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.

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.
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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

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

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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

 

Forests & Coasts

Never Never River, The Promis Land
Never Never River – The Promised Land.

 

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The Promised Land

 

Well how time flies, we are really settled here in Urunga and getting into quite a lazy lifestyle at the moment. The mornings are cold so we are not getting out till after 10 am so we will have to get a wriggle on a bit earlier as by that time of day it’s hard to go too far. We did go for a drive to a road out the back of Bellingen called “the promised land” wow what a beautiful neck of the woods. It’s a really nice country drive through forests and you cross the Never Never river a couple of times where there’s nice camping spots and beautiful trees and crystal clear water . Very picturesque. Today we visited friends in  Nambucca heads, another beautiful place on the coast. Theres also have a lot of boardwalks and fantastic view points, stunning beaches, estuary etc. we have seen quite a few birds of prey but always too late so we will have to look up more to get good photos. We also visited Urunga boardwalk this morning and the tide was coming in and wow, it was so different after being there at low tide. The herons were wading and fishing through the mangrove trees and the light coming through the trees and with the clear water was just fantastic for some photos. We couldn’t linger too long as we had to meet our friends but will definitely go back there around the same time in the next few days. We just love this beautiful picturesque part of Australia and are looking forward to exploring more tomorrow.

Cheers for now, Steph & Ant

 

View South from Nambucca Heads
Nambucca coastline and Estuaries

 

 

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Artwork at the ‘V Wall’ Breakwater – Nambucca Heads

 

White-faced Heron - Up close
White-faced Heron – Up close and personal

 

 

Some Coastal Birds


 

 

An update on our Chloe

 

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Chloe settling in well

 

Just a quick update on our rescued cat Chloe. She is doing well now,  we were getting very stressed as she wouldn’t eat the food we were given when we picked her up and she was in a lot of discomfort, we thought it was maybe kidney problems. We found some broths that she did nibble at and I started adding dissolved spirulina with more water and after a few days she has really improved, even started playing and has so much more energy and is eating really well now and filling out again. She hasn’t taken much interest in the cat enclosure yet but then we have taken her outside for some sun everyday which she really likes. I made a little video of her if your interested, we can’t believe she is the same cat we picked up a week ago. She is a beautiful cat with heaps of personality and a joy to have.

Cheers Steph.

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