Travelling Australia - Journal 2011
11 May 2011 - Noccundra Waterhole
The night was cold with temperature of 8.1°C in the van just before 7 a.m. Our rule of thumb is that the van provides 3 to 5 degrees of insulation making the outside temperature about 5°C.

Last night we had put out a sticky mat in an attempt to get rid of some of our resident mice. We had been generously given some mats in Thargomindah; they are reputed to be the answer to mice and very hard to get. This one proved its worth catching two of our mice and as I was putting blankets away under the bed I found two more severely affected by poison and unable to run. So we got rid of four mice at one time; a fifth mouse had tried to hide at the bottom of the caravan external door a few days ago and had been quickly ejected. We had got rid of five mice; hopefully that was all we had onboard.
Noccundra Pub Noccundra Pub.

Noccundra Waterhole is one of a series of semi-permanent waterholes the Wilson River breaks up into after rain stops and the river ceases flowing into Cooper Creek. The waterhole is about fifty metres wide and at least several hundred metres long; we are near one end but cannot see the other end and there are no tracks going in that direction. The banks are lined mainly with coolibah but with some other species as well as two or three wattle species. The banks are steep, two to three metres high, but recent flooding was well above the level of the banks. Flooding in the Wilson River cut the road into Noccundra for several weeks very recently.

Bird numbers in the waterhole are high; mainly egrets, white-necked herons, ibis, spoonbills, and night herons. Most of these species, especially the egrets and herons spend their time standing on the edge of water looking for food items under the water. There seemed are too many birds for the length of shoreline available and there was often disputation when one bird tried to land on a spot claimed by another bird. Sometimes this was a case of egrets driving away herons or vice versa.
Birds on Noccundra Waterhole Birds on Noccundra Waterhole. A pair of yellow-billed Spoonbills are feeding at the water-edge behind a White-faced Heron. The Heron's diet is different to that of the Spoonbills so they are not taking the heron's food.

A large number of nankeen night herons were perched separately in trees along the waterhole. Mostly they chose a branch not at the top of the tree but from which they could look out across the water. The literature says this species is a nocturnal hunter which rests in seclusion by day; these ones hadn't read the book and were hunting from their over-water vantage points in broad daylight. There were more than twenty night herons, adults and juvenile, along the waterhole.
Travelling Australia - Noccundra Waterhole - page 2
Egrets and herons also perched in trees but they preferred the very top of dead trunks. Ibis (straw necked and glossy), as well as yellow-billed spoonbills, moved steadily along the edge of the water searching for food. Black kites circled and soared endlessly and there was at least one whistling kite soaring with them for a while.

There was no television coverage and no mobile telephone or internet access. The birds made quite a lot of noise, either warning each other off a preferred spot by the water or when they became alarmed at something or other and dozens of birds took to the air screeching in alarm. The most intrusive noise was the generators some caravanners felt they needed. Generator noise can be a contentious issue among caravan people and this well-known camping area beside the waterhole could become unpleasant in the busy travelling season if many generators are used. On this occasion the most persistent generator users were a hundred metres away and couldn't be heard; at our end of the waterhole a generator was used only sparingly. The wind was often cool to cold but the van interior remained comfortable; with the blinds open and the skylight uncovered the sunlight poured in making the caravan very pleasant as a place to enjoy the remoteness and solitude.