Wings clipped in Monto

Well things are progressing really well with our repairs. Yesterday morning a boilermaker come out to the Van park at Cania Gorge and welded up some of the cracks to make the hitch strong enough to be towed to their yard in Monto. We were hoping not to move the van but upon closer inspection we found the main beam was totally split through and totally warped so that had to be replaced and it was going to be a major job, too big and also to noisy for that beautiful place of serenity.

Campers woken by the sweet sound of a grinder…

We were super anxious towing it the 26 kms to town, of course we drove Very Very slowly with our hazard lights on, it’s not a busy stretch of road anyway so we weren’t too much of a bother for other motorists. We still felt every bump, even at 30 km/h, it seemed to take forever to get here.

Nice and snug at DJ’s

We are now parked in DJ’s Steel and Concrete yard, on concrete with power and water connected and even have the Catmax enclosure out so Chloe is happy. The guys here are really super helpful and are happy for us to totally expose all the beams and stringers which took us almost 5 hours, quite a big job but we did really well. We couldn’t budge our front wardrobe floor so Anthony bought a jigsaw and cut it out but now we will turn the floor into a inspection hatch…..keep an eye on those frames.

The broken front support beam

We also managed to pivot the whole nose cone (the bit with the eagle on it) out about 2 feet and wedged it open with timber chocks so the boilermaker can get to that pesky front beam.

Time to modify our front wardrobe

We woke this morning at 4 am to drizzle, quickly realised we had some joins etc open on the roof so quickly dragged our big tarp over the front roof, thank god we had that….and it’s pretty much rained all day, how typical is that. But this hasn’t stopped the progress as it’s nice and dry under the front and we think they might have their job done today so tomorrow, hopefully it’s dry so we can have the task of painting all the new steel, and putting back the giant jigsaw puzzle we have created. We took photos of all the wiring , we had to disconnect a lot of things, luckily there is a great electrical shop here as well so it really has been a great place to break down.

And it rained all day

We can’t say enough good things about the workers here at DJ’s…..they are so super busy with mining and farming jobs so we are extremely grateful they could just squeeze us in.

Well we have plenty of photos so please…..anyone else with a fifth wheeler……have a good look at all this hidden framework, it’s a real disaster waiting to happen. A bit like having your house eaten away by termites before you even realise.

Out with the old
In with the re-enforced new

Will get more photos when everything’s tickity boo again.

Bye for now, Steph and Anthony.

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