Birds of Mt Carbine Caravan Park

If Looks could Kill : Blue-winged Kookaburra
Well it’s very windy this morning here at Mount Carbine Caravan Park lots of clouds about. We had a quick look for birds but we are also in a hurry as we have to pack up and head off to Cooktown, not a good combination when trying to spot birds.
The Great Bowerbird has been fantastic to watch here, he has only just started tending his bower so I will try to get more video footage when we come back on our return trip. He does some pretty groovy dance moves I would love to capture but missed out this time. Anthony also got some great photos. Some of the bird tours around the area bring their customers here as the birdlife is very reliable.

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Great Bowerbirds are everywhere here

Tending his Bower

 

White-bellied Cuckoo-shrike

 

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Press Play to view Stephanie’s Video Snippets

 

A sleeping Tawny Frogmouth

 

The Tawny Frogmouths are always perched near the lights over the loos…..they don’t have to go far for insects at night time.
The owner here, Nicky also keeps an eye on what birds are where according to flowering and fruiting trees so it’s a really nice relaxing place to hang out for a few days.
And if you have a cat in an enclosure……well all the birds will just come to you to sound off their warnings🙄🙄
Have a great day whatever you are up to…..we are off to Cooktown shortly.
Cheers Steph and Anthony.

Common Glider Dragonfly

Mount Lewis to Molloy

The Picturesque Dam ending the Mount Lewis Rainforest Walk

Hello again, we had another great day.

We decided to visit Mount Lewis as we have heard so much about this place for exceptional birdlife.

Another early morning as it’s quite a drive from here( Mount Carbine) to just outside Julatten. We weren’t sure if our big f truck would fit on the steep, narrow and windy dirt road but decided to give it a go.

Well it was just fine but we were glad we didn’t have to pass anyone coming the other way…..that would have been a bit squishy🙄🙄

It’s about 10 kms to a clearing where there is a 2 km rainforest walking track to a beautiful dam. It’s around another 18 kms to the top of Mount Lewis but there is a sign that says it’s 4 WD from the clearing and we really didn’t want to push our luck plus it was a very slow trip to there.

 

At Mount Lewis
Grey-headed Robin a very common Rainforest bird
Red-bellied Black Snake
I think our expectations were a bit high for this place…… as we really didn’t see many birds. The ones we did see were very high in the canopy.
The Chowchillas were very nervous, I got some video but Anthony missed out for photos. Also the Tooth billed Bowerbird was so hard to spot even though we could hear him for ages. Another missed photo but I did manage to get the last bit of his spectacular very loud voice on video.
When we arrived at the dam, this beautiful ( enormous) Red bellied black snake was basking on the path in the sun.
We couldn’t believe our luck, what a beautiful big healthy snake, absolutely awesome to see.
We were very quiet and he wasn’t bothered by us one bit…..even slithered straight towards me when he decided to go hunting.
I had to quickly do the sideways shuffle to get out the way….wow could he move at speed.
I captured it all on video 🤩🤩  not my panicked shuffle of course but the awesome snake🙄😳
It was a great place to visit but not sure we would be racing back up there any time soon.

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Press Play to View Stephanie’s Snippets

Lemon-bellied Flycatcher

 

On the way back we stopped at a little rest area near a babbling brook that looked promising for birdlife.

And that it was….a hotspot for the spectacled Monarch. This gorgeous little bird always has Anthony so frustrated as they never seem to come out from the shadows.

Well he found a place in the brook on top of some rocks where the trees opened up a bit and all sorts of birds came out to play…..some even coming down for a little drink.

 

 

Fresh Painted Grasshawk Dragonfly

 

 

Onwards to Mount Molloy…..
What a hidden gem this place is. The Bicentennial Park with a few picturesque lagoons, is a really nice spot.
We found quite a few dragonflies and Butterflies here.
Across the road were some amazing flowering grevillea trees with plenty of honeyeaters in them. It was already getting late so we will have to visit here again with more time to spare.
In the morning we will look around the park here at Mount Carbine, we know there’s plenty of birds here too but we also have to move on to Cooktown so this is probably another place we will come back to and explore further.
Please enjoy the pics and video,
Cheers Steph and Anthony.
Spiny Orb Weaver Spider

Birding on the Daintree

Little Kingfisher
The Jewel of the Daintree : Little Kingfisher

Wow wow wow, what an amazing time we have been having😃😃 Our short road trip to Mount Carbine went well. The Mount Carbine caravan park is nice, we really feel like we are outback now. The terrain is very dry and crispy, we are hooked up to bore water here ( not so good ). There is a lot of birdlife around the park but we will do a separate blog just for here when we have finished our stay because I really need to tell you about the awesome day we had today.

 

The Rarely seen Great-billed Heron
We got up extra early…4 am to quickly have our cappochinos and head off to the Daintree River.
Quite a drive from here, just over an hour, but off course still being dark we had to drive slower and also there’s a very windy steep range road with B double sugar cane trucks using it at the moment. We didn’t want to miss the river tour we had booked, and arrived with time to spare.
We also picked a beautiful day…..blue sky, no wind and also a low tide so things were looking really good.
Luckily there were only 5 passengers today…..all keen to get photos of the little Kingfisher. Murray from the  Daintree Boatman Nature Tours happens to know where all the birds are hiding out or having their favourite roosting spots so we were certainly in for a treat.
The Majestic White-bellied Sea-eagle

 

Male Saltwater Crocodile

 

He took us straight up a little inlet off the Daintree river and being low tide with all the mangrove roots exposed, the little Kingfisher seemed like he was waiting for us. Boy was he hard to spot, such a tiny hyperactive gorgeous little bird….. we almost had to lay on the gunnels of the boat to get a clear view, he was so hidden under the mangroves. Murray kept barking positions at us which helped a lot as he was so quick……we spent half an hour just here getting some great photos and video.

 

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Press Play to view Stephanie’s ‘Best Yet’ Video

 

 

Green Tree Snake soaking up the morning Sun
Green Tree Snake soaking up the morning Sun

 

 

The whole trip was pretty action packed.
Murray has an electric motor which is so very quiet when getting close to the birds, then he switches over to the standard noisy outboard when we had to hightail it down another part of the river to where he knew another bird, crocodile or snake was visible.
The Sea Eagle at the end of the 2 hour tour put on a show for us though we felt really sorry for him as he missed out on a fish. Anthony got some spectacular photos today and
I must say…. I have put together my best video to date, I had to add music as the endless clicking of the cameras, engine noise, and our very excited squeals was detracting from the amazing wildlife.
We normally stay away from tours but thought this was our best option for seeing different birds and boy, we are so glad we did this.
Spectacular Day. Please enjoy the pics and video.
Bye for now, Steph and Anthony.
Peacock Jewel aka 4 O’clock Moth

Birds and Bugs

A male Painted Grasshawk (Seen in Stephanie’s Video)

 

 

Well we finally made the decision to move on. The weather has been very drizzly again the last few days.

Yesterday we drove back to Granite Gorge near Mareeba. You can bet if it’s cold and drizzly here in Yungaburra it’s about 5 degrees warmer and sunny over that way. As soon as you drive off the plateau north towards Mareeba you can just watch the temperature gauge increasing.

It’s a beautiful place in nature and there seems to be a lot more butterflies and dragonflies around the Gorge than anywhere else we have been so far. We did see quite a few birds there as well but we didn’t get there till nearly lunch time so could have done better with photos if we had of gotten there earlier. We will definetly go back there on our return trip.

 

We got lucky….. while touring the tablelands a flock of Sarus Cranes flew over our truck and just had enough time to grab a couple of inflight shots.

 

Grey-crowned Babbler drying off after wash
A Handsome pair of Black Swans
A female Rufous Whistler enjoying the late afternoon Sun

 

Tomorrow we are off to Mount Carbine for 3 nights before heading on to Cooktown. We are really excited to see some new places.

Not really new as we have been to these places before but now that we are always looking for critters it’s a totally different experience. It’s like our eyes are wide open now and are always scanning the trees, sky, grass etc….waiting for something to catch our eye, it’s really fantastic and makes us feel so alive.

We must have had blinkers on before in our old life as I don’t really remember seeing much wildlife when out and about.

 

It was exciting to capture this Orange Threadtail Damselfly Head on inflight.

 

Fresh Painted Grasshawk Dragonfly

 

Just a couple of Butterflies that managed to keep still for a Photo

 

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Press Play and enjoy Stephanie’s latest Video Snippets

 

Please enjoy our last video snippets and photos from the last few days and I hope we see some new and exciting things on our northward journey.

Cheers Steph and Anthony.

 

Upclose with a Peacock and Hen at Granite Gorge

Waterfalls and Wildlife : Atherton Tablelands

A surprise Echidna passes by at Lake Tinaroo

 

Waterfall Drive, Milla Milla – We couldn’t have asked for a better day

Waterfalls of Milla Milla

The weather did take a turn for the worse….. cold and drizzly for about 4 days. We were starting to wonder if we would ever see the sun again. The weather report kept saying the next day would be partly cloudy and when we woke up it was dark and drizzle drizzle, horrible.

We did take the opportunity though to revamp our kitchen, after 11 years of heavy duty use the laminate bench tops were very chipped and scuffed. We decided the simplest and of course cheapest option was to just cover them with marble look a like contact paper, not the cheapie paper though, this contact came from the US as we couldn’t get it here, it’s especially for benchtops. We also did some splash backs with these amazing ….. plastic ….. Tic Tac tiles. They came from England, again, not available here. Well we think it looks amazing even though it is all plastic, so have added some pics at the end of this Blog.

 

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Lumholtz Tree Kangaroo spotting at the Nerada Tea Factory Grounds 

(Luckily we have a long lens to capture these critters high in the tree tops)

 

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Press Play to view Tree Kangaroo Vid


 

Due to the cool and wet weather on the Atherton Tablelands our beloved Dragonflies are few and far between.

Male and Female Fiery Skimmer Dragonflies

 

So back to the weather, the blue skies are back and our spirits have returned with it. We have been out and about everywhere. We just love the tablelands, waterfalls, lakes, wildlife, rainforests and of course, great cafes. What more could you want.

We did live up here for 4 years in Kuranda, but realised we don’t need to live here or anywhere really. With a house on wheels you can just visit the best places at the right time of year, if your lucky of course.

No horrible wet seasons to contend with.

 

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A showcase of stunning Rainbow Bee-eaters

 

 

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This gorgous Red-legged Pademellon was spotted catching the morning sun through a gap in the rainforest

Anthony has been having a feast with the bird photos lately…..we found a little birdie hotspot down by Lake Tinaroo. We can just walk there from our van which is fantastic, this afternoon we were so focused on the brown cuckoo dove eating tobacco bush berries when the echidna just ambled past us. What an amazing creature, we just love seeing these precious little animals that must really be struggling with our human impact.

 

Brown Cuckoo-dove up close and personal

 

Doves Galore on the Tablelands


 

We spotted this Pelican and Little black Cormorant through a small gap in the Rainforrest at Lake Eacham

 

 

White-breasted Woodswallow

We also drove out to the Nerada Tea Plantation which is the best place to see Tree Kangaroos. Its quite a drive but so worth it. I don’t know why but they are always around there somewhere, fantastic. They have even cordoned off their habitat with barbed wire with signs everywhere to keep us out, how cool is that?? I’d rather they didn’t use barbed wire but these amazing animals really need our help. Their habitat is rapidly disappearing so it’s great to see a big company keeping a nice place for them.

 

This little Pale-Yellow Robin is just way too cute

 

This Yellow Honeyeater was observed guarding these Cathedral Bells

 

And a few other critters we stumbled across

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Press play to watch Stephanie’s Snippets

We have to move on soon if we want to get up to Cooktown before the weather heats up, though it will be hard to leave here. I guess we can always come back on our way south again.

At the moment we keep putting off leaving. The joys of freedom.

Enjoy all the amazing photos.

Bye for now, Steph and Anthony.

 

Our Kitchen Makeover

Before

 

After