lost interest, so decided to go down to the river crossing. The road has been blocked for some time by the looks of it, because of the heavy rainfall earlier this year.

I surveyed the big pools of water expecting to find lots of insects, maybe frogs but absolutely zilch, nothing, zero. What a disappointment.

So I walked in the water as you do!! with my boots on, aha so calming and beautifully refreshing to my feet. I sat on a fallen tree just looking at the shapes and colours and smoothness of the river stones. Glorious, wouldn’t be dead for quid’s.

I took several videos of the gurgling river flowing leisurely past me. Budgies in the trees above coming down for a quick drink. In the trees, in the Hugh River and on the banks, there is debris from the recent rain. The water must have been a minimum 2-3 metres above the banks. There is remnants  of debris at least a hundred metres beyond the river towards the Stuart Highway.

The sand in the river is deep and very, very soft. Tyre tracks going across and I wondered where the driver had exited, as the banks had either eroded away or were just a red wall.

Returning along the track, swotting the ever present flies from my face, seemed an endless task. I drove towards the highway until I spotted some flowers, lovely purple succulents named Pigface (a parakeelya). You see them everywhere inland, as well as on the coast, and in peoples gardens.

Parakeelya, Redbank Waterhole © Dorothy Latimer
Parakeelya, Redbank Waterhole © Dorothy Latimer

Out of the car, camera on macro, walking away from the road into the spinifex, native grasses, I see insects!! Not sure what but who cares!! I see what I thought was a Hover Fly, hovering then dipping to the red sand, flying off not sitting still waiting for me.

A Sand Wasp, family Sphecidae, Bembix sp. It flew off, then returned to the same hole and started flicking away the tiny granules of red sand from the hole. After a few seconds, into the hole it went. More sand being flicked from the den.

Yep, I took a short video!!

Further along among the grasses and Acacia trees there is movement on a bush. A big black wasp-like insect, but doesn’t seem to be that. Doesn’t matter click, click, click. Hmm, interesting. A Thynnid Wasp. Have no idea what the common name is but….. hope to find out soon. Then another wasp eating something… no it’s a Robberfly… the angle made it hard to name.

More Pigface, lovely brilliant purple flowers, this time I was only able to achieve two photos before it flew off, to somewhere. It was a Bee, I’m sure of it. Turned out it was from the Scoliid family… well it looked like a bee.

Scoliid Wasp / Parakeelya, Redbank Waterhole © Dorothy Latimer
Scoliid Wasp / Parakeelya, Redbank Waterhole © Dorothy Latimer

By this time it was getting on to lunchtime, and hot so I decided it was time to go home. A day in the life of Redbank Waterhole…