Three days at Gluepot Reserve
The 5o kilometres of dirt road into Gluepot was in reasonable condition giving us a good ride into the property. After registering and paying our $10.00 per car per day camping fees, we set up our camp at the Babbler camping grounds site. There were four other people there so the place was not over crowded. The afternoon that we arrived it was overcast with poor light and by the time we set up camp it was getting late. We checked out two of the hides but with darkness closing in it was back to the caravan to cook dinner and have an early night.
Gluepot has an area of 27 kilometres X 18 kilometres consisting of roads and walking tracks that can be used by visitors to the area. The hides are set up with a raised water trough that is kept full, and under normal conditions this is the only water on the property except for dams at the Ranger Station. All the birds have to come to one of these water troughs to drink. They are built high to prevent animals such as ferrule goats from drinking the water. There are still many birds such as wrens that do not come in to drink. There are five hides on the property and they are all several kilometres apart. The nearest one was 9.5 kilometres and the furtherest was around 16 kilometres from our camp.
On our first morning the sky was crystal clear turning golden as the sun came up. The glow through the Mulga trees was spectacular laying the darkened trees on a golden background. These trees have a thin leaf canopy layer and clump from the root system giving the effect of many trunks at different angles and very little foliage between the tops and the ground. Our routine for the next three days was the same, Get up before daylight and leave the Caravan just before sunup. Sit at one of the hides and then go to a second hide before exploring the bush for the birds that do not come into the water. Lunch was back at the caravan and then out again to check out the hides and bush walks.
On Friday morning we were treated to a brilliant sunrise. Cloud had moved in during the night and this gave Mother Nature the canvas on which to spread her paints. We realised that it was going to be special and headed out into an open area where we could watch the display of colour and light. We were not disappointed.
Four main species of birds frequented the hides, and these were Ring Neck parrots, Mulga Parrots, Spiny Cheeked Honeyeaters and Red Wattle Birds. Other species were also present but only with one or two birds coming in. Our favourite hide was Grasswren, mainly because it was good for photography and it seemed to have the most birds. It also had a resident Collard Sparrowhawk which caused havoc attacking the birds in search of a meal. The last morning we were there, it came in and landed at the water trough and proceeded to have a bath. It repeated this three times before returning to the canopy of the trees to dry in the sun. In the end a Red Wattle bird ended up attacking it and chasing it away. Yes, true story. The wattle bird flew straight at it and then chased it. Some of the other birds that I managed to photograph were: Striped and White Eared Honeyeaters, Red Capped Robins, Chestnut Rumped Thornbills, Nankeen Kestrel, Brown Treecreepers, Rufous and Gilberts Honeyeaters, Grey Fantail and as I was about to drive out the gate I saw and managed to photograph the elusive Black Eared Miner. We saw many other birds as well but did not get to capture them with the camera.