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Monday, June 6, 2016

Tent Camping at Booloumba Creek Camping Area 3, Conondale National Park, QLD.

We decided to tent camp at Booloumba Creek Camping Area 3 because we couldn't resist camping on the creek bank. We were surprised to have the whole place to ourselves. No one else was camping in Camping Area 3 or Camping Area 4 while we were there. We don't think there was anyone camping at Area 1 either but we didn't go over to check. Our camping companions were Kookaburras, Brush Turkeys and the occasional Red-legged Pademelon. Night visitors to our campsite were Bandicoots and a large mouse of some type. Boobooks could be heard calling through the night.

Our campsite at Booloumba Camping Area 3
Red-legged Pademelon Thylogale stigmatica
We set our tent up on the tent pad provided and took our chairs to the waters edge. It was so peaceful sitting next to the creek and watching the birds come down to bathe in the afternoons.

Azure Kingfisher
Lewin's Honeyeater having a bath.
Booloumba Creek has crystal clear water; perfect for watching native catfish and tadpoles swimming along.

Eel-tailed catfish Tandanus tandanus 
We could hear a few frogs in the evenings but unfortunately we only found a Cane Toad.

Cane Toad Rhinella marina
We had better luck when we spotted a mature-sized Small-eyed Snake. These small highly venomous snakes are active at night. 

Small-eyed Snake Cryptophis nigrescens
The weather has been dry for a very long time and Booloumba Creek is drying up in patches. It is a shame to see the creek and it's wildlife under stress and so badly in need of a good rainfall. As it turned out we had to pack up and leave because a Severe Weather Warning was issued. It started raining during our last night and we had to do a wet pack up which reminded us of one of the reasons we have bought a van. Hopefully there was enough rain falling in the catchment to give Booloumba Creek some relief.

Artist Cascades Walk: Class 4, 10.6 km from the Day Use Area (less from Camping Area 3 and 4 and more from Camping Area 1). The Strangler Cairn Walk, Class 3 and the Gold Mine Walk, Class 3 are both on the way to the Artist Cascades.

The track from our campground led us over a dry section of Booloumba Creek and into the dark rainforest. We spotted a python crossing the track in front of us.

Carpet Python Morelia spilota
We have done all these walks before but we decided to take the short off-shoot to the Strangler Cairn to see how the Strangler Fig was growing since the last time we saw it. We didn't notice any progress, however, there did appear to be attempts to maintain moisture around the young tree so perhaps it had been suffering from the very dry conditions. Certainly the plants at the base of the cairn weren't looking too happy.

Strangler Cairn
We didn't take the side loop to the Gold Mine this time.

There were quite a few Logrunners scratching about in the leaf litter and Yellow-throated Scrubwrens on the path. Wompoo Fruit Doves were eating fruit in the tree canopy. Both Pale-yellow and Eastern Yellow Robins were about. We came across a Noisy Pitta but it bolted before we could get a photo.

Pale-yellow Robin.
Due to the very dry conditions and the low water level in Booloumba Creek we were concerned that the Artists Cascades would be reduced to a trickle so we were pleased to hear the cascades as we approached. We found a large rock to sit on and enjoyed a picnic before returning to our camp site. We didn't see a single person on the trail.

Artists Cascades
Our trip may have been cut short but we will be back to beautiful Booloumba. Full details about the campgrounds in Conondale National Park can be found here in a previous blog.

Wildlife List for this trip:
Red-legged Pademelon, Northern Brown Bandicoot, Carpet Snake, Small-eyed Snake, Cane Toad, Eel-tailed Catfish.
Birds: Australian Brush Turkey, White-faced Heron, Wompoo Fruit Dove, Brown Cuckoo-Dove, Australian King Parrot, Laughing Kookaburra, Rainbow Bee-eater, Azure Kingfisher, Noisy Pitta, White-browed Scrubwren, Yellow-throated Scrubwren, Brown Thornbill, Bell Miner, Lewin's Honeyeater, Logrunner, Eastern Whipbird, Eastern Yellow Robin, Pale-yellow Robin, Little Shrike-thrush, Grey Shrike-thrush, Golden Whistler, Grey Fantail, Rufous Fantail, Willie Wagtail, Magpie-lark, Satin Bowerbird, Grey Butcherbird, Pied Currawong, Torresian Crow, Red-browed Finch, Bassian Thrush.

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