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West Coast Bird Watching

Author: Carl from Pahrump (More Trip Reviews by Carl from Pahrump)
Date of Trip: April 2007

We spent the afternoon driving thru Cape Range NP. We saw six Brumbies, including an Irish one with a red mane. The Morning Glory Vines out here grow-up and totally overwhelm the surrounding bushes. They end up looking like Roses of Sharon.

rough rangeIn the late afternoon we drove up to Rough Range (22.097S 113.998E). This is where oil was first discovered in Australia in 1953. The road as you might imagine was rough.

The area is a thousand feet above the surrounding planes. It was formed by volcanoes. The views of the Indian Ocean from up here were awesome.

We hurried on to our home for the next two nights - Giralia Station (pronounced Ja-Ray-Le-uh). We met our hosts Denver & Jennifer, their 3 kids, 4 dogs, 5 cats and 3 horses.

Denver said they have a 35 Kw generate for the Station along with a solar power system. The generator runs 10 hours a day and powers the refrig, air conditioning, lights, computers, etc. The generator goes off at 9:30pm, which means no AC during the night. Denver said it costs them $24,000 US to run the generator a year; i.e., $2000 a month.

Jennifer said it is too cool now (102F today) for cyclones. A month ago when they had 3 cyclones in 3 weeks, it was 120 to 125F every day (they ran the AC at night then).

For dinner on the veranda we had home made pizza with a baked potato and salad. I had apricot crisp for dessert. We had dinner with Patrick, the only other guest here today. He owns a car dealership in Perth. He has been in this area for 2 weeks fishing and snorkeling. We spent some time looking at the awesome stars in the sky. We spotted the Milky Way and Orion. Patrick showed us the Southern Cross.

On April 8 we were out just as the sun came up at 6:35am for a bush walk. What we mostly saw were flies. They worried us the whole time trying to get in our eyes, ears, nose and mouth. We had heaps and mobs of them on our backs.

For Br we had toast and bacon, with assorted store jams. They had a neat butter dish -- about 3 inches across and 1 inch high. You would have to cut one of our sticks of butter in half-length wise, and them cut the block in half to use it.

I asked Jennifer where she went shopping. She said they fax an order every Tuesday to Woolies in Canarvin (300Km away). The mail truck from Canarvin (they are entitled to get free mail delivery once a week) brings their order on Thursday, for a $4 freight fee.

This mooring we had three Chequered Swallowtails flying around the Red Bougainvillea bushes at the Station. Later in the morning, a couple hundred Zebra Finches came to the yard for water. They huddled in the trees till they decided we weren't going to harm them. After some went to the water bowel, an Australian Hobby flew over.

For lunch Jennifer fixed lunchmeat and cucumber sandwiches with grapes.

In the afternoon heat we rested. Late afternoon Denver showed us the School of the Air room for the kids. They are part of a school in Carnarvin with a principal and certified teachers. There are 40 kids going thru grade 7 (about 6 kids per grade) in the school. They go to school from 6:45am till 2pm on the state school calendar. They have a computer linked to the school via their satellite dish so they can talk to the teachers and have lessons. They receive 2 weeks of assignments in a packet that has to be returned and graded. Teachers come to the Station periodically to evaluate the kid's progress. Usually they have 2 governesses (tutors) for the kids, but at the present time Jennifer is doing that job.

India, the oldest girl who is 12 years old, will go to boarding school in Perth (1200Km away) next year. She will be there for 5 years for grades 8 thru 12. It is an all girls' school.

Denver showed us the pictures from March 1999 when Cyclone Vance came thru this area with winds of 267 Kmph (167mph), the highest ever recorded in Australia. The station buildings were in shambles. They spent a year cleaning up and them started rebuilding. Now things are better than before.

I asked how the sheep faired during the storm. Denver said 6000 lambs died from the storm and the aftermath.

In 2002 they decided to get out of the sheep/wool business. They sold their 30,000 sheep. Now the station is a wild life reserve, with a few feral sheep that evaded the round up.

For dinner we had a T-bone steak with baked French fries and a salad. For dessert we had Chocolate cake with cream. Beautiful!!

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