Lathami Conservation Park 5CP-114 and VKFF-0903

My fourth and final park activation for Tuesday 23rd August 2016 was the Lathami Conservation Park 5CP-114 and VKFF-0903.  This was to be another unique park for me.

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Above:- Map showing the location of the Lathami Conservation Park on the northern side of Kangaroo Island.  Image courtesy of Protected Planet.

After activating the Beyeria Conservation Park I headed back into the little village of Cygnet River and detoured out along Duck Lagoon Road.  Why?  Well one of the people I spoke to earlier in the day at the Cygnet Estuary Conservation Park, suggested I might want to have a look at Duck Lagoon and thought that it was part of the Cygnet Estuary Conservation Park.  As it has it, Duck Lagoon is not part of the park.  But I’m very pleased that I took the time to go out there for a look.

Duck Lagoon Road crosses the Cygnet River, and after all the recent rain on Kangaroo Island, the road almost resembled a river itself.  Certainly not passable in a conventional vehicle.

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Its just a short drive out along Duck Lagoon Road until you reach the lagoon itself.  There are camping facilities here and lots of interpretive signs.  As you would expect it was alive with bird life.  There is a bird hide at the lagoon where you can observe the various birdlife on the lagoon.

Duck Lagoon was quite different in appearance prior to the 1960’s, to what it is today.  The area was covered in Bullrushes and Water weeds and was teaming with birdlife including ducks, moor hens, coot, egrets, herons, kingfishers, finches and wrens.  Sadly the lagoon became affected by increasing salinity due to land clearance and this resulted in the degradation of the plant life and thus the birds.  During the 1990’s the entire area was the subject of a re-vegetation process undertaken by 15 local trainees who were enrolled in a 6 month Youth Conservation Corps project.

You can also view some historic ruins and an old eucalyptus still.  Arthur Weatherspoon (1882-1942), his wife, and their six children lived here in the early 1900’s.  Arthur built the old house and sheds that you can find and also established the eucalyptus still.  He strained his heart trying to put a beam on the roof of the log shed and was told by his doctor never to work again.  However whilst harvesting in the paddock with his horses, he suffered his first heart attack.  At age 60, he had another heart attack whilst crutching sheep in the shearing shed, and died as a result.  It is certainly very interesting walking around here.

I then headed off to Lathami, which is just one km up the road from my accomodation at Stokes Bay, and around 17 km north of Parndana.   The Lathami Conservation Park was proclaimed on the 1st October 1987 and comprises 1,175 hectares (2,900 acres).  The park’s name related to the scientific name for the Glossy Black Cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus lathami halmaturinis).

The park provides a foraging and breeding habitat for this subspecies of Glossy Black Cockatoo, which is an endangered species in South Australia.  About 250 of these birds remain.  Once found as far north as Adelaide, these birds are now mostly confined to Kangaroo Island, with some occasional sightings on the Fleurieu Peninsula.  The main predator of the Glossy Black is the Brush Tail possum which has been found to take the single egg or chick from many nests.

A local KI initiative to save the Glossy Black Cockatoo is ongoing, with various nesting boxes being established and replanting of the Drooping Sheaok feeding habitat.

1280px-Glossy_Black_Cockatoo_(Calyptorhynchus_lathami)

Above:- Glossy Black Cockatoo.  Courtesy of Wikipedia.

In the higher portions of the park, tall shrubland exists, dominated by Brown Stringybark, Tates Grass-tree, Broombush, Slaty Sheoak, and Sugar Gum.  In the lower section of the park, an open forest is found with is dominated by Sugar Gum and South Australian Blue Gum.  The northern area of the park includes the Deep Gully Creek.

The park was expanded in 1985, when around 1,200 ha were purchased and added to the park.  During the latter half of the 19th century, a large amount of timber was cut from this are for use in the copper mines at Moonta.  This was mostly South Australian Blue Gum and Sugar Gum.  A number of aboriginal artefacts have been located in the park and in the Stokes Bay area generally.

I set up in the carpark of Lathami, using the park sign to secure the squid pole.  I was all ready to go by around 5.55 p.m. South Australian local time (0825 UTC).

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Above:- Aerial shot showing the Lathami Conservation Park, and my operating spot, and also my accomodation at Stokes Bay.  Image courtesy of Protected Planet.

As is my custom, I started off on 40m, with the first station logged being park stalwart, Mike VK6MB who was an excellent 5/9 signal.  This was followed by some more of the park die hards in the form of Peter VK3PF and Rick VK4RF.  I worked a total of 22 stations on 40m from VK2, VK3, VK4, VK6, and VK7.  Almost all signals were 5/9 in signal strength.  My last contact on 40m was with Roald VK1MTS who was running just 2 watts from a home brew double sideband transceiver.  Roald started off as a good 5/4 and gave me a 5/7.  But a few minutes into our QSO, we totally dropped out to each other.  It was time for 80m.

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I then lowered the squid pole and inserted the links and headed off to 80m in the hope that I might be able to work some of the local VK5’s, as there was no close in propagation on 40m.  I called CQ on 3.610 and this was answered by Mick VK3GGG/VK3PMG in western Victoria with a very strong 5/9 signal.  This was followed by Rick VK4RF/VK4HA who was also 5/9.  The 80m band was in great shape.  A further 21 stations gave me a shout, from VK1, VK2, VK3, VK4, and VK5.  My last contact from Lathami was with the Battle of Long Tan special event call of VI1BLT50, with Tex VK1TX at the mic.

It was getting pretty chilly and I was hungry.  The local time in SA was now approaching 7.30 p.m.  I had a total of 48 contacts in the log and another unique park in the log.

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The following stations were worked on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK6MB
  2. VK3PF
  3. VK4RF
  4. VK4HA
  5. VK4ME
  6. VK3FSPG
  7. VK2IO
  8. VK6NU
  9. VK3BL
  10. VK2SI/p
  11. VK2HHA
  12. VK7FPRN
  13. VK4FFAB
  14. VK6JES
  15. VK2NP
  16. VK3MRH
  17. VK2LAD
  18. VK2FSAV
  19. VK2NWB
  20. VK7BC
  21. VK2ZWZ
  22. VK1MTS

The following stations were worked on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK3GGG
  2. VK3PMG
  3. VK4RF
  4. VK4HA
  5. VK3SQ
  6. VK2NP
  7. VK5FMID
  8. VK5FVSV
  9. VK2GPT
  10. VK2LDN
  11. VK3BBB
  12. VK4AAC/3
  13. VK5FANA
  14. VK3MCK
  15. VK5FMLO
  16. VK4FPAT
  17. VK5PL
  18. VK3ELH
  19. VK5KLV
  20. VK1MTS
  21. VK2VOO
  22. VK3UH
  23. VK3HSB
  24. VK2NN
  25. VK5ATQ
  26. VI1BLT50

Thanks to everyone who spotted me, including Mike VK6MB.

 

References.

Kangaroo-island.com, <http://www.kangaroo-island-au.com/attractions/duck_lagoon/dl_introduction.html&gt;, viewed 5th September 2016

Kangaroo-island.com, <http://www.kangaroo-island-au.com/attractions/duck_lagoon/dl_introduction.html>, viewed 5th September 2016

National Parks and Wildlife Service, 1992, Beyeria and Lathami Conservation Parks Management Plan

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