Fallstreak cloud

Fallstreak cloud over Beltana in October

Also known as ‘hole-punch clouds’, fallstreak cloud formations occur when part of a cloud of water droplets freezes into ice crystals which grow large enough to fall below as a fallstreak. Read more about fallstreak and other clouds at the Cloud Appreciation Society.


Britannica.com describes cloudburst as:

a sudden, very heavy rainfall, usually local in nature and of brief duration. Most so-called cloudbursts occur in connection with thunderstorms. In these storms there are violent uprushes of air, which at times prevent the condensing raindrops from falling to the ground. A large amount of water may thus accumulate at high levels, and if the upward currents are weakened the whole of this water falls at one time. Cloudbursts are especially common in mountainous areas. This is probably because the warm air currents of a thunderstorm tend to follow the upward slope of a mountain. The effects of heavy rain are especially striking on mountain slopes because the falling water is concentrated in valleys and gulleys. Mountain cloudbursts cause sudden and destructive floods.

This cloudburst occurred to the north of Parachilna on the west side of the ranges in Autumn.

Desert Tree Frog

Desert Tree Frogs call for a mate in floodwater pools in Parachilna Gorge following summer rains.

The Desert Tree Frog (Litoria sp. nov. formerly identified as Litoria rubella) is found in the Northern Flinders Ranges. It lives in the vicinity of rock pools and springs, inhabiting damp vegetation and rock crevices, taking the opportunity to mate after heavy rains. Because of the ephemeral nature of floodwaters in arid lands, the larval stages of the Desert Tree Frog may be as brief as 14 days.

Reprieve from the drought: Copley Retention Dam

After 3 years of drought, the thriving bird haven of the Copley Retention Dam had almost completely evaporated. Flooding summer rains in the Northern Flinders Ranges replenished the dam overnight.

Throughout the flood / drought cycle, Copley Retention Dam is supporting over 70 recorded bird species, many of which are profiled on the Flinders Ranges Field Naturalists site including birds classified as Rare by the South Australian National Parks and Wildlife Act, such as

  • Musk Duck
  • Blue-billed Duck
  • Australasian Darter
  • Elegant Parrot
  • Great Crested Grebe.
Retention Dam in drought
Retention Dam in flood