Ross Dam and the Borrow Pits

We visited Ross Dam recently with members of Wildlife Queensland’s Townsville Branch for a morning of birdwatching and botanising.  We wandered along the dam wall, back to the park at its foot, and then down to the Borrow Pits nearby.

The dam was much lower than on my last visits, in March and May of last year, but the Borrow Pit made me a liar by being emptier than when I saw it in December 2013. Perhaps we had had more rain before that visit than we have had in the last few months?

Views from the dam wall

Ross Dam
Looking along the dam wall

Hervey Range from Ross Dam
Looking towards the Pinnacles
Solar farm from Ross Dam
The solar farm

The Ross River Solar Farm (website) is a significant project at 116 MW but, built at the far end of the suburbs, has been almost invisible to the community – which is not a bad thing; we wouldn’t enjoy living next to a coal-fired power station, would we? Even from the dam wall, the best viewpoint anyone can easily get, it is just a silver-grey streak and a line of pylons.

The Borrow Pits

Borrow Pits
The Borrow Pit with distant birds

Why “borrow” pits? Because the soil for the dam wall was “borrowed” from this location – and we do sincerely hope that it won’t return there any time soon!

These days, they are seasonal wetlands. They were nearly dry last weekend after only 20 mm of rain altogether in the four months since the end  of April, but a straggle of ibis (both black and white) and other wading birds including White-faced and White-necked Herons (links are to my photos on iNaturalist) were making good use of the remaining water.

Some of the birdlife

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