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Magnificent weather continuing – not a cloud in the sky at sunset. Very light breeze. Day was warm and excellent for walking. The clear skies will ensure another cold night tonight. Long walking day today – about 9km over undulating terrain covered predominantly in spinifex and saltbush made for rugged walking with occasional respite afforded by dry and not so dry claypans. Once again we have chosen to camp on a dry claypan as it suits the camels for loading and unloading.
The Zebra finches are clearly doing well after the rain and flush of growth – they are by far and away the most dominant bird species. Today we saw a family group – the young birds identifiable by their dark bills, compared to the bright orange of their parents. We were attracted to them by their begging calls and watched them being fed by their attentive parents. Several members of the group are interested in the array of tracks on the sand dunes and we spend some of our time debating over fox, dog and cat tracks, the amazing “highways” of rodent tracks and unusual slide marks that could be snake, lizard or tail marks. Bustard tracks were found today, characterised by the three toe print, and dragging nail marks. Later in the afternoon we flushed a Bustard from the Gidgee scrub which caused excitement and wonderment in the group.
The camels have settled in to their work on the trek. The first few days were trying for the cameleers, who had to work very hard to lead the “strings” of 19 camels through the desert. It was also a steep learning curve for us, learning to help load and unload the camels and fit them into their saddles each day. We’re all getting into the groove now and the morning loading is smooth and efficient, for both people and camels! The afternoon unloading is pleasant and relaxing, with ample opportunity for rubbing down our “favourite” camels and giving them cuddles. The camels are very vocal and we can tell they enjoy their afternoon hugs as they sigh and in some cases, lie their head right down on the ground.
Birds: White Backed Swallow, Rufous Crowned Emu Wren, White Winged Triller, White Backed Swallow, Australian Bustard, Chirruping Wedgebill, Australian Hobby.
Reptiles: Central Military Dragon