Birding -Valla Reserve & Bongil Bongil

Square-tailed Kite
Exciting to capture a Square-tailed Kite at Bundagen Headland

 

Hello everyone. It’s hard to believe how quickly the time is going here. It’s just flying past for us. Everyday we are managing to get out and about even though the weather has tried its best to dampen our spirits.

On Friday we visited Valla beach again as it’s only down the road and with the weather being a bit iffy we didn’t want to go too far afield. We got amazingly close to a little Spotted Pardelote pair, the male was just stunning and seemed quite ok with us being so close. They are nesting in the sandy bank so hopefully we will be able to visit them again. There’s always the Black-shouldered Kite hovering around too and he had a bit of a run in with a Collared Sparrow-Hawk , they were squabbling over the same branch. It would have been great on video but I was too slow. Of course the weather turned nasty again and it was very windy so we had to hightail it home but it was still great to get out in nature for a bit.

Spotted Pardalote
Male Spotted Pardalote

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Birds spotted at Valla
Yesterday (Saturday) we decided to check out the Bongil Bongil NP again. We did a bluff loop walk which led onto the same rainforest track near the beach that we had been on before. The weather looked good, blue skies and only a chance of a shower so we were really taking our time looking for birds. The birdsong is fantastic here, so many little birds like the Thornbills and Silvereyes and Gerygones. There’s quite a few Wompoo fruit doves too but they are always hiding in the shadows, Anthony is trying really hard to get better photos of such a beautiful bird. We spotted this cute little mouse in a dead tree stump, what a great little house he has made himself.
We walked for around an hour and a half and all of a sudden it was getting dark, being in the forest doesn’t give you much of a view of the sky but we came to a clear spot and the sky looked very dark. Anthony checked the weather radar and there was this huge red blob coming straight for us. We quickly started half running back to the truck which seemed a long way away. We started hearing thunder….very loud and the sky was black. We really started running then and the last bit was uphill, great stuff, we made it back to the truck in less than a half hour and raced back to the park.

Hiking Bongil Bongil
Hiking Bongil Bongil NP
We didn’t think we would get back before the storm but we just made it. The wind really picked up and it was torrentially rain, then the added bonus of hail. Thankfully it was small round hail so did no damage but where we are parked quickly turned into a lake.
We thought that was it after it passed through but within an hour the sky was black again and we had round two of another ripper storm this time with bigger hail. Crazy stuff. It pretty much rained on and off all night.
This morning was very foggy but was shaping up to be a glorious day at last. We have a resident Satin Bowerbird  here. I got a great video of him calling his girlfriends, he has two that we have seen in his bower. Anthony got a spectacular photo of him, check out his beautiful mauve eyes and plumage, what a stunning bird.
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Satin Bowerbird
We can’t get a clear view of his bower but might snip a few branches away when he’s not looking. We don’t want to disturb him either but would love to get photos of him in the bower.
At Bundagen Headland
At Bundagen Headland, Bongil Bongil National Park

 

Valla & Bongil Bongil

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 Today we drove back to Bongil Bongil as we were having such a great time there yesterday. When we came out onto the beach at the headland we saw a kite flying around and didn’t realise at first but it’s a quite rare Square tailed kite. Wow wow, how cool is that. Anthony got a fantastic photo as he was banking away, what a spectacular bird. We hiked around 8 kms today, we just love that place, so much birdlife, and the coast is spectacular too. What a day. Please enjoy the pics and video.
Cheers Steph and Anthony.
Eastern Water Dragon
Eastern Water Dragon up a tree

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

 

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.

Bangkok to Kaeng Krachan

Our Hotel in Bangkok
Waving to the neighbours – Aranta Airport Hotel, Bangkok

Well what can I say about Bangkok?. We hated it. We would never normally bother visiting such a toxic metropolis but sadly we had dental appointments and our grand plan of spending as much time in nature as possible is now being encroached upon with yet more dental visits next week…not so easy peasy as we first thought.

Our Digs in Bangkok 
Meanwhile today things seemed a bit better and we left the hotel, picked up our rental car from the airport and drove almost 3 hours away from the big smoke.
The peacful surroundings of Rivercreek Estate 
Anthony found us the most beautiful place in paradise, the birds are chirping here , the dragonflies and butterflies seem to be in abundance and we only walked around the property here for maybe an hour, got some great photos already and tomorrow we visit the biggest national park in Thailand ( Kaeng Krachan) so are really looking forward to that. Our new abode is called Rivercreek Estate and it’s a really nice spot here on the river, we both feel so much better getting back into nature.
Critters of Rivercreek Estate
So be prepared for lots of photos coming over the next 3 days, the birdlife in the Park is supposed to be amazing  and we plan on going every day.😀😀
Cheers for now Steph and Anthony.

Koh Samui – Departure

The Amazing Flower of the Cannonball Tree

Well we got up early to go to our favourite breakfast cafe from last year only to find that it wasn’t open and hasn’t been open for quite sometime. The couple who owned it were really nice and we were looking forward to seeing them too, so that was a real shame. We did find another little cafe/ bakery that was open early which was fine, I think all the food places on Koh Samui must be pretty good. We couldn’t think of anything else to do so went to the airport way early and it’s quite funny because when you arrive in Koh Samui you don’t see much of the airport though it looked quite nice and tropical but honestly the departure section is definetly worth seeing and writing about, I’ve never seen such a beautiful airport, yes you did hear that right…airports aren’t generally known for their beauty are they?

 

An Airport with a difference
Last year we didn’t fly out but took the ferry over to the mainland so we were so surprised to see the amazing gardens and little water lilly covered canals everywhere and so many different flowering plants and trees, it was like a botanical gardens. There were cafes and very high quality shops leading down to the departure lounge, birds flying around everywhere and Anthony got some amazing photos of some dragonflies. The cannonball trees were something to see with their enormous cannonball fruits I wonder what dinosaur would have eaten them🙄🙄

 

 ‘Just Landed’ …. Some pretty cool looking Dragonflies 
We couldn’t believe we were taking so many photos at the airport but when you see the photos you will see why, it puts the rest of the island to shame really as we think it’s quite grotty away from the resorts.
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.