Back up in the Southern Tablelands

Featured Image – Pied Monarch (Adult Male)

 

Male Cains Birdwing
(Male) Cairns Birdwing Butterfly
Well all is just fantastic in our little world……
We are almost healthy again. I don’t know about anyone else but I must say whenever I get even the inkling of a sore throat I think I’ve come down with some deadly virus and probably the stress of that makes me go downhill even quicker.
But whatever we both had went on it’s way pretty quickly ( thank god ) and maybe I shouldn’t read the news so much….the stuff about viruses anyway. Watching the movie “ Contagen” on the way home on the plane didn’t help either😳😳
It certainly hasn’t stopped us getting out and about. It was great coming back to Yungaburra, we are even in the same van site as last time with the same neighbours we had last time, so it really was a bit like “coming home”.

 

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Juvenile Lovely Fairywren

Lovely Fairywrens

 

 

 

Gorgeous Green Ring-tail Possum with ultra cute Bub

 

 

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Press Play to view Steph’s Video Snippets

 


 

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Here I was wishing This (Adult male) Victoria’s Riflebird would hop down lower in the tree for a better Shot

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At that moment, to our amazement he dropped the fruit and followed it to the ground.

Life in Nature is soooooo good.

 

 

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The Apprentice

This Immature Victoria’s Riflebird is certainly not yet ‘dressed to impress’ a female, However is giving it a good go.

 

We have been very lucky with our wildlife spotting as you can see by the pics and

video……absolutely amazing. Many birds on our bucket list have just been appearing

before our eyes. Of course we are putting ourselves in the best places to see these

amazing animals.

 

 

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Graphic Flutterer Dragonfly

A Medley of Flutterers

 

 

 

Pied Monarch (Bucket List Bird)

Very Excited to finally photograph this stunning Bird at Lake Eacham

 

 

 

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Echidna           Always excited to see these amazing creatures.

 

 

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Grey Headed Robin

Rainforest Birds

The Golden Bowerbird is a story in itself. (Pictured above)
It’s the same bower at Mount Hypipamee where we got chased away by a very aggressive rather large male Cassowary two years ago. Terrifying I know but that was a while ago now and I mean….what are the chances of having another run in…plus we will really keep our eyes peeled.
So we found the bower and to our delight it has been worked on…lots of nice new mossy wallpaper, we heard the male bowerbird’s very loud distinctive chatter so settled down ready with camera and video in anticipation and then out of the corner of my eye I saw a big black shadow, quickly looked through my binoculars and saw the blue head of that monster cassowary heading our way…yikes….you’ve never seen us move so quick, we were out of there in a flash.
Fresh Lichen adorns the Bower
After we settled down a bit, and the monster didn’t come out and chase us down the road, we decided we could sneak back later and just keep an eye out for him, pretty brave aren’t we🙄.
Well we did just that and never saw the Cassowary again, Anthony got a photo of what at first we thought was the female but turns out it’s a immature male without his adult colours yet ( this can take up to 7 years ).
A quick snap of the said “Blue Headed Monster”
We stayed for quite some time and never saw another Bowerbird come in and also we heard a horror story from another birder, that the adult pair that were at this site had been poached last year. Also some other pairs have been taken from other well know locations so that is pretty upsetting but as with all wildlife, if it’s pretty or has a nice voice or is rare, it sadly has a price tag on its head. We feel we are very fortunate to be able to see these amazing creatures while it’s still possible.

 

 

Grassland Birds

 

 

 

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Sharp-tailed Sandpiper at Lake Tinaroo

 

Other Birds

We have another week or so in this beautiful area so will get out as much as possible, there is a lot more action out in the rainforests now that the weather has warmed up. Please enjoy the pics and video.

Cheers and bye for now, Steph and Anthony.

 

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A good day for the Green Tree Snake … But sadly not so good for the Frog

 

A Touch of Cairns Nature

Featured Image : Striated Heron – on the prowl at Centerary Lakes

 

We have been out and about while in Cairns. There is some great spots for birdwatching at Centenary Lakes and also out further to The Cattana Wetlands.
We did look along the northern side of the Esplanade at low tide, saw plenty of Shore Birds but too far away for photos.
The Torres Strait Pigeons have arrived for nesting and they are very busy.
For quite a plain bird (black & white) they are beautiful looking and we hope with a bit more time Anthony will get better photos.

Jade Vine (above)

and other Flora from the Botanical Gardens

 

A short boardwalk from Centenary Lakes leads to Flecker Botanical Gardens, usually                                           teaming with Butterflies, like the Cairns Birdwing…..                            Better luck next time I guess.

 

We couldn’t believe how close we got to the Double-eyed Fig Parrots at Centenary Lakes. We also couldn’t believe how out in the open they were, we have been looking and looking in all the fruiting fig trees with no luck and thought this would be an impossible bird to see, let alone get fantastic photos and video off.

We don’t know what the tree was that they were munching in but it was quite sparse of leaves which made for great viewing, a male Mistletoe bird also came in a few times for a snack.

 

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Featured Bird : Double-eyed Fig-parrot (male above)

Female 

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Press Play to view Steph’s Video Snippets

 

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Yellow-striped Flutterer

 

How time flies……Tomorrow we are off on the big jet plane to Thailand, we still haven’t come to grips with it yet but guess we will have one hell of a reality check when we get to the airport🙄🙄

 

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The Pied Imperial (Torres Strait) Pigeons have returned to nest

 

 

While overseas we will be staying on the island of Koh Samui.
We know it really well now, we have a great Dentist there and have some favourite eateries etc. we also hire a car and drive around the Island and up the Mountains.
They do have some birdlife and amazing lizards so we will do our best to get a nice Blog together in the next 5 days.
Bye for now, Steph and Anthony.

 

 

 

Lace Monitor (Goana) trying not to be seen

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Mareeba and Surrounds

Great Egret prepares to roost for the night

 

Greetings from Mareeba,

It seems we have gone from one extreme to another…the van site we had in Cooktown was one of the hardest spots we have had to get into and here at the Trinity Plains Tourist Park we are in a huge paddock, all by ourselves.

Incredible to have so much space around us and the sky here is just enormous. We haven’t got any trees around us so no shade which makes it quite hot in the afternoons but the mornings are fantastic.

We also have the added bonus of the hot air balloons rising above the morning fog outside our dining window so it’s great to watch them while we are having our morning cappochinos.

 

 

With all this big sky around it’s a great spot for watching all the birds of prey.

So far we have seen numerous Black kites which are nesting here, the Black shouldered Kite, Whistling kite, Wedge tail Eagle, Brown Goshawk, Nankeen Kestrel and Little Eagle.

There seems to be a few squabbles going on too between them which is great to watch but not close enough for photos though Anthony is trying his hardest.

 

Whistling Kite at rest on a Termite mound
That Piercing stare of a Black-shoulderd Kite

 

Emerald Creek Falls is one of our favourite waterfalls in the area to visit.

You can climb right to the top where there’s a beautiful view .

Also lots of bottlebrush flowering with heaps of Honeyeaters feasting but extremely hard to get any photos as the birds just didn’t want to show themselves. It’s still great though just to hear them and be in their presence with the sound of water in the background, blissful and it’s only about 10 kms from the van park.

 

Emerald Creek Falls
The top of the Emerald Creek Falls

 

 

This morning we revisited Granite Gorge which is always a fantastic place in nature, we just love it there.

We didn’t see too many birds but there’s plenty of Dragonfly action…..an unbelievable amount of Orange thread tails, and you have to eyeball all of them just in case it’s something different.

I took a photo of Anthony almost crawling up a rocky wall backwards, just like a Goanna …..trying to get photos of a Archtail dragonfly.

It looked quite amazing so please enjoy.

 

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Its all about getting the shot !!!!!

Below is that shot …. I thought it was worth it.

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Archtail Dragonfly

 

And a few more ….

Female Tropical Rockmaster

 

Male Fig bird feasting in a Mulberry Bush at Granite Gorge
Every afternoon we walk around the back of the park grounds here where there is a
small waterhole.
Also a huge family of Curlews hiding in a young Eucalyptus Plantation and truck loads of Double barred finches on the edge of the trees. where they can quickly hide after feasting in the paddocks surrounding the plantation.
There’s a bit of birdlife around the big trees on the edge of the property so Anthony has been getting some amazing photos as the big sun is going down.
We are here for a few more days yet so hope to see plenty more critters.

Pale-headed Rosella this is the Northern Race
Double-barred Finch
Hoping to visit Kuranda tomorrow…..we used to live there so it’s always a bit of nostalgia going back.
Please enjoy the pics, no video as yet as I’m still working on it,
Bye for now Steph and Anthony.

A Mareeba Sunset

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.