KALGAN RIVER QUEEN

IMG_8564Great trip on the Kalgan River Queen.  Guide Jack’s family had run this cruise for many years. He was very knowledgeable and good company.

It seems that we can thank the english vs french antagonism for the name “Kalgan”. Ironically, it has a deliciously french element of insult to it. Gov Stirling had a healthy dislike for the French and decided to re-name all those naughty french type names. The word Kalga is an aboriginal word for a type of frog!

Jack and his family had saved many pelicans from entanglement with fishing lines and the like, and several followed us for much of the trip. A pelican and her daughter had both learned to dance around in a circle to get a treat.

 

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We felt welcome thanks to dozens of Welcome Swallows. This one was making sure he knew what size fish he could catch.

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Squawking and crashing tree pieces led us to a flock of Carnaby’s Cockatoos, my first ever sighting of  these.

At the Sound end of the Kalgan River were several families of Australasian Darters. The females are whiter with a yellowish bill, and the males have much more dark feathers. The one with some black on the chest I gather is a young male.

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Down this end too, with the mudflats running up out of the Sound, Great Egrets stood majestically waiting for the fish to come to them.

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The imaginatively named Black Cormorants also frequented down here.

IMG_8602Further up the river, dozens of Australasian (known locally as “sacred”) white Ibis sprawled through the trees, celebrating their recent status as Australia’s most popular birds.

 

Then we were up into bird of prey territory. The White-bellied Sea Eagles and Osprey knew the boat and that there would be fish to be had – albeit dead fish.

They didn’t have it all their own way, with the gulls quite happy to risk torture and death to nick the fish. You get a sense of the takeoff speed!

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The Ospreys also enjoyed chasing dead fish.

IMG_8583Back out in the Sound, there was one of the few genuine Pelican rookeries on this side of the country.

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These Western Grey Kangaroos have evolved in an interesting way. Some years ago, the owner of the land told the cullers not to kill any kangaroo with a white spot on its forehead. Now a significant number have a white spot.

Thanks to Jack and the Kalgan River Queen. A great trip.

 

Michael Monaghan

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