Summer rains

Friday 20 March, 2015

During welcome January rains Reserve Managers from around the country posted images on our blog of wonderful flows and new life emerging.

Chiming wedgebill (Psophodes occidentalis). Copyright FLPA / AUSCAPE All rights reserved.Chiming wedgebill (Psophodes occidentalis). Copyright FLPA / AUSCAPE All rights reserved.

From our Bon Bon Reserve, in the driest region of South Australia, over 48mm of soaking rain fell in five days. That’s not a lot if you’re from the coast or the tropics and not enough to flow the creeks and fi l the salt lakes. But enough to cool things down and create some big puddles along the creeks and in the clay pans.

For context, 48mm is about a third of the average annual rainfall for the area.

Chiming wedgebills resumed their calls and the one and only frog species (a burrowing frog of course) could be heard enjoying conditions.

On Cravens Peak, on the edge of the Simpson Desert in Queensland, over 66mm fell in six days, including a torrential 47mm in just three hours. Coolibah Waterhole was filled and Lignum Swamp, which runs from the homestead to Coolibah Waterhole, came alive. Birdlife was quick to arrive.

Dust storms, intense heat, thunderstorms and gentle rain all visited Naree, on the floodplains of north-west New South Wales over January, but it also enjoyed the flow-on effect of rain further north. Up in Queensland, at the very top of the Warrego catchment in the Carnarvon Ranges, over 500km away, rain fell back in November and December last year.

Coolibah Waterhole. Photo Linda Welldon.Coolibah Waterhole. Photo Linda Welldon.

It hasn’t been enough to create a pulsing wetland just yet – but enough to entice us with dreams of what 2015 might bring.

Creeping water had been slowly filling dry creek beds and making its way down for several weeks, heading for the Darling River near Bourke.

The small, silent flow reached Naree in mid-January, along the Cuttaburra

Reserve Manager Mike Chuk and his dogs splash through Homestead Creek at Bon Bon. Photo Julia Harris.Reserve Manager Mike Chuk and his dogs splash through Homestead Creek at Bon Bon. Photo Julia Harris.

Creek, filling the parched stream bed and waterholes over several days. It was the first flow from the Warrego River into Cuttaburra for three years.

It was enough for water to trickle into some unexpected places. The Back Creek Swamp is a secluded spot where, in the right conditions, rising water from the Cuttaburra takes a back-route through tiny channels to join the massive Yantabulla Swamp to Naree’s west.

Waterbirds were found feeding and woodlands around the swamp were alive with all kinds of birds, insects and other creatures.

It’s wasn’t enough water to create a pulsing wetland – but enough to entice us with dreams of what 2015 might bring.

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