PHOTOS from Goulburn River NP
We camped at the Big River campground in Goulburn River National Park in early March in 2016, as part of our week-long trip south.
Please find the photos from this camp-ground, below the text.
Perched above the Goulburn River, the view from the campsite was spectacular with stunning rock formations, but the site was disappointing in terms of bird-life, probably because the whole area was dominated by noisy miners. These native birds congregate in large family groups and, like bellbirds, are highly aggressive towards most other species that try to share their territory. A few species seem to be able to co-exist with them, but most of the smaller birds were gone. Laura and Pete saw Superb fairy-wrens (blue wrens) down near the river, but they were very fearful and difficult to photograph.
I witnessed their aggression towards a lone eastern rosella which they pursued from tree to tree, a dozen times, until eventually it flew away. Galahs and cockatoos didn't seem to feel threatened, and small flocks of musk lorikeets (a new species for us) flew in noisily and then seemed to be able to evade attention by feeding very quietly on the new fruits of just-flowered eucalypts. Other larger birds, magpies, currawongs, and kookaburras didn't seem to be attacked. Noisy friar-birds fed in trees on the other side of the river, maybe out of the danger zone.
Black-fronted dotterels and a family of magpie-larks (which we call peewees) foraged along the edge of the shallow water, and a white-faced heron flew in for a brief visit.
Eastern grey kangaroos were common and began appearing in the middle of the afternoon. Our spotlights found a brush-tailed possum in the trees above the camp-ground just after dark, and later a single red-necked wallaby. An old burrow was the only evidence we found of the presence of wombats. Wombats seem to be eluding us inspite of our efforts to find them.
In the absence of birds, insects were prevalent, in spite of the dry nature of the woodland environment and the sparseness of the grassy understorey. Locusts and grasshoppers surged away in short clicketty flights as we walked through the grass, and then blended perfectly in with their background, making them very difficult to find. Locusts had the curious habit of turning to face you after they landed (minimising their profiles) or retreating to the far side of a grass stem, making them difficult to photograph.
Scarlet percher dragonflies (I think), a species common around Australia, and a pair of mating damselflies posed conveniently for photos. Ants made huge low mound nests covering the ground for several metres, and the enormous sticky webs of the large female golden orb-weaver spiders were strung up between trees, which, along with the webs of spiny orb-weavers, created booby traps for people trespassing in their woodland areas on the hillsides. And as we were packing up, Laura found a scorpion that we photographed, near her tent-site.
We were so disappointed at the lack of variety of birds at this camp-ground, that we cut our visit short and left after only one night. But I think it would provide a great camping experience for children, with wide-open spaces, rocks to climb, woodland to explore, insects to study, and the river to paddle and swim in.
Laura provided the scene shots used in this gallery of photos. Thanks Laura! I find that I am often too lazy to swap the long lens on my camera for my wide angle lens. Laura has solved this problem by having two cameras!
Big River camp-groundThis is a view of part of the Big River camp-ground in Goulburn River NP. The river was below the camp-ground to the right in this photo and could be accessed by a steep set of steps down the slope.
Photo provided courtesy of Laura. Thanks Laura!
Noisy minerIt was a very hot afternoon, even in the shade, when we arrived at the campsite and this noisy miner is trying to cool down by holding its mouth open and its wings out from its body.
The large group of noisy miners that dominated this camping area may have been responsible for the shortage of other bird species, even in the adjacent woodland.