Sunday, 5 July 2015

NT Road Trip 2015: Part 21


Lajamanu is 100 kms south of Kalkarindji. We went from Gurundji to Warlpari country at the northern edge of the Tanami Desert. We stopped halfway for a look at a "jump down" towards the Victoria River catchment.

Lajamanu was originally called Hooker Creek. The original settlement was meant to be on a watercourse further south but the trucks got so far, they thought they were in the right place by a river and off-loaded the materials to start building the town. Unfortunately they picked a place in Gurundji country and as it was to be a settlement for Warlpiri people [who were being relocated because of drought], the local politics got a bit heated at the time. They were only about 10 miles out. "Missed it by that much".

The creek was a waterhole about 500 metres long.

Feral horses, cattle and a buffalo are in the area. The horses were being rounded up and shipped north for meat.

The waterhole was a bird magnet. I had seen plenty of budgies during the trip and Lajamanu did not disappoint. These seed-eating birds need access to water on a regular, perhaps even daily basis. All I had to do was sit and wait. The biggest flock was about 100 birds. They are very pretty.

Budgerigars Melopsittacus undulatus
"All aboard!"
Cockatiels Nymphicus hollandicus
Although not photographed by the creek, Yellow-tinted Honeyeaters, Ptilotula flavescens, were regular visitors to the very slight leak in the tap at the mission house.

On one of my afternoon walks by the creek, I came across this Wedge-tailed Eagle Aquila audax feeding by the road. After it had flown off, I investigated its meal and discovered remains of a bush turkey, Australian Bustard Ardeotis australis. Interesting, I thought, that a bush turkey had come to grief right by the edge of the road right on the edge of town. Then I remembered that the locals love bush turkey and I was observing the wing-and-leg leftovers of a recent indigenous meal.

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