Wednesday 10th – when we woke up this morning it was cloudy and drizzling but it soon stopped. We had our regular visit from the chickens and the king parrots – the parrots were very funny – it’s almost as if they just come over to check us out and then off they go. We never got a visit from the lorikeets which was quite strange as they were the ones that climbed all over me at the bird feeding. We prepared a picnic lunch and drove up to Cania Dam. There was a lot more water in it now than when Sarah and Darryl visited the same spot eighteen months earlier or when we were here seven years ago. We drove on up to the highest point – it was a lovely, peaceful scene and a pleasant spot just to tarry awhile. Back in the 1870’s there had been quite a community living where the dam is now. People had flocked here in the hope of finding gold but most were disappointed and gradually the little mining township of Cania declined. People came to seek their fortune and more often than not ended up penniless. The area where the town
used to be was flooded in 1983 to make the reservoir. We went back along the road and stopped by the signs for the Shamrock Gold Mine and walked up the track to where the mine, one of the few, relatively successful ones, had been located. The narrow main shaft was still there, fenced off of course, but it was still possible to see the wooden lining which descended for some 180 meters. There was also a small display of rustic mining tools and an original double headed “stamper” used to crush the rocks before sluicing took place. It must have been excruciatingly hard and dangerous work for little or no return. We had our tea break there whilst mulling over what sort of existence most of the prospectors must have experienced. Some of the old photos were fascinating and at one time Cania supported in excess of 2000 people.
Back at the caravan we had some lunch and then went for a walk. Along by the entrance to the park was a creek walk so we decided to follow that. It was quite a wide creek with plenty of flowing water after the recent rainfall. There were lots
of overhanging branches and it was awash with beautiful butterflies of all sizes and colours – quite magnificent - but as I only had the small camera I wasn’t sure if I would be able to get any decent photos. As we walked along we could hear splashes as if some creatures were diving into the water but try as we might we weren’t quick enough to spot anything. Platypus had been seen in the area in the past. Were they still there? Who knows? Lots of the rainbow lorikeets lived in the trees alongside the creek so they chattered noisily. We also saw a wood swallow and a group of little friarbirds – they are part of the honey-eater family and just as noisy. Suddenly, in a tree opposite there was a commotion and we could see a smallish owl – it looked like a young bird and we think it was a Southern Boobook – a first for us. We got down to where the creek widened out and Graham saw the flash of a kingfisher as it flew to a more distant branch. As usual I was a few yards behind so I only caught the merest
of glimpses. Back at the caravan park there was the regular bird feeding session at 5:00pm and as it was Wednesday there was an outdoor film show. We were there at 7pm complete with our chairs and drinks and settled down to watch ‘Bran Nue Dae’ (Brand New Day), an aboriginal themed musical. It was a fairly harmless comedy though the story line was a bit naff but with a serious undertone (aboriginal hardships) and was a reasonable way to pass a couple of hours - and with bettongs for company!
Thursday 11th November and there was another birthday – Happy Birthday, Emma - our niece (Ben’s Mum) who lives in Melksham, Wiltshire.
Thursday came with a bit of drizzly rain but gradually that cleared and when it did we strolled along by the creek again hoping to see what was making the plopping noises but we still couldn’t. Graham saw another kingfisher but, again, I didn’t – I was happy to plod along behind him so that if there were any spiders’ webs or snakes he would be there first to deal with it (!) Having walked into an overhanging web once or twice he usually carries
a stick now just in case! This morning we were lucky enough see a red backed wren, another first for us. They are delightful little birds. The butterflies were out in force again – we thought of our friend Caroline who is a butterfly fanatic. She would love it here. There was one huge black and white butterfly that kept quite high and although we kept seeing it I couldn’t quite get a decent photo as it never seemed to land or come close enough.
Approaching lunchtime we took a picnic and drove back through the gorge to the huge picnic area where quite a few walks start, some of which we had done on our previous visit. After lunch we thought we’d just do a short walk which went alongside another creek. There was hardly anyone else around and it was a gorgeous spot. We were just about to set off when there was a terrible commotion mainly from white cockatoos – Graham ran over to see what was going on and saw a monitor, more than a metre long, disappearing into the undergrowth. Moments later, we were just going down some steps towards a mown area when
I spotted a snake slithering across the grass towards the water. It was about 10 metres away from us and then it disappeared. I decided I wasn’t getting anywhere near it but Graham took the camera and went to try to find it and he did! It was nestled in the long grass looking back at him. He quickly got a photo before retreating to a safe distance and then watched as the snake slithered into the water and swam upstream. It was about 2 metres long and after a bit of investigation we believe it was a red bellied black snake. They can give a nasty bite and should be avoided although they are not one of the most venomous snakes in Australia. We carried on with our walk but saw nothing else as exciting. We got back to the caravan park in time for another dose of bird feeding – I was beginning to learn my lesson and wore a long sleeved top but could have done with some gloves as well as one of the lorikeets made my finger bleed! That was enough excitement for one day so we had an early night!
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