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

South West Rocks

Eastern Osprey
Eastern Osprey

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Well we had another fantastic day down here on the coast. We drove for an hour down to South West Rocks. We stopped at a lagoon at Jerseyville, a great spot, didn’t see too many critters though. We met a guy there who after chatting for a while, invited us down the road to his property on the river. He has built a pole with a flat top to entice ospreys to nest there. It’s taken six years and at last they are nesting. It was fantastic to watch them flying in and out, what a great spot, we also saw a Sea eagle and Brahminy kite there but no photos. There were other dams and wetlands just up the road too and there are quite a few stilts and herons around, and it was great to see a couple of brolgas too though a fair distance away.

South West Rocks
South West Rocks
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We then continued on to South west rocks. Another great little town on the coast. A beautiful setting there with a nice beach and estuary. The rocks here are fantastic colours and came up really well in the photos. We walked our socks off around here, but there is so many walks, we will have to go back another day as we really ran out of time. Also saw some humpback whales travelling up the coast. And look at the size of the skippies here….enormous. I don’t think I have ever seen such big kangaroos.
Well it’s been great fun checking out all these new places and we have a few new places picked out for tomorrow so catch you then.
Bye for now, Steph and Anthony.
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South West Rocks
A Grevillea for Stephanie
A Grevillea for Stephanie

Stunning Sawtell

Boambee Inlet
Boambee Creek Inlet at Sawtell

Click or Press on Image to view larger

Wow what a great day. We drove north today up to Sawtell which is only around 20 minutes on the highway. The coastline and eastuaries here are also spectacular. The weather was fantastic and the colours of the ocean and clear waters of the estuaries made fantastic photos. We are just loving how clean the coast is here, there must be a lot of dedicated people keeping it clean or very nice concentious people living here because we haven’t seen any rubbish in the waterways at all. Absolutely fantastic. There’s so many birds of prey here but it’s been really hard to get really good videos or photos so far but we are trying.

 

Pied Oystercatcher, Bonville Creek
Pied Oystercatcher, Bonville Creek

 

 

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Spectacular Coastline around Sawtell

 

Sawtell is also a great town with up market shops and great cafes, we are looking forward to visiting there again. We thought we would do more today but it’s very time consuming walking around these coastal paths which are everywhere and some are also a bit hidden, some pass through rainforest so you never know where you will pop out. Tomorrow will be another great day weather wise so will maybe head south for a look.
Cheers Steph and Anthony.
So I left the camera with Stephanie
So I left the camera with Stephanie

 

Urunga and Valla Beaches & Estuaries

Urunga estuaries and boardwalk

 

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Beautiful Urunga beach & estuaries 

 

Common residents of Urunga

 

More critters

 

Another fantastic day in paradise. We went for a short drive into the town of Urunga, only about 5 minutes away, it’s a nice village type town, quite small and you can walk from there to the boardwalk down by the estuary. The boardwalk is 1 km long and goes out to the headland and beach, so nice and peaceful walking along there, lots of banksias along the way so we could hear a few honeyeaters in them, but couldn’t get a photo. There’s another off shoot from  the boardwalk that goes down further into the estuary and we saw 2 Brahminy kites flying around. Also missed out on good photos as we didn’t see them till too late but we will get our canoe  out soon and go for a paddle, to see if we can get better photos. We think they are building a nest there.

 

Boardwalk over Deepwater creek to Valla Beach

 

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Just a couple of birds

Murals in progress – Urunga
We drove from there to Valla beach, another perk spot in paradise, another estuary and short boardwalk going over the  creek there. We certainly picked a nice day for it, hardly any wind and warm and sunny. It looks like it will be raining over the weekend, we can’t remember the last time we were in rain so it will be a change, we might have to go shopping instead of exploring…..
Cheers, Steph and Anthony.
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The beauty of Urunga and Valla Beaches & Estuaries 

Dorrigo National Park, NSW

Crystal Showers Falls, Dorrigo National Park
Crystal Showers Falls, Dorrigo National Park

Well our little trip to Urunga went well, with traffic getting through Coffs Harbour it was around an hour. We decided to leave Chloe in the van instead of stressing her out by putting her in the pet carrier and then in the noisy truck. We had plenty of time so we slowly packed things away, she only started to notice something was up when we put the sliding walls in but we just patted and reassured her a lot and she was fine.

When we pulled up at the van park in Urunga I quickly checked on her and she was miaowing and had wedged herself between the bed and the cupboard so that was good, she came out straight away and had her tail up and was quite vocal but in a good way so she got lots of pats and once we had set up again she was fine. We will put another concertina door in, blocking off the bedroom so she will be locked in there with her litter tray when travelling and it’s not a big space with the bedroom slide in so hopefully she will get used to it.  Our other two cats always travelled in the van but were clever enough to wedge themselves into our bed pillows and look out the window and watch the world go by.
Our camping spot on the River at Urunga and collapsible Cat Outdoor enclosure
We have a nice spot here on the river so will be able to blow up our little two man canoe and see if we can get some photos of some river birds maybe. Today we drove up to Dorrigo, we have been there before and it’s a great little village, we had brunch at a nice cafe then walked around the National Park for the afternoon which is another beautiful spot in nature. It’s very dry at the moment but rain is coming for the weekend. It was rather cool up there though so we had jumpers on all day. A lot of birds have migrated north but we still saw quite a few and saw 3 Lyrebirds which was great, they are normally quite elusive.

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Dorrigo National Park 

 

 

We feel very relaxed here and have many day trips planned so stay tuned.
Bye  for now Steph and Anthony.

Tenterfield to Moonee Beach & Introducing Chloe

Moonee Beach
Moonee Beach

 

Hello all, we have been having a good time since Toowoomba, we overnighted at the Showgrounds in Tenterfield just over the Qld border into NSW. It was freezing, very windy but we backed up to a little creek, didn’t see any platypus but there was heaps of birdlife, so Anthony got some nice photos out the back window. This pod is a great bird hide, from the back we can take out a couple of flyscreens and open the windows and get a great view if any birds come around.

 

Superb Fairy Wren

 

 

 

We had a long trip to Moonee beach, it didn’t look far on the map but coming down the range to Grafton was very steep and very slow. We had to have the truck in first gear many times so we were lucky to do around 40 km/ per hour. So our 3 hour trip turned into nearly 5 hours. Moonee Beach is spectacular,a fantastic part of the coast.  The van park here takes up a huge area at an estuary and some beautiful surf beaches, great little walks around the headland and lots of birdlife too. We saw a few sea eagles but missed out on photos.
White Faced Heron
White-Faced Heron
Click or press image for larger view 
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Moonee Beach

Moonee Beach
Moonee Beach
We did rescue a cat yesterday after hearing from a friend that she wasn’t being looked after and was going to be euthanised. It’s a long story but we decided we could look after her as we had the 2 cats before and still luckily had the travelling cat enclosure. Her name is Chloe and she is 15 years old. She is a little skinny and was very distressed yesterday but has come good in leaps and bounds today. She is quite the chatterbox now with an amazing array of friendly chirps and meeow’s, very different from her angry face and distressed yowling she was doing when we picked her up. We will slowly get her on a better diet and try to give her a good life from now. Of course she will probably hate the travelling bit but we will try to make her as comfortable as possible and hopefully she will forgive us once we have set up again and everything is back in order.😼😼😼.

 

Chloe warming to the ‘CatMax’ outdoor enclosure
Tomorrow we are having a huge trip to Urunga, maybe 35 minutes 😁😁 The caravan park is much cheaper and we are hoping to hang out there for at least a few weeks and do day trips to the surrounding nature hotspots. Also catch up with some amazing friends and generally chill out for a bit. We will post more photos of Chloe later and will also get a video of her progress.
Cheers Steph and Anthony.