Moama to Heathcote

Twice now we’ve huge colonies of many thousands of Fruit Bats, one colony roosting during the day in Ipswich near Brisbane and a second colony setting off on an evening foraging expedition at Toowoomba. Now, at the campsite in Moama, we have a colony of several hundred (maybe not thousands) Sulphur-crested Cockatoos.

Sulpur-crested CockatooThese are the chaps; they are large birds. If anyone remembers an old TV show called “Baretta”, it featured an American cop with a comedic pet Sulphur-crested Cockatoo injecting a bit of light relief. In the evenings at our campsite, several hundred of these birds, maybe not quite thousands, burst into noisy life flying around between the many gum trees of the campsite cackling furiously.

This morning I talked to one of the locals and, whilst we, as tourists, found it all a very entertaining spectacle, they didn’t find the aggregation quite so amusing. The group sometimes descend on a tree in town  and strip it more or less bare and apparently upset golfers by digging up the golf course, presumably looking for grubs.

Today we were off to our final road trip stop in Heathcote before handing Busby II back. Heathcote is almost 100kms from Maui in the north of Brisbane. Heathcote is just about 100kms from Moama, too.

We broke the short journey with stop for coffee and a custard tart in Rochester, which we chose ‘cos it has a river but there was poor access and no wildlife action. We continued choosing a back road which past a lake but that turned out to be too large and too far from the road so I just kept driving in all the journey took little more than an hour.

Happily, at Heathcote we were expected again. Francine’s online booking before we left the UK had mostly worked well, particularly for sites with an online booking system. We found our hardstanding pitch and got Busby II settled for the last time, before going for a wander.

There was a large neatly mown grass area in the centre of the site which seemed a bit odd to me at first in that it could’ve housed more camping units. It looked a bit like a cricket pitch but was actually used as an evacuation assembly area. This was another town subject to flooding. The grass was less a little less neat in that it was clearly also being used as someone’s toilet – the grass was adorned with neat droppings.

Anax papuensis, HeathcoteTigertailI went down to the river, with its flood depth indicators, just outside the campsite and wandered along that. Things looked unpromisingly quiet, at first, despite the access being reasonable. Eventually that changed as we began seeing dragonflies hunting over and beside the river. On the left, an Australian Emperor (Anax papuensis) unusually offered itself up for portraits and, on the right, I did find what I think is a brand new Tigertail for my collection, which I believe is a Royal Tigertail (Parasynthemis regina).

Roos at HeathcoteIn the evening, the perpetrators who had been using the evacuation area as a toilet came into the campsite and showed themselves, a mob of 10 or so ‘Roos. They were, naturally, quite habituated, and the young ones were a delight. Even some of the Australian campers seemed entertained.

Next stop Stanley, this time in a car, via Melbourne.

Posted in 2024-01 Australia