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
Click or press on bird for larger view
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,
Well this is our third night at the Murwillumbah Showgrounds and the sites here are very much in the open. Our first day was really hot, around 30 degrees and the sun was following the back of the van around so poor Chloe couldn’t sleep in her tunnel out to the cat enclosure. She was quite distressed about it and kept yowling at us to do something, we already had the aircon going and the fan but she has really taken to sleeping in the tunnel till night time. We had storms that night and we couldn’t believe she was still out there with thunder and lightning. She is one strange cat😼😼
The weather turned bad and now it’s like winter again. Long pants and jumpers on today. We have been driving to Uki where there is a fabulous cafe and a really cute little town. Then on to the Wollumbin National Park (Mt Warning)where you can climb Mount Warning, which we have done in the past and it’s fantastic but certainly wouldn’t try with storms around and the mountain top has been covered in clouds the last two days.
We have just been slowly walking around the base of the mountain where there is some beautiful rainforest with enormous trees. We were super lucky to spot a pair of Noisy Pittas and after watching them for a while we noticed where they were building a nest under some roots of a very big tree. We didn’t want to disturb them too much but over the last few days I did get some video, though it’s so dark in that forest with the black clouds hanging around and Anthony got some amazing photos. The Russet tailed Thrush was a new bird for us and we did see a few other birds around there which was amazing considering the weather. We had to run to the truck a few times when some heavy showers came through. It’s certainly a beautiful spot there. The Whip birds were going crazy, you can hear them through out my video but we looked and looked but couldn’t see them at all even though they were so close.
Wollumbin NP (Mt Warning)
Noisy Pitta collecting nesting material
Only a couple of sightings with very bad light
We are hoping that tomorrow morning it’s not raining so we can pack up and move on. We can pack up in the rain but it’s the biggest pain, also climbing on the roof to stow the cat enclosure is a bit risky when it’s so wet. Every where we look on the weather radar it appears to be raining or will be raining in the next few days so that’s a bit depressing for us sun seekers. Also we can’t believe we are back to having the heater on, crazy weather 🤨🤨🤨Enjoy the pics and video, Anthony is super proud of his Pitta photos, he did a bit of slippery rock climbing down the stream to keep track of them. Please keep your fingers crossed for the weather tomorrow. Cheers,
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
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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 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.
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.
Click or press on images for larger view
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.
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.
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.
Click or press image for larger view
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
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.
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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.
A cute native rodent
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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A stunning 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.
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.
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.
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Some birds from Gumma Reserve
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.