Travelling Australia - Journal 2015c




5 June 2015
Menindee - Interconnection Channel


Weather in the morning was cloudy-bright with a cold wind. Since Kinchega National Park was so dry and so much of it closed I abandoned any thought of another visit there. Instead I visited the Menindee Lakes lookout on a low hill beside the Menindee-Broken Hill road and beside the Interconnection Channel. The lookout is fairly low but provides a good viewpoint out over Lake Menindee, the weir at the end of the Interconnection Channel and the rail bridge across the Channel.

The Interconnection Channel connects Lake Menindee (via Copi Hollow) with Lake Pamamaroo which is one of the long-term pondages for water storage in the Menindee Lakes complex. When the system is full, water flows from Lake Pamamaroo through the Interconnection Channel into Lake Menindee and can then flow into the Darling River. Weirs and gates control water flow from Interconnection Channel into Lake Menindee; these gates are firmly closed now so the channel contains water while Lakes Menindee is dry except for a trickle of water near the weir.

The surrounding region was so dry that many water birds had gathered on the Interconnection Channel (one of the few water holes still available) and there was a collection of bird species which prefer diving for food (including Musk Duck, Darter, Hardhead, Hoary-headed Grebe, Australasian Grebe, Black Cormorant and Great Cormorant) were all present, some in large numbers. As well, Pelicans which eat fish but scoop them up from the surface with their large bills had also gathered and the presence of Pelicans is a sure sign that fish are present; if there are no fish then Pelicans fly to where there are fish to eat.

I spent several hours, in two sessions, wandering slowly along the banks of the channel. The sun shone fitfully and the very cold wind continued; finding somewhere out of the wind and in the sun was pleasant, but rare.


Freight train crossing the bridge over the Interconnection Channel. This bridge is on the Sydney to Broken Hill line and carries traffic between Sydney and Adelaide/Perth. The scale of the bridge gives some idea of the size of the channel (and of the volume of water it can carry when the gates into Lake Menindee, to the left of the photograph, are open).

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dead trees

Menindee Lake from the Lake Lookout. Dead trees were drowned when the lake was brim-full of water. Water in the foreground is a short terminal pool at the base of the controlling weir


Emu taking a break from foraging on Menindee Lake to have a drink of water. The bird in the background is a Darter having arest from diving for fish.


Flock of mainly little black cormorants on the Interconnection Channel. There are also a pelican, great cormorants, pied cormorants and seagulls in the flock. The smaller flock on the left beyond the little black cormorants is a gathering of grebes.

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Darter in fishing mode with body below the water surface, ready to dive seeking fish.


The Musk Duck prefers to dive in deep water seeking its prey. This male shows the lobe under the lower bill worn by adult male Musk Ducks; the horizontal tail is another unusual feature of this bird.