Kirkalocka Part One

I am sitting in the camp kitchen at the nice, and the almost deserted, (except for a few hundred mozzies) caravan park in Mount Magnet, WA. We have had a pretty full-on few days up here in the western-central part of WA. I reckon I have to break this into two blogs. I need to get to some route planning, but I also want to share this journey. This blog helps to remind me, and to teach me, gratitude as I barrel-along in pursuit of the happiness that I already have. I am grateful.

Rolling up the Great Northern Highway, we arrived at Kirkalocka Station last Friday afternoon. As we were checking-in at the homestead, we had our first lifer, a gorgeous male Western Bowerbird! Grateful indeed. It is an awesomely beautiful bird.

Western Bowerbird 
Amazing. It almost glows.

Soon we met our new friends Ross and Carolyn. Once again my facebook friend, Phil Lewis has introduced us to very cool people (Ross runs the Western Australian Birds facebook page). Kirkalocka is rustic and very basic, and it's the real thing. It is an outback station. There is no internet, no mobile service, it is out there. And I love the name. I swear it sounds Floridian. Its main allure to me is that it is very centrally located for birding in the region.
There was a working gas range there (see below), but these are the original stoves.        

We left early Saturday morning with our new friends heading north to Cue. We went through the sleepy little town and further along to where Ross had previously seen Banded Whiteface. After a few stops and a bit of looking we had them. Tick! They are very cool little birds and they can certainly blend-in with the ground (see the photo). I am grateful.
Banded Whiteface 
On the rocky ground, they do blend-in, don't they?
We also stopped Walga Rock where there are aboriginal petroglyphs and had a wander about there. Amazing.

Lynn and Carolyn  
Lynn and I took our Banded Whiteface Lifer Selfie in front of the rock. The flies are ridiculously numerous. In this photo there is one going into my left nostril.

We birded around up there in several other spots. We thought we had Slaty-backed Thornbill, but I was not satisfied with my views (yes again, I had thornbill doubt). At the end of a long, lovely day, we went back to the station for the night. The stars were as amazing as they can be in the outback. I was deeply touched by the wonder… looking up into infinity. That view lives here in my chest. We are stardust. I am grateful.

Sunday morning at 6am, Russ took us just across the highway to the Western Quail-thrush spot. Within about a minute of walking up the slope, we had them. At least a dozen scattered across the hillside running about in the dawning light. What a delight! We watched them for about ten minutes, trying to get a photo in the low light and then… they were gone. As soon as the sun was really up, we did not see one again. Then Lynn said, "I am looking at a bird over there. It flew and I followed it and it's there on the ground." I did not see any bird there and then... yes! She had found a Spotted Nightjar! A lifer for her and a new year-bird. Sweet. I am grateful.

Two of the at least a dozen Western Quail-thrushes that we saw on that ridge.

Lynn's Spotted Nightjar!
Then we traveled south a bit and did a big loop out into the countryside so-to-speak. It is harshly beautiful out there. At one of the first places that we stopped and birded, Lynn and I got on our Slaty-backed Thornbill for certain. It is currently my favorite Thornbill. I am grateful.

Slaty-backed Thornbill for sure.
I wanted to do one big blog, but I cannot wrap my head around the past several days enough to get it done this morning, and there are a lot of photos. So I will stop here and hopefully, I will get the second half done tomorrow morning somewhere with internet coverage.

Birds. Peace. Love.