Girraween National Park

Girraween National Park, Queensland
Bald Rock Creek, Girraween National Park, Queensland
Yellow-tufted Honeyeater
The Yellow-tufted Honeyeater. A very common bird in the Park
Yellow-striped Hunter (Austrogomphus guerini)
The Yellow-striped Hunter Dragonflies are out and about at the moment, however their numbers along with other Dragonfly species, are very low.

 

Jacky Lizard
There were quite a few lizards around today, including this Jacky Lizard

 

Well we are all set up at the Caravan Park in Stanthorpe now and will be starting the Apple thinning again next week. It’s ridiculously hot for this time of year, 30 degrees today, hard to believe. I guess we are in for a scorcher this summer.

Today we visited Girraween National Park , always one of our favourite parks, with a gorgeous rocky river, lots of rock pools, a huge rocky pyramid to climb and plenty of walking trails, you certainly can’t get bored in this beautiful place in nature. We saw lots of lizards, heard plenty of birds but for some reason we never get many bird photos here. A few dragonflies are also starting to appear which makes Anthony very very happy. He can spend hours stalking one just to get that perfect photo of a perfect pose on the perfect prop and of course with a perfect background.🤩🤩
We saw 3 Red-bellied black snakes but boy are the quick, we didn’t get any photos but I got a little snippet of one on my video, he was swimming and ducked under a rocky ledge, I wonder how long they can hold their breath because we sat there for ages waiting for him to resurface. Maybe he found a little tunnel through the rocks and made his escape. They are a beautiful snake to watch, very timid, if they see you they are pretty quick to get away.

 

 

Granite : a strong feature in this Park

 

It was difficult Photographing the birdlife today, they were very uncooperative 

 

Fairly slim pickings in the Odonata (dragon/damselflies) department

A nice variety of reptiles were spotted today

 

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Some snippets from Girraween


 

So this is most likely our last big outing for a while. I guess we do have time off around Xmas but it would be pretty hot at that time and once we get into work mode we don’t seem to do much else. At the Apple orchard where we work, there is a huge lake with all sorts of birdlife visiting, Anthony sometimes goes there on our days off so we will still post some photos and of course our weekly inspirational quotes. Plus there is a very cute river in town where we also see lots of birds and dragonflies so we will still be doing occasional blogs of the amazing critters that we see when out and about. Please enjoy the pics and video.
Bye for now,
Steph and Anthony.

Further pics of this outstanding Park

 

 

 

 

 

Bongil Bongil NP & Urunga Wetlands

Urunga Wetlands Boardwalk
Urunga Wetlands Boardwalk

 

Bundagen Headland, Bongil Bongil National Park
Bundagen Headland, Bongil Bongil National Park

 

Hello everyone, we have been having a great time just hanging out along this fantastic part of the coast. Within an hours drive is just so much to see. The Bundageree Walk , a coastal section of the Bongil Bongil National Park is fantastic, there is quite a few trails there but we only walked along the track just in from the beach, which began at the end of Tucker’s Rocks road. it was a very windy day and we could hear the wind whipping through the tops of the trees but we were very well protected in there. It’s a 3 km walk one way and about half way along the forest has a definite change, almost like a line drawn there. Fantastic as it gives you a variety of birds. It ends at the mouth of the Bundagaree creek at Bundagen Headland. We started to walk along the beach but quickly got sandblasted so turned back. You can walk all the way back to the car park along the beach making it a loop. We saw lots of birds here, of course always very hard to get photos of birds in rainforest as they don’t pop out into the open very often and there were lots of those messy vines everywhere so hard to even spot the birds in the first place. We will definitely go back and do some other walks there. September is when all the migrant birds start to come back so hopefully we will see more and more different birds as we get out and about.

 

Brahminy Kite Flyby
Brahminy Kite Flyby

 

Eastern Water Dragon
Eastern Water Dragon

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Birds spotted on the Bundageree Walk

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Urunga Wetlands

Urunga Wetlands 
We also found this amazing Wetlands in Urunga itself, you can read more about it HERE. I don’t think we would have known about it if we hadn’t been told by a friend. But it is fantastic, not very big but the council here has done an amazing job of revamping this once derelict site. We saw 3 different birds of prey there, spoonbills, swans, ducks, grebes etc and they do get jabiru there too sometimes so we will always have to go and have a look. In the mornings the reflection is amazing if there is no wind. We have some horrible rainy windy days upon us now so will catchup with friends,  drink lots of cuppachino’s and play with our cat Chloe……she has turned into a kitten again and meeows at us constantly to pick up the piece of string so she can chase it round and round the coffee table. Cats are so easy to please.
Cheers Steph and Anthony.

Some birds from Urunga Estuaries 

It’s a Puffer Fish

Puffer fish are so cute

 

Langanan Waterfall Trek

Langanan Falls, Poring

 

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Langanan Waterfall Trek

 

Wow what a day, started the day fresh as daisies, got up nice and early, had a quick breakfast at the restaurant here and were away by 8 am to climb this mountain where there’s a beautiful waterfall. We had to walk through the hot baths to get to the waterfall track and the staff were cleaning everything, getting it all ready for another busy day. It was really peaceful there this morning, nobody there.

Well the track pretty much went straight up for 3 hours, very gnarly roots and lots of slippery rocks so quite slow going. We weren’t in a hurry anyway as we wanted to spot some critters on the way. It’s 3.400 mtrs to the falls so quite a way. We went past some bat caves which was fantastic listening to the little bats squeaking to each other and it looks like they have some great caves to hang out in there. Anthony had been trying to get good photos of the White capped Sharma which is a very elusive secretive bird, we have seen quite a few but they are always hiding in the dark shadows of the trees so imagine our surprise when there was one on the path, busily munching away on some ants and was quite happy for us to get close and get some great photos.
White-capped Sharma
And then along comes a Great Argus……we thought these big turkey like birds were extinct as they have been hunted for so long because of their beautiful long tail feathers. Wow what a big beautiful bird and so great to see one.
The butterflies along this track were amazing too, we saw so many different ones and as you all know….they are very difficult to photograph. They never seem to sit for long and then they also never sit where you want them too but Anthony got some great photos of some today. We saw quite a few small birds and heard a few but they were quite elusive.
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It’s always so rewarding to climb up to a waterfall and this one didn’t disappoint, Langanan falls is spectacular, we haven’t seen a big waterfall like this for quite sometime. It was nice and cool up there so we hung around for a bit, there were a few dragonflies and butterflies up there too so that kept Anthony busy. Then we realised it would be at least 2 hours to climb back down….and we were starving, of course we didn’t take anything to eat with us, only water, we certainly aren’t the smartest hikers around. And it was a really slow plod coming back down, quite treacherous under foot so had to be careful. We quickly raced over the road to a little restaurant we had been to yesterday to gobble down some late lunch, it was 2 pm and we had started climbing at 8 am. I’m sure we will wake up a bit sore tomorrow, it was quite jarring on the knees and ankles.
We just relaxed the rest of the afternoon, in the morning we want to quickly visit the tropical gardens here and then head down to Mount Kinabalu for another 2 nights. We are staying in a hotel instead of a farm stay, won’t make that mistake again.
Bye Steph and Anthony.

SamRoiYod National Park

Temple in a Cave – Phraya Nakhon, SamRoiYod NP

 

Well our day started off quite sedately, a nice breakfast here at the palace which didn’t start till after 8 am so we didn’t even hit the road till around 9 ish. Our excitement for seeing new birds turned sour pretty quickly, we paid to get into the national park and were then told that the one spot we were really keen to visit, a freshwater marshland, was closed. We drove around some of the hundreds of shrimp ponds and did see quite a few normal sort of birds I guess, like the stilts, herons, egrets, plovers, terns etc but Anthony has so many really good photos of these already and the light was too bright against  the shallow murky brown water and didn’t come up too good in the photos.

 

Our first stop which included a rewarded climb at Khao Daeng
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You can watch our short Video of Khao Daeng here
So we decided to play Tommy Tourists instead, which must sound quite relaxing but it involved hiking which we love of course but climbing very steep terrain in the tropical heat has knobs on it, I was so glad to do it but thought about the pool back at the palace quite a few times, we were so hot and bothered and absolutely drenched by the end of the day.
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Watch our short Video of Phraya Nakhon Cave and surrounds here
The view from Khao Daeng was fantastic, you can see the hundreds of shrimp ponds in the area. Also the temple in the cave was truly a mystical experience, I am so glad we were the only ones there, it was so still and peaceful and such a beautiful spiritual aura about the place, it would have been ruined by noisy tourists.The history is very interesting so you can read a bit further about it Here.
We love seeing all the monkeys on the way, they are quite used to humans but do keep a wary eye on us so we were quite amazed when a mummy macaque carrying her baby brushed so close past Anthony ,maybe they can sense that we mean them no harm.
So we had a fantastic though very tiring day, not sure what we are doing tomorrow yet, probably will start with a sleep in. Enjoy the pics and videos.
Cheers Steph and Anthony.

Kaeng Krachan National Park

 

Well the two days at the Kaeng Krachin National Park  was pretty amazing. We did quite a bit of walking and got rather hot and bothered at times as it’s very humid and we haven’t really been doing much exercise either so we’re feeling it a bit today. We didn’t actually see a lot of birds, heard plenty but being such thick rainforest it was very hard to see anything. But the amount of different butterflies and dragonflies made up for it, we have never seen such a variety in our lives and they are just everywhere…even on the way into the park we stopped a few times to get photos. And as you can imagine these photos are only of ones that landed, so many hardly ever seem to land and when they do they look very bland as they sit with their wings up instead of down.

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A sample of Butterfly Images taken at Kaeng Krachan NP
A sample of Dragonfly Images taken at Kaeng Krachan NP
The monkeys were just gorgeous I also took some video of them. We did hear hornbills and gibbons a few times but no luck in seeing them . Anthony had a ball, he topped his record of all time photos in one day ….around 800, crazy but you really do have to take so many photos to get good ones as you will see with the results. We won’t bombard you too much with bug photos but will put a link to our Flickr album if you would like to view  some of the others.
Some Primates of Kaeng Krachan NP
The editing of so many photos sure takes time though and we have to research nearly every bug as we don’t know what they are but  it sure keeps us busy in the evenings.
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A short Video of Kaeng Krachan National Park 
We will have a look around here at the Rivercreek Estate this afternoon as there are so many birds here too, we just need to rest up a bit first, it’s so hot n the sun so we will wait till it cools off a bit Enjoy the pics and video.
Cheers Steph and Anthony.

Koh Samui, Thailand

Oriental Garden Lizard
Oriental Garden Lizard in the Hotels garden

Greetings from Koh Samui in Thailand.

The flights went well, we had a 2 hour stop in Singapore on the way so it all went quite quickly which is always good when flying . The landing here was a bit hairy, it was really windy and we flew around some really big black clouds.

The getting money out, SIM card for the phone and hire car all went smoothly and the hotel room is nice and clean. It was around 10 pm by the time we settled in and were really looking forward to today to check out all our favourite places.

The morning didn’t start too well, very blustery conditions and very dark ominous clouds which didn’t look good for our trip up the mountain.
Breakfast at the Coffee Club, Koh Samui Style
Retro Selfie at the Coffee Club, Koh Samui Style
We also forgot it was Sunday so going to our favourite breakfast haunt wasn’t going to happen as they were closed. We had plonked ourselves in Fisherman’s Village  to be close to cafes and shops etc, but hardly anything was open being Sunday  morning. So we ended up in a Coffee Club which was really good , a great setting there right on the beach. But they are also ridiculously expensive here but we didn’t have much choice this morning.
We drove up to the mountain and the weather deteriorated from there really, we were in the clouds and it started to rain. The road had also deteriorated since we were here last year, pothole central and very slow going. The Secret Buddha Garden was nice, I took a video but you really have to imagine it on a nice day.
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Short video clip of the Secret Buddha Garden
After that we drove to the Him Lad Waterfall  where we saw lots of different types of lizards and birds last year but today….Nothing. We did almost get to the waterfall, but it started raining quite heavy and it was a bit treacherous under foot with slippery rocks and tree roots, pretty impossible to get photos anyway even if some critters did appear so we turned back. Quite a boring day really but the weather did clear enough this afternoon to walk around the hotel grounds here and get a few photos.
Garden birds and a couple of other Critters of Koh Samui
So tomorrow we are off to Bangkok,,,the really big smoke. Hope the weather improves a bit.
Bye for now Cheers Steph and Anthony.

 

Sunshine Coast

Ewen Maddock Dam
Ewen Maddock Dam

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A short video clip of Ewen Maddock Dam

 

Well we have just finished our week in Landsborough on the Sunshine Coast, the weather was ok and we got to visit Lake MacDonald, Noosa Botanical Gardens and Ewen Maddock Dam quite a few times which is always one of our favourite places to visit, the walks are really nice and lots of birds though getting photos of them is quite hard as the trees are really big and the ground cove is all ferns so all the birds seem to hide in there. You can hear lots of birds there but hard to see

 

 

Lake MacDonald and Noosa Botanical Gardens 

It was also a great time to catch up with family and friends and the Landsborough Pines Caravan Park  is also one of our favourite parks, they have a small lake there and the only site we can fit on to backs on to the lake so we can keep an eye on the waterbirds coming and going and Anthony can quickly duck outside and get some photos. There’s also a quite elusive Azure Kingfisher there, so many times we can see him from the back window but trying to sneak up on him is quite difficult, but Anthony did manage this time to get a fantastic photo, so we are very happy.

 

 

Some critters from Ewen Maddock Dam

Today we had to store the van, and lucky to even get a spot…we did book a few weeks ago but I guess things change in that time or maybe they just plain old forgot we were coming but as it turned out they could just squeeze us into their very last spot😬😬Then this afternoon off to Brisbane ( shock horror) this really is our worst nightmare, it’s about one and a half hours but of course there was an accident and after nothing moving for quite sometime and then of course the standard roadworksi closer to the big smoke, quite distressing really, the trip took about two and a half hours. We had to drop the truck into storage there too near the airport and we could walk to the hotel though there are massive roadworks at large right outside our hotel and we had difficulty getting across the intersection,,,,there was a way across but us country bumpkins don’t function very well in the big smoke.🙄🙄

 

 

Landsborough Pines Caravan Park

So we are nice and snug in our hotel room, will have to negotiate the roadworks again tonight when we go out for tea and then again in the morning for breakfast before we head to the airport for our flight to Thailand at lunchtime. So tomorrow night we will be on the island of Koh Samui, hard to believe, it’s been a really big day.

We hope you like the photos,Anthony must have taken a thousand photos of ducks but he did get rewarded with some great shots.Keep tuned for our up coming photos from Thailand,

All the best ! Steph and Anthony.

The Bunya Mountains Region

Wedge-tailed Eagle
The Majestic Wedge-tailed Eagle

Hello everyone, well we didn’t have time to revisit Redwood Park so we will be very excited to head back that way maybe at the end of our holiday time just before we go back to Stanthorpe.

The Caravan Park and some resident critters
We have been in Bell now a few days and there’s really not much to the town itself, there’s quite a few shops that are well and truly closed and a bit run down which only leaves one general store with a couple of fuel bowsers, one cafe, the van park of course which is really nice and not much else.
Birds we met on the way to the Bunya’s
The drive from here to the Bunyas is fine, it’s only about 35 kms. but there’s a couple of kms of dirt road and then once you hit the mountains it’s all up, up and up very steep and very windy with lots of hairpin bends.
On the dirt section there were 4 Wedgetail Eagles, they were squabbling with a bunch of crows over a couple of kangaroo carcasses in a paddock. It was great to see them flying around and banking in the morning sun, such a huge magnificent bird, always one of our favourites to see. Anthony managed to get one good photo and we are thinking to head back there  a bit earlier in the morning to try and get some action photos . We also saw the cockatiels where the black shouldered kites were the day before, and then also the falcon on the way home, always a lot to see when you really start looking. We are always scanning the trees etc when driving, well I am, of course Anthony has his eyes on the road hopefully…..

 

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The Bunya Mountains National Park
It’s very dry down here but once you get up into the mountains it’s so green and beautiful and cold,around 7 degrees cooler than down here.Theres so many walks up there all pretty much in the rainforest, very dark , very hard to get good photos of anything. But still beautiful walking around, we certainly did some kms. We would have liked more photos, we did hear the Noisy pita a few times and saw a lot of Satin bowerbirds but just too far away. The little wallabies are just gorgeous and we got stuck in the fantastic cafe a few times.
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Watch a Video of the Bunya’s Here
So we had a great time here , will spend tomorrow catching up on things before we head to the coast.
Cheers, Steph and Anthony.
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Find out more about the Bunya’s here