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Published: August 11th 2013
The journey continued from Exmouth north east towards Dampier. Along the way we spent 3 nights bush camping at Yannarie and Robe Rivers.
As it happened, there was just a little water in the Yannarie River east of our camp, and in the evening we could see cattle coming down to drink. Some others in the camp also swam there. Not sure about the wisdom with so little water and so many bovine calling cards!
At all of these camps, there are river gums which are a haven for the smaller birds who need to hide from the whistling kites that are ever circling. Catching the birds with the camera is a different issue as they are very quick and tend to be well hidden in the trees.
However, as you will see from the photos, late afternoon they seem to do a little sunbaking before hiding away for the night.
We were surprised, (partly due to our ignorance), that we would find cockatiels out here in the outback. You will recall that we photographed some of these birds at the parrot centre at Kalbarri. Well, these looked just the same with their little coloured cheeks. The
cockatiels we photographed were at Yannarie River, but can be seen also throughout this region around the waterways.
At Robe River, we could see flashes of light as tweety birds darted between and inside the river gums. I noticed one such bird, duly identified as a budgerigar disappear into a knot hole on a branch. No one dared suggest I fibbed, but there was a degree of scepticism. However, as I had not reviewed the taste of any strong liquor, I trusted my sight and decided to get my chair and wait, and wait and wait for budgie to come back out. A little later male budgie arrived and Mrs popped her head out the knot hole. The photos tell the rest of the story. It looked to us that the male budgie was bringing food to his mate who was sitting on eggs in the nest. What a good man!
The drive between towns was interesting too. Huge arid plains with a variety of wild flowers making white or purple carpets. Flowering grass making shimmering white bands on hill sides. Embankments were often covered in purple flowering shrubs. We found more Sturt's Peas, but as we moved
Just starting to flower
north, we found the more classic black eyed Sturt's Pea. (Previous photos have been the scarlet version.) Much more rare is the pink and white or variegated flower which we have not seen.
Another great plant in this area is the Mulla Mulla. This is a relatively small flowering shrub, maybe a miniature version of Pussies Whiskers that we have grown in QLD. The further north we come, the more prolific this plant has become. They grow beside the road in the harshest environment.
We have landscape photos that look like great clumps of mondo grass making a textured bold green ground cover over large areas of dark red decayed red rock. I don't know if they are related to Mondo Grass, but I do know that they are as sharp as a syringe and not to be messed with.
Between Yannarie and Robe Rivers we crossed the Ashburton River. This river had plenty of water and was well worth the walk and photo shoot. Whistling Kites circled us, but were difficult to photograph.
The landscape is also dotted with odd shaped hills and rocky outcrops in the middle of the huge arid plains. Some were
Mulla Mulla 1
Whiskery conical flowers
large boulders strewn, others more like mini Ulurus. While some formations had the look of mining tailings, others were jagged slaty mounds with steeply jiggered points.
As we came further north in the Pilbara, we came across active iron ore mines and closer to Dampier, major gas wells with their processing plant and freight stations for the road trains.
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