The Kimberley ~ Part One

26 Years Sober.

At our bush-camp on a ridiculously idyllic, wilderness riverside in The Kimberley, a Huntsman Spider the size of a child’s hand was hiding in my boot the other morning. I had slipped the boots on my bare feet and somehow I walked around sharing the boot with the spider for about five minutes. Seemingly it suffered no ill affects, but then it bit me. I suffered no ill affects either (it did sting a bit). It was an amazing way on 16 April 2016 to begin to my 26th year of sobriety. That this once massively addicted alcoholic (who was also agoraphobic) is now twenty-six years sober and out in the utter wilderness, and loving it, is just about unbelievable. Hell, it is unbelievable, but believe it. And I am grateful.

We entered the Kimberley on Thursday, 14 April and before we made our first camp, we had Sandstone Shrike-thrush. Tick!
Sandstone Shrike-thrush        

We were exploring a bit of this amazing wilderness with our new friend, George Swann. Thank you, Nigel, for introducing us! George knows The Kimberley better than anyone, and we are incredibly fortunate that it worked out for him to accompany us on a little birding trek across this amazingly wild part of Oz.

We made our first bush-camp somewhere out amongst it well off the famous Gibb River Road. It was a gorgeous evening (no humidity!). It was mostly clear and we ended up setting our scopes up to look at the sky. We saw planets! I saw the moons of Jupiter and the rings of Saturn! Just wow. That is an experience I will never forget. I am so grateful.
George and Lynn heading back toward our first bush-camp.
We began the next day birding around the dams near where we had bush-camped. Then we headed off bright and early along the Gibb and over the course of the day we picked up seven Life Birds! I will let the photos below mostly tell the tale.
Northern Rosella

Pictorella Mannakin

Silver-backed Butcherbird recording shot, sort of               
Lynn on the rocks
The view directly in front of Lynn where a White-quilled Rock-pigeon hopped up on that rock. It then flew to our left where I made its photo. We were doing a bit of "rock hopping" here. More about that in part two.
The lovely White-quilled Rock-pigeon

We headed away from the rocks to find three more lovely life birds.

Purple-crowned Fairy-wrens! We have now seen all of the Fairy-wrens. I love them all. We saw more Purple-crowns later in the week and I will have a few more photos of them in the next blog. 

Banded Honeyeater. We had looked for them around Broome with no joy. We saw lots of them in the Kimberley, but this was our first little group. 

The absolutely beautiful Varied Lorikeet. I just did not expect them to be that beautiful.
The day ended with the lovely camp mentioned in the first paragraph. Lynn even went down the river that night (the moon-brightness here is amazing) and had a wash-up on a big flat rock. She is far more comfortable going bush than anyone would have imagined. I am grateful.

As usual, these blogs are being written in bits and pieces over several days. I am in fact writing this part on Monday 18 April. We are exhausted and exhilarated, thrilled and dazed. I will go into more of that in Part Two, but now I am going to take an actual shower! I am oh, so grateful!

Stay tuned for Part Two and the quest for the Black Grasswren!

Birds. Peace. Love.