Grassy Head & Surrounds

Grassy Head
The secluded Grassy Head

 

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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.

 

Yarriabini National Park 

 

Superb Fairy Wren
Stunning Superb Fairy Wren

 

 

 

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Yarriabini National Park 

 

Picturesque Crescent Head 

Brahminy Kite Flyby- Grassy Head
Brahminy Kite Flyby- Grassy Head

 

A few other Flyby’s 
Stephanie waiting for some action at Grassy Head.

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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.
Bye for now, Steph and Anthony.

Showroom Surf + Espresso, Scotts Head – Fantastic Coffee

Dorrigo visit and Sawtell birding

Dangar Falls, Dorrigo
Dangar Falls, Dorrigo

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Sawtell and Bongil Bongil 


 

Pelican pair glideby

 

 

 

Some coastal birds

 

Pelican Glideby

 


 

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.

 

Osprey soaring
Osprey soaring

 

 

 

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.
RAAF Hawk Flyby
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 

White-cheeked Honeyeater at Sawtell

 

 

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.
Chloe catching some sun
Chloe catching some Sun

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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.
Bye for now, Steph and Anthony.

Birding – Muttonbird Is. Coffs Harbour & Surrounds

Coffs Harbour Marina
View from Muttonbird Island

 

 

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.
Immature White-bellied Sea-eagle Flyby
Immature White-bellied Sea-eagle Flyby

 

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Seabirds and waders
Beautiful Coastlines
Australasian Pipit
Australasian Pipit photographed at Muttonbird Island
Other small birds
Coffs Harbour Botanical Gardens 

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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.
Bye for now, Steph and Anthony.

Another nice flower for Stephanie

Birding at Sawtell

Bonville Creek, Spot the Little Egret
Bonville Creek, Spot the Little Egret
Greater Crested Tern
Greater Crested Tern Flyby

 

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Other Flybys today


 

 

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.

 

Sooty Oystercatcher
Sooty Oystercatcher

 

Today’s birds from Sawtell

 

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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.
Bye for now, Steph and Anthony.

 

 

And a couple of Butterflies 

Scott’s Head, Stuart’s Point & Grassy Head

Grassy Head
Grassy Head

 

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Stunning coastline of this region

 

 

Murals and Mosaics at Scott’s Head

 

 

Wow what a day…..It’s quite amazing how we can go out nearly every day exploring and looking for birds and we can still find so many fantastic photos. We left a bit earlier this morning as it was a bit of a drive down south of Nambucca, around Grassy head. We actually missed the turn-off and ended up further south, at Stuart point. It didn’t really matter though as we were doing a circuit anyway though we did it the opposite way instead. Stuart poInt was nice, another footbridge to cross over the river into some nice bush land and a nice walk to the beach. It seems the whole coast here is full of estuaries, rivers, creeks, stunning beaches, boardwalks etc. Fantastic, we just love it down here.

 

Whistling Kite
One of the Whistling Kites we were fixated by at Grassy Head

 

 

Flyby’s of the day

We then drove further north to Grassy head and this was a wow factor for us. The beach there… Wow, then we walked around Grassy head. We just got around the headland and three Whistling Kites appeared and  they were having such a great time. They flew right over our heads and we quickly threw ourselves on the grass which was nice and soft….they were quite curious and were hovering over us so close it felt like we could reach up and touch them. It was quite windy and sometimes they flew past with the wind behind them and they are like bullets, they just streamed past so fast and other times they came around the opposite way and were at a standstill against the wind which allowed Anthony to get some great photos. We found it hard to leave here but eventually the Kites moved further down the coast a bit and we lost sight of them. Neither of us has ever had an experience like this where we are laying flat on the grass with birds of prey hovering over us and looking into their beautiful eyes, it’s something magical that will stay with us forever.
Little Wattlebird feasting among a Coral Tree

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Grassy Head and surrounds 

 

 

Very elaborate selfies

We drove further north to Scott’s Head, another beautiful place, more built up and lots of new houses and new shops. The main beach,(Forster Beach) wow factor yet again and there are some huge paperbark trees around the walkway to the beach. And check out the mural mosaics at the public loos here, fantastic.
There’s a little walk up the headland here too with a lookout and while we were admiring the view Anthony noticed a plane coming our way….very low. It was a RAAF plane obviously doing some sort of training excercise but golly, we got some great video and photos as he zipped past us, it was great to see. On the other side of the headland is yet another stunning beach called Little beach.
We had planned to go to the Yarriabini National Park as well but tick tock tick tock..we also had to go shopping on the way home so will leave that for another day. We have a few glorious days coming now weather wise so will get out as much as we can.
Cheers Steph and Anthony.

 

Adding to our days flyby’s. The RAAF joined in at Scott’s Head

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.
Click or press image for larger view 
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

Birding -Valla Beach & Macksville Surrounds

Striated Pardalote on guard Valla Beach

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Some birds from Valla Beach

 

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Another day at Valla Beach

 

Welcome Swallow
Welcome Swallow resting on the bridge over Deep Creek

 

Well we had some horrible rainy weather come through a few days ago so caught up on some inside jobs instead of going out. We woke up to rain again yesterday but after looking on the weather radar it seemed our best option was to drive south a little as the heaviest rain was to the north. We felt like we had hardly moved for a whole day so really had to get out. It was a smart move as we only drove 10 minutes to Valla beach and the sky was patchy blue and hooray….the sun was shinning. This is such a beautiful spot, it really lifts your spirits to spend time in these amazing places. The estuarine waters seem to change colour with the sky. We walked over the bridge and we always see a few birds of prey here, and this time we also saw a few striated herons which we hadn’t seen before. There’s a track on the other side that goes all the way to Nambucca heads, we headed up to the mouth of the inlet first but a huge black cloud had its eye on us and we had to get cracking to get back to the truck before we got rained on. After the shower passed the blue sky appeared and it looked clear for a while. We walked down the other track for a  bit and saw lots of birds, there’s a few spots where you can walk to the beach as well so it’s definitely a place we will revisit many times.

 

Little Black Cormorant
Little Black Cormorant at Warrell Creek

 

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Some birds from Gumma Reserve

 

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Birds of Gumma Reserve & Macksville

Today we picked up one of my besties living in Nambucca and drove a little further south again to Macksville,it’s always good to have another pair of birdwatching eyes too. Macksville is a cute little country town with a small lake that just happened to have a whole flock of royal spoonbills roosting there. We have struggled to get close to these amazing birds and have only ever seen maybe two at one time so we were amazed to see so many together. We had a fantastic cuppochino and lunch at a little cafe there so will definetly go back for another visit. We also walked along a part of Warrell creek at the Gumma reserve which was another great spot for birdwatching. The creek is quite narrow here and across the other side is all national park, this would be a great spot to put our canoe in as we can park the truck right next to the creek so  don’t have to carry the canoe too far. We really need a nice day for that with no rain in sight. So another couple of fantastic days in paradise, hope you enjoy the pics and videos.
All the best, Steph and Anthony.

A handsome pair of King Parrots

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