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
This is a Common male Archtail Dragonfly
Fairly slim pickings in the Odonata (dragon/damselflies) department
A nice variety of reptiles were spotted today
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.
Some critters from Canungra (click or press image for larger view)
Well thanks anyway but I guess all that finger crossing didn’t help us. We ended up at the Canungra Showgrounds for 4 days pretty much just sitting in the rain. In fact it seemed like most of the heavy rain was making a beeline straight for us so any outings to the Lamington Ranges was definetly out and we just sat there watching the grounds slowly turn into a lake. Riveting.😳😳 We did grab our brollies a couple of times and walk into the town, this is a beautiful picturesque place normally and thankfully the rain turned a bit more patchy on our last day so we could at least pack up the awning while it was dry. We also walked around the Showgrounds which backs onto a very nice creek that was fairly flowing with all that rain. We saw a couple of ducklings caught up in the raging torrent, we couldn’t do anything to save them, they sped by so fast, the parents were flying over quacking like crazy, we just hope they all met up again a few miles down the river where the current hopefully eased off a bit. Horrible, we never think of the animals getting caught up in this torrential rain and the rivers rising so rapidly.
Some other birds sited at Durikai State Forest
We have been in Warwick a couple of days now and the days have been good, very cloudy and ripper storms coming through in the afternoon, but the worst ones have just skimmed past us like we have a magic shield on so we hope that continues. There’s a lot of hail, big winds and torrential rain around.
We found a nice little Billabong at Durikai State Forest just west of here towards Karara. The birds were chirping like crazy, it really lifted our spirits, so many honeyeaters there but they were very wary of us. We were very quiet and sneaky but they were on to us and soon as we got near them they flew off to another part of the Billabong. One of those collapsible bird hides would have been great here.
Queen Mary Falls, Killarney Queensland
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Leslie Dam, The Billabong & Queen Mary Falls
More Eastern Water Dragons
Today we drove to Queen Mary Falls, about 40 minutes drive east. We have been there many times and it’s a fantastic place. The afternoons always seem better there as the sun is on the waterfall and today was a lot of birds out and about and so many of the Water Dragons. I just love them, each one is different depending on how they are camouflaged so Anthony got some great photos and I got some great video of two squabbling over something…maybe the best rock to view the falls from😁😁
It’s one of our favourite places to visit. Please enjoy the pics and video,
Wow what can I say?? The photos and videos speak for themselves. This is a definite must do place to visit again. After missing out on the Sea Eagle photos we decided to cheat a little…… Anthony went to the Bait shop and found a whopping big mullet that cost $6, I couldn’t believe one bait fish would cost that much. We defrosted it and went back to the rocky ledge at Iluka Bluff and placed it where we could get good video and photos. The Brahminy Kite was on to it within minutes and had a great feed, of course birds of prey always eat the eyes first, must be some delicacy for them. He tried to lift it a couple of times but it was too heavy. He flew off with plenty left over and we were hoping the Sea Eagles would come and pay a visit. We thought maybe they wouldn’t come this time, we were scanning the perimeters for about half an hour.
Anthony’s battery was going flat and as he was changing it one of the Eagles appeared flying so low across the beach I almost missed him. He zeroed in on the fish and bang …..he grabbed it and was off. He must have spotted that fish from miles away, Amazing hey??
Of course Anthony couldn’t get his camera around in time and focus so sadly missed out but I managed to get it on video.🤩🤩
Today was our last chance to try again so another defrosted $6 fish and back down to the rocky ledge. This time the Brahminy was there with his mate so after one finished having a snack the other one came down. After a while the Sea Eagle appeared and tried to swoop the fish but the Brahminies wouldn’t let him , it was great to watch the mid air tussle going on. We were surprised that the Eagle gave up and took off but came back about an hour later and took us by surprise again, it’s unbelievable how fast a big bird like that is. I only just got it on video and Anthony missed out yet again.😪😪
But Wow what a fantastic show.
Iluka Buff – featuring Sea-Eagle action
Click or press on images for larger view
We walked through the rainforest at the Iluka reserve that is World heritage listed. Lots of birdlife there too and a really nice walk. We were lucky to spot the Rufous Fantails building a nest.The walk goes from the Bluff through to the harbour and township of Iluka around 1.5 hours one way.
So we have had an amazing time here, could probably stay longer but yet again the weather will be deteriorating from tomorrow afternoon so we want to get further up the road. Eventually we will have to work again so have to keep moving along. This was our last day on the coast, we will be inland at the Murwilumba Showgrounds for a few nights and then see how the weather shapes up. Please enjoy the pics and videos.
Well we found a nice spot to stay in Grafton. It’s called The Gateway Lifestyle Grafton, fancy name and not that many caravan sites as it’s mostly taken up by the lifestyle village. But the sites are nice and roomy and very manicured and not expensive. Today we drove out towards a place called Lawrence around 20 kms away, getting quite close to The Clarence River along the way which is just a massive river system. Just before you get to Lawrence you turn off and follow another smaller river called Sportsman’s creek which then goes into another smaller creek called Woody creek and really there is quite a lot of birdlife all along this river system.
Apparently when it floods they get around 70 Brolgas come to visit and numerous Jabirus but there hasn’t been a lot of rain so we weren’t expecting to see those sort of birds. But we did see a Wedge Tailed Eagle and quite a few Whistling Kites. It’s very open farmland around there but lots of big dead trees and trees along the creek. Pretty much all the hollows in the dead trees were taken up by the Lorikeets, they certainly know prime real estate when they see it. We spotted the Restless Flycatchers a few times, their chattering call is fantastic, eventually we spotted the pair building a nest hanging over the creek which we would never have seen if they weren’t there together.There were kingfishers and lots of Superb fairy wrens and numerous other birds, we had a fantastic morning exploring these swamps. We probably could have walked further but it was pretty hot by lunch time around 28 degrees and guess which Wally didn’t take a hat 😳😳 We wouldn’t mind visiting again but will have to see how the weather goes as parts of the track going in would turn to mud with a bit of rain…..which has arrived by the way.
Press or click NPWS logo for detailed information about this area
Click or press image for larger view
Everlasting Swamp NP
We will probably check out Grafton town tomorrow if it’s still raining.
Wow wow wow, what a day🤩🤩🤩🤩 We spent most of the day with friends sitting on the rocks on top of Grassy Head watching the Humpback Whales migrating south with their new babies in tow. They came so close, it was very windy so I’ve added some nice relaxing music to my video. A couple of Dolphins came in too and one went surfing with the whales, yes I know, hard to believe but I captured it on my video, just fantastic to see. It was hard to pull ourselves away as in the distance we could see so many more splashes still coming, I think anyone out whale watching today from any of the coastal viewpoints would have had a fantastic day.
Anthony didn’t get too many pics but their white tails and amazing blue ocean make for great photography.
So before you all go to bed, you could make yourselves a nice cuppa and watch my relaxing video and I’m sure you will all have sweet dreams…. Please enjoy,
Hello again, today we took a drive to Smoky Cape which is just south of South West Rocks. Well we found another Wow place, honestly if you have never been to this part of Australia, you have to visit.
This time of year all the Whales have just been migrating North and over the last few days it seems they are heading South already. Every time we look, we always see them, usually quite a distance away but today we were walking along the track and one was breaching just off the cliffs. I couldn’t get my video going quick enough but Anthony got some great photos. What an experience. We saw them on the way back from our walk too, they are doing all sorts of displays, with their fins sticking out and when they breach like that is just fantastic.
We walked our socks off today, there’s a very picturesque lighthouse and a few tracks here, we walked the coastal one, also saw a few birds of prey and the scenery is stunning. As you can see the weather today was just perfect, and we only saw a few people on those perfect beaches.
Whale Watching – Smoky Cape
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Smoky Cape Lighthouse
More images of Smoky Cape
We just love Brahminy Kites
Processed with MOLDIV
Ok we love Brahminy Kites
A few more birds in flight
We also visited Boyters Lane again, there’s always something to see along this dirt road. Luckily we had some rain last night so it wasn’t too dusty walking along with cars passing, although they do all slow down when they see us avid birdwatchers. Both sides of the Lane are really just cow paddocks but very swampy along the roadside fence and there’s quite an aroma of cow dung in the air and the swampy water, doesn’t look very clean but I guess the birds must like it because there’s plenty here. Especially Ducks, Stilts and the gorgeous little Dotterels. We did see two Jabirus (Black-necked Storks) but they were just flying off. Better luck next time.
There’s a small wetland at the start of the Lane which is where we saw the huge Kangaroo, wow he came bouncing along the track and stood over 6 feet tall when he almost bumped into us. Yikes…. I was already trying to find a tree to hide behind. He realised we were good humans and just bounded past us, what a beautiful animal, we just love encounters like that.
Snippets from Boyter’s Lane and Grassy Head
And some other birds
Well how time flies yet again, it’s hard to believe nearly another week has flown past. We are still at Grassy Head and have been busy most days getting out and about but not too far from here. We had a few iffy days with the rain and lots of wind etc so not really the best conditions for videos and photography.
The forest alongside the beach here is very similar to the Bongil Bongil walk which we had recently done, as you can also hear the surf while walking through and we have seen the same birds here, we are hoping to go a bit earlier in the morning and try for better photos.
Well we have been at Grassy Head a few days now and it’s been fantastic. We can easily walk from the van to the headland and the stunning beaches, there’s a strip of trees between us and the beach so it’s quite sheltered from the wind as well. We took a drive to Crescent Head and it is also a stunning place, we saw lots of dolphins here quite close to the surfers. The Yarriabini National Park is just up the road from here and the drive up the mountain to the lookout has got some beautiful big Flooded Gum trees. We only went as far as the picnic area and walked around the loop walk, we saw a few birds there. The lookout was another 6 kms from there but some big black clouds were rolling in and it’s quite a slow dirt road so we will leave that for another day.
Flooded Gum upshot – Yarriabini NP
Yarriabini National Park
Yarriabini National Park
Picturesque Crescent Head
White-bellied Sea-eagle Soaring – Grassy Head
A few other Flyby’s
Macleay Valley Coast
Driving around this area is great too, very picturesque and always something to see. The headland here at Grassy Head has become one of our most favourite places to hang out. We have seen the Humpback Whales a few times now and this morning they came in quite close to the beach and surfers. Yesterday afternoon there was lots of tail slapping going on. It’s fantastic to see these mighty creatures in action. The birds of prey here are amazing to watch too, they soar across the headland and you can lay back in the grass and just look up at them in awe. It will be hard to leave this magical place.
Hello everyone, I just realised it’s been 5 days since our last blog…… how time flies here. We have been out and about every day though the cold mornings make it hard to leave the pod too early. Really, it’s still around 10 degrees in the mornings and we have also had some very windy days which has made visiting the headlands still enjoyable but not very comfortable.
Bird of Prey in flight captures
We have also been catching up with friends and did take another drive up to Dorrigo, by the way it was 12 degrees up there so we had jackets on the whole time. The Dangar falls up there are very picturesque and we did another 8 km walk around the rainforest at the Dorrigo NP. We didn’t see many birds though, I think the cold weather is scaring them off. We have been to the Bongil Bongil NP again a few times which is always nice. We were there yesterday and saw the Osprey had caught a fish and while we were standing on the beach this RAAF plane came and did a very low flyby, I was so excited, I was waving like crazy….the noise was deafening and the pilot dipped his wings a couple of times as he blitzed past, how cool is that??? Even more amazing that Anthony got a great photo as well. You just never know what you will see when out and about.
Today we finally put our canoe in the water at Sawtell, there’s a great spot to launch it at the Bonville creek boat ramp. Wow what a beautiful morning, couldn’t have asked for better, we saw plenty of birds of prey but nothing close enough for a photo. Not many other birds either but we did have a close encounter with this huge Stingray, almost slid under the canoe but veered off at the last minute. Great to see. Of course the wind really picked up on the way back and luckily we could walk and pull the canoe along the sandbars most of the way back. It was really good to have the boat back in the water, we used it a lot early on when we first started travelling but seem to forget we have it most of the time. It gives you a great aspect when photographing the wading birds though so we are hoping to use it a bit more.
Canoeing at Bonville Creek
Perching birds at Bongil Bongil National Park
Tomorrow we have a huge trip…..we are towing our pod to Grassy Head, it’s maybe 1 hours drive away, we just really fell in love with the place so had a look the other day to see if we could fit in there and have booked for 10 days. There’s also a lot to see further south from there too so we are really looking forward to that. It will be Chloe’s (our cat) second trip and it’s not long so hope she doesn’t stress too much. She has been using the cat enclosure at last but doesn’t stay out for long. She moves around from spot to spot chasing the sun coming through the windows and is very relaxed in our pod.
Dangar Falls & Sawtell birding
Please enjoy the pics and video….I have finally managed to edit music on to my snippets. I have been struggling to get much footage with the wind always howling. Now I can just put nice music over the top.🤩🤩. I randomly picked the music in this video, it’s called “Among the clouds” and it’s just beautiful so hope you like it.
Well we’ve had a fantastic few days, visited Muttonbird island which you can walk to from the marina at Coffs Harbour, it’s quite hilly and great views back to the harbour and out to Little muttonbird island. It’s very interesting too with lots of informative signs with what the Parks and Wildlife are trying to do to save the Wedge-tailed Shearwater that nests on the island. As you can imagine these birds have everything against them, mainly of course our human activity but you can read more about it at the link below.
It was very windy though so I couldn’t take any videos and we didn’t see many birds either though the Pipit was very friendly and came so close Anthony had to back away with his big lens to even get a photo. These little birds are normally so elusive, we were very happy so get so close.
Click or Press on above NPWS Logo to learn more about Muttonbird Is.
We also had to pay Grassy Head another visit, this is where we had the Whistling Kites soaring over our heads. They weren’t there this time but we saw the Brahminy Kite and also a beautiful Immature Sea Eagle soared very close over our heads. It’s a great spot right at the tip, if you have some patience, a bird of prey usually comes scouting along the cliffs here. We were hoping to get a downward photo of one as they sometimes fly below the cliffs but we just missed out. Better luck next time. The walk to the tip is through lots of native grasses and bushes, there is a track but a bit overgrown. We are a bit worried as with the warmer weather I guess snakes will start getting active so we will have to be very careful. It’s one of our favourite places now though so will have to go back.
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Seabirds and waders
Other small birds
Coffs Harbour Botanical Gardens
Coffs Harbour Botanical Gardens
Coffs and surrounds
We also visited the Botanical Gardens in Coffs Harbour which are just beautiful right next to the river and some amazing big trees there and always the chance of seeing birds.
Every morning we have a big decision to make as to where to go for the day. We are so spoilt for choice here, it will be hard to leave this stretch of coast.. There’s still so many places we haven’t been to yet, and also put our canoe in somewhere but conditions have to be perfect for that but hopefully in the next few days. So enjoy the pics and video.
We had another fantastic day today. We drove to Sawtell again, you can just walk your socks off here, so many spots to check out for birds. We were lucky to see the Osprey and the Sooty Oystercatcher having baths, fantastic to see. We realised that low tide is the best time to view these estuaries as there must be so much fresh water coming out and that is when the birds seem to be having baths. Pretty clever hey?? Why have a bath in salt water when you can have fresh. Anthony had a taste to confirm this and it was only a tiny bit salty.
Today’s birds from Sawtell
Our day at Sawtell
We had a few fly overs again with some Whistling Kites and amazed to see the Square tailed Kite again. Maybe he was the same one from Bongil Bongil NP which is only just down the road.
Check out the dancing seagulls on my video, so funny, we have never seen this before but very impressive tap dancing by the male. I never knew seagulls were so entertaining. Please enjoy the pics and video.