Cooktown NQ

Mud Frolicing

 

Hello from Cooktown.
Our road trip here was ok, though seemed rather long.
It was only about 2 and a half hours but we were hoping to stop at either the Palmer River roadhouse or at Lakeland for a cuppa break etc….
Well Palmer was on the wrong side so we decided to keep going to Lakeland and as we were approaching we thought at first the enormous rest area with loos on the left was the roadhouse, so started to pull in there with another car up our clacker which always makes us nervous when looking for somewhere to pull in.
We realised our mistake and pulled out again to realise we hadn’t even looked on the right side of the road and tucked away from the highway was the Lakeland servo……we had totally missed it.🤨🤨
We couldn’t turn around so had to keep going, I suggested we pull over at the next rest stop where I would cook us up some brunch and cappuccinos but there was no rest area big enough for us, which is unbelievable considering the big message out there. Stop Rest Revive to stay alive etc.
With no cuppa fix we were a bit frazzled when we rocked up to the Cooktown Caravan Park.
The site they had kept for us was heaps big enough but no room to manoeuvre….
With juggling other people’s vehicles and yours truly on the hand held uhf we did get in much to the dismay of a ex Truckie who said we would never get in there.🙄🙄

Part of the new Wharf Precinct
Picturesque Cooktown

 

Black Kite over Grassy Hill
Our front electric legs on our van had meanwhile just stopped. We weren’t sure if it was the motor, the switch or absolute horror… maybe the legs are bowed.
We had to manually winch the van off the truck ..not helping, our site was sloped towards the back, so we had to unwind the legs right down, which took forever.
I tried to help a bit, but started getting blisters really quickly from the handle so poor Anthony was stuck with that task. I suggested we at least have a cappuccino first but the power was out at the park……funny how there is always “icing on the cake “.
The rest of the afternoon was taken up with phone calls and we have ordered a new switch and are praying that is the problem otherwise we may be stuck here for a while….There is no way we will be able to winch 5 tonnes of van back on to the truck.
😖

The Endevour River

 

So the last few days we have been in better spirits and have been checking out our surrounds.

Well we really like it here. Cooktown is small but nicely laid out on the Endevour River. There’s lots of history here of course being James Cooks first landing etc so there is plenty to see in the way of monuments and old buildings, also a museum which will be interesting.

There’s a beautiful botanical garden with walks to a lookout and beaches.


Common Glider in flight over Keatings Lagoon

 

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Press Play to View Stephanie’s Video Snippets from 

Keatings Lagoon

 

The Lagoon
We have visited Keatings Lagoon twice, just south of Cooktown and have seen quite a few critters there.
We haven’t seen much elsewhere, but still plenty of places to check out.
The Spider (hunting) Wasp was enormous…..wow you wouldn’t want to get stung by one. I didn’t realise he was tackling a spider till I was filming for a while…..apparently they use the spider as a host to incubate their eggs how bizarre is that?.
I almost trod on the Green tree snake….he was pretending to be a blade of grass, absolutely beautiful green blue colour.
Also the goshawk was a bonus. I think we will be spending quite a bit of time at the Lagoon.
Pity about the Mozzies there, they are just bearable with plenty of spray.

Some amazing Paperbarks here
Female Brown Goshawk

 

Magpie Geese at rest after a frolic in the Mud

 

Enjoy the pics and video, I got great footage of the Spider (hunting) Wasp.

Cheers Steph and Anthony.

 

 

 

Birds of Mt Carbine Caravan Park

If Looks could Kill : Blue-winged Kookaburra
Well it’s very windy this morning here at Mount Carbine Caravan Park lots of clouds about. We had a quick look for birds but we are also in a hurry as we have to pack up and head off to Cooktown, not a good combination when trying to spot birds.
The Great Bowerbird has been fantastic to watch here, he has only just started tending his bower so I will try to get more video footage when we come back on our return trip. He does some pretty groovy dance moves I would love to capture but missed out this time. Anthony also got some great photos. Some of the bird tours around the area bring their customers here as the birdlife is very reliable.

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Great Bowerbirds are everywhere here

Tending his Bower

 

White-bellied Cuckoo-shrike

 

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Press Play to view Stephanie’s Video Snippets

 

A sleeping Tawny Frogmouth

 

The Tawny Frogmouths are always perched near the lights over the loos…..they don’t have to go far for insects at night time.
The owner here, Nicky also keeps an eye on what birds are where according to flowering and fruiting trees so it’s a really nice relaxing place to hang out for a few days.
And if you have a cat in an enclosure……well all the birds will just come to you to sound off their warnings🙄🙄
Have a great day whatever you are up to…..we are off to Cooktown shortly.
Cheers Steph and Anthony.

Common Glider Dragonfly

Mount Lewis to Molloy

The Picturesque Dam ending the Mount Lewis Rainforest Walk

Hello again, we had another great day.

We decided to visit Mount Lewis as we have heard so much about this place for exceptional birdlife.

Another early morning as it’s quite a drive from here( Mount Carbine) to just outside Julatten. We weren’t sure if our big f truck would fit on the steep, narrow and windy dirt road but decided to give it a go.

Well it was just fine but we were glad we didn’t have to pass anyone coming the other way…..that would have been a bit squishy🙄🙄

It’s about 10 kms to a clearing where there is a 2 km rainforest walking track to a beautiful dam. It’s around another 18 kms to the top of Mount Lewis but there is a sign that says it’s 4 WD from the clearing and we really didn’t want to push our luck plus it was a very slow trip to there.

 

At Mount Lewis
Grey-headed Robin a very common Rainforest bird
Red-bellied Black Snake
I think our expectations were a bit high for this place…… as we really didn’t see many birds. The ones we did see were very high in the canopy.
The Chowchillas were very nervous, I got some video but Anthony missed out for photos. Also the Tooth billed Bowerbird was so hard to spot even though we could hear him for ages. Another missed photo but I did manage to get the last bit of his spectacular very loud voice on video.
When we arrived at the dam, this beautiful ( enormous) Red bellied black snake was basking on the path in the sun.
We couldn’t believe our luck, what a beautiful big healthy snake, absolutely awesome to see.
We were very quiet and he wasn’t bothered by us one bit…..even slithered straight towards me when he decided to go hunting.
I had to quickly do the sideways shuffle to get out the way….wow could he move at speed.
I captured it all on video 🤩🤩  not my panicked shuffle of course but the awesome snake🙄😳
It was a great place to visit but not sure we would be racing back up there any time soon.

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Press Play to View Stephanie’s Snippets

Lemon-bellied Flycatcher

 

On the way back we stopped at a little rest area near a babbling brook that looked promising for birdlife.

And that it was….a hotspot for the spectacled Monarch. This gorgeous little bird always has Anthony so frustrated as they never seem to come out from the shadows.

Well he found a place in the brook on top of some rocks where the trees opened up a bit and all sorts of birds came out to play…..some even coming down for a little drink.

 

 

Fresh Painted Grasshawk Dragonfly

 

 

Onwards to Mount Molloy…..
What a hidden gem this place is. The Bicentennial Park with a few picturesque lagoons, is a really nice spot.
We found quite a few dragonflies and Butterflies here.
Across the road were some amazing flowering grevillea trees with plenty of honeyeaters in them. It was already getting late so we will have to visit here again with more time to spare.
In the morning we will look around the park here at Mount Carbine, we know there’s plenty of birds here too but we also have to move on to Cooktown so this is probably another place we will come back to and explore further.
Please enjoy the pics and video,
Cheers Steph and Anthony.
Spiny Orb Weaver Spider

Birding on the Daintree

Little Kingfisher
The Jewel of the Daintree : Little Kingfisher

Wow wow wow, what an amazing time we have been having😃😃 Our short road trip to Mount Carbine went well. The Mount Carbine caravan park is nice, we really feel like we are outback now. The terrain is very dry and crispy, we are hooked up to bore water here ( not so good ). There is a lot of birdlife around the park but we will do a separate blog just for here when we have finished our stay because I really need to tell you about the awesome day we had today.

 

The Rarely seen Great-billed Heron
We got up extra early…4 am to quickly have our cappochinos and head off to the Daintree River.
Quite a drive from here, just over an hour, but off course still being dark we had to drive slower and also there’s a very windy steep range road with B double sugar cane trucks using it at the moment. We didn’t want to miss the river tour we had booked, and arrived with time to spare.
We also picked a beautiful day…..blue sky, no wind and also a low tide so things were looking really good.
Luckily there were only 5 passengers today…..all keen to get photos of the little Kingfisher. Murray from the  Daintree Boatman Nature Tours happens to know where all the birds are hiding out or having their favourite roosting spots so we were certainly in for a treat.
The Majestic White-bellied Sea-eagle

 

Male Saltwater Crocodile

 

He took us straight up a little inlet off the Daintree river and being low tide with all the mangrove roots exposed, the little Kingfisher seemed like he was waiting for us. Boy was he hard to spot, such a tiny hyperactive gorgeous little bird….. we almost had to lay on the gunnels of the boat to get a clear view, he was so hidden under the mangroves. Murray kept barking positions at us which helped a lot as he was so quick……we spent half an hour just here getting some great photos and video.

 

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Press Play to view Stephanie’s ‘Best Yet’ Video

 

 

Green Tree Snake soaking up the morning Sun
Green Tree Snake soaking up the morning Sun

 

 

The whole trip was pretty action packed.
Murray has an electric motor which is so very quiet when getting close to the birds, then he switches over to the standard noisy outboard when we had to hightail it down another part of the river to where he knew another bird, crocodile or snake was visible.
The Sea Eagle at the end of the 2 hour tour put on a show for us though we felt really sorry for him as he missed out on a fish. Anthony got some spectacular photos today and
I must say…. I have put together my best video to date, I had to add music as the endless clicking of the cameras, engine noise, and our very excited squeals was detracting from the amazing wildlife.
We normally stay away from tours but thought this was our best option for seeing different birds and boy, we are so glad we did this.
Spectacular Day. Please enjoy the pics and video.
Bye for now, Steph and Anthony.
Peacock Jewel aka 4 O’clock Moth