Morning light crept slow and pale as we awoke to a chorus of birds. It was beautiful to lie and listen without interruption to their song and chatter. No traffic noise or aeroplane roar cut through the sounds of the bush. In the chill air the sun rose through the trees and the day warmed as the light grew stronger.
Our first full day on Bimblebox had begun. A delicious breakfast from our dedicated and hardworking cooks, Maureen and Edna, set us up for an active day. Many of our artists went out for a walk, looking, photographing, collecting and drawing. Late morning Sonya took us around the nature refuge as she set up licks for the cattle. Our first wonderful view on this drive was an emu with his striped chicks, guiding and shepherding them always to safety. Emus are such interesting birds seemingly lighter of foot and leaner of body than the renderings we are used to in our Australian coat of arms. As the adult male emu walked and dodged to guide his offspring, his tail of feathers puffed lightly along with his movement.
We stopped at one of the dams and used our time there to explore and record some of the vegetation while we watched the various creatures using this area. Leaves spotted with large red/brown spots, other leaves small brown flecks, leaves with thorns, long narrow, sweeping broom like leaves and tiny flowers with honeyeaters darting down to the water and back into the high branches of the trees.
Back in the vehicle, our tour took us past several groups of kangaroos. They Hopped, high backed, alert and tail booming behind as they fled from our interruption. We enjoyed picking out the different kinds of trees and shrubs – silver leaf ironbark, moreton bay ash, ghost gums, kurrajong and rosewood. A bright red bush caught our eye, walking up to it we found a flame hakea, the leaves stiff and tough against the dry heat.
The afternoon saw some taking walks to collect and document this area around us. Alison and Jill began coiling and stitching grass Alison had collected, while Boyd checked the sound recording he had taken that morning, including the cows stomach as it was feeding its calf. Donna recorded ant movements and took other visual material for working back in the studio.
Another tour late afternoon continued into nightfall. We stopped at Brolga Dam where some took photos and drew, exploring and collecting. At watering points Sonya put out the feed supplements for cattle with help from Glenda and Alison. Boyd used an underwater microphone to record the bees buzzing around one of the troughs. Liz collected layers of the leaves and sticks covering the soil surface exploring the texture of the land.
A golden sunset lit Cirrus Clouds on the horizon as the light faded to night and the cold air dropped like a curtain as we returned to our camp