Began the day with a chilly, early morning visit to Silverton Common in hope of finding Rufous Fieldwren. Pretty much as soon as we stepped out of the car we heard the distinctive call of another bird on the target list; Chirruping Wedgebill. We followed the call and soon found the bird perched in a small tree. Lifer number one for the day.
The Common is mostly covered in blue bush, and we wandered through it, keeping an eye out for the fieldwren. Within about half an hour we spotted one, perched on top of a small bush. It sat there quite happily, allowing us to get great views. Then it dropped to the ground and ran speedily through the bushes like a mouse. A great sighting.
A quick drive around Silverton, where a couple of donkeys were hanging out by the pub, and then back to the Living Desert. We wandered around the walking tracks for a couple of hours, seeing more wedgebills, Singing Honeyeater and Zebra Finch, but missing our target Redthroat. The sanctuary was very dry, so it's not surprising there weren't many birds.
Back in Broken Hill we grabbed a few supplies, fuelled up and hit the road north along the Silver City Highway, encountering a family of Emu crossing the road, a male with five stripey chicks. Turning east off the highway, we headed for Mutawintji National Park, travelling about thirty kilometres of sealed road and then about seventy of unsealed. The road was quite good, a few white, rocky patches, but mostly smooth red dirt.
About two hours after we left Broken Hill we arrived at the park. We headed for Homestead Creek Campground, picked a spot and paid the fee.
At 2:00 p.m. we set off on the Rockholes loop walk. The walk took us along the creek to Wright's Cave which has aboriginal paintings and etchings.
Continuing, we followed the dry creek bed, lined with high red cliffs, finding more etchings, this time frogs and goannas. Further along the creek, we came to a brolga etching. From here we chose to take the stairs up between the rocks, climbing up the escarpment to two man-made dams. Further up the escarpment we came to a lookout, with spectacular views of the gorge and red rock formations. We were quite high at this point, and skirted the edge of the gorge, descending back to the creek along a narrow track. Crossing the creek, we climbed another escarpment all the way to top, being rewarded with another spectacular view.
Travelling along the top of the pebbled escarpment, we came across our third lifer for the day, Little Woodswallow. The single bird perched perfectly in the afternoon light, giving great views, and then flew straight at us, showing the completely dark wing. I love obliging birds.
Continuing the walk, we began to descend towards the creek, reaching a point in the track that required us to repel down the rock face with a rope. That done, we then had to squeeze through a narrow chasm, and then follow the creek back towards Wright's Cave. By this time the sun was sinking and were beginning to get a little tired. Finally we reached the beginning of the loop and completed the walk back to camp. I enjoyed this walk very much, the scenery is breathtaking. The only thing I would say is bring a fly net! The flies were relentless.
We made camp, ate a quick dinner just as it was getting dark, and settled in to sleep at 7:20 p.m.