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

 

 

Jourama Falls and Birding at Tyto

Top of the Falls

We have had another couple of great days in Ingham.

Yesterday we drove south to Jourama Falls only about a 20 minute drive, the last 5 kms is corrugated dirt but our truck doesn’t seem to mind the corrugated roads. It must be the length and also maybe the dual wheels at the back but I think a standard car would be shaken to bits.


 

Pathway to the falls
It was very overcast, no rain but not very good for photos. The birds didn’t want to come out and play either. On a previous visit to the Falls and later in the year this place is teeming with dragonflies but we didn’t see one. We had a picnic lunch and still a beautiful place to visit and a great little hike up to the waterfall lookout.
We popped into Tyto in the afternoon but didn’t get any photos there either. I think, like us, the birds like to see the sun.

A rare occasion when a Spectacled Monarch sits still long enough to snatch a pic

 

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Press play to view a short clip of Jourama Falls

 

Today….

beautiful blue skies again. We visited Tyto this morning and wow, what a difference.

Birds were chirping everywhere, Anthony got some great photos. We missed out on a Jabiru flying off and at one time there was a wedge tail eagle getting harassed by about a dozen whistling kites. Great to watch but too far away for photos.

There is always something to see here.


An Egret surveying his domain
Those Spurs on the leading edge of the wing is a good enough reason to avoid being swooped by ‘Plovers’ (Masked Lapwings)

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Here’s a selection of pics featuring the gorgous Red-backed Fairywrens

This Leaden Flycatcher allowed us to get very close and personal … bless his cotton socks

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Press Play to view Tyto Birds Video

 

Well this is our last day here, tomorrow we are heading north again and up the Palmerston Highway to the Tablelands.
We like the trip up there. We are booked into a van park in Yungaburra, one of our favourite places but it’s extremely busy and we are not sure yet if we can fit in. One of the pit falls when being so big.🙄🙄
See how we go, bye for now, Steph and Anthony.

Beautiful Lily Flowers

 

Tyto Wetlands – Birders Paradise

Tyto Wetlands
Tyto Wetlands main veiwing platform

 

Well since the last blog we have moved on to Ingham, only about an hour north of Bluewater.

It’s your typical North Queensland country town but they do have a jewel in their crown….. The Tyto Wetlands.

We have been going mornings and afternoons for the last 5 days and it’s just fantastic for birdwatching.

The path is a very wide mowed strip of grass so besides looking down for snakes….. you have plenty of freedom to look around for birds.

It’s very open there and we have seen quite a few flybys, a Pacific Baza, Brown Goshawk, Whistling Kites, the usual Darters and Herons etc. but boy you have to be quick.

Anthony has missed out on those but we are here a bit longer so will keep trying.

 

Mistletoe Birds everywhere at the moment. Usually quite high. However this young female gave us quite a show

Yesterday we spotted the Little Kingfisher, he is always in the same area but hardly comes out from the shade of the trees so we will have to be really patient there to get a good photo. The bird list here is really impressive, it would be nice to hang out here indefinitely to see new birds coming in, everyday we have seen something different but we will move on north next week, and visit again on our way back south around October. We have also been blessed with fantastic weather, blue skies every day so lucky as the bad weather only just broke the day before we came here.

 

Male Leaden Flycatcher ; Tyto Wetlands
Male Leaden Flycatcher ; Tyto Wetlands

 

 

Anthony has captured some amazing photos, many have been chosen for the Flickr Gallery of Excellence. He is very happy. So we will do more blogs of Tyto as the photos come in.

 

Darter : Tyto Wetylands
“Morning Call” : Male Darter

 

There’s other amazing places to see within an hours drive from here, Wallaman falls and Broadwater National Park and the coast so we are also looking forward to visiting them over the next few days. Enjoy the pics and bye for now.

Steph and Anthony.

 

Inflight Chalky Percher Dragonfly
Inflight Chalky Percher Dragonfly : Tyto Wetlands

Birding at Townsville Common

Looking back at Castle Hill from the Common

Well the last blog seems like ages ago and we really haven’t done much. The weather did turn nasty so we have been making our way slowly north but of course travelling on the Bruce Highway is very busy and pretty much featureless if you ask me. Maybe the inland roads would be a better way for us to go🙄🙄

“Gotta Scratch” Rainbow Bee-eaters.

We are now just north of Townsville at Bluewater and even though it was raining yesterday morning we decided to drive back past the city and check out The Townsville Common.

The rain did stop and the sun did poke out enough to get some fantastic bird photos. It’s a great place where you could really walk your socks off……plenty of wetlands, saw an osprey nest and a sea eagle nest plus lots of different birds. Mostly they were in the tops of the trees so Anthony missed out on a lot of photos too. I’m sure the bird species list would be quite impressive for this area.
Had a great day, athough the drive is an hour one way from out here.
Maybe next time we could find a van park closer.

Alway exciting to see a Black-necked Stork (Jabiru)

The van park here also has a little creek with paperbarks, pandanus trees etc, very picturesque and we have spotted a few birds and bugs around too. There always generally is something to get a photo off when in these little pockets of nature.

Forrest Kingfisher checking us out

Slender Skimmer Dragonly

Tomorrow…..fingers crossed…..we will drive up the range to Paluma. A beautiful spot too but the weather doesn’t look promising but will give it a go.

Cheers Steph and Anthony.

Black and white Tiger Butterfly