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
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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,
Hello everyone, we moved our van from Grassy Head to Bellingen Showgrounds on Saturday. The school holidays were starting for NSW which means all the coastal caravan parks pretty much double their prices, so time for us to bail out. We have to slowly make our way back to Stanthorpe now, our Apple thinning job starts around the start of November and there’s still plenty of nature hot spots we want to check out on the way. The last few days we have been revisiting our favourite spots, like Urunga Boardwalk and Bongil Bongil NP and Nambucca. We could easily spend a lot more time down here, still many places we never got to see so we will definetly have to come back and explore some more.
The Showgrounds here in Bellingen are a cheaper option to camp and nice too, you can walk into the town easily and also straight over the road to the Bat Island. Most people would cringe at walking through a patch of forest so full of thousands of fruit bats but we thought it was pretty awesome. It’s great that they are tolerated here and have a nice place to roost during the day. Most councils are always under pressure from the public to move them on……God only know where too, well maybe we are just kooky and spooky but we love seeing happy bats of all sizes.
Grey-headed Flying foxes on Bellingen Island
Other birds captured over the last couple of days
Last critter snippets from the Mid North Coast
It was great to finally see Dragonflies emerge
There is some rainy weather coming so we hope we can dodge around it somehow. We really love the blue sky for our photos. Tomorrow we will head up to Grafton only a couple of hours drive but Chloe our cat is still getting used to the travelling side of things so don’t want to do too big a trip. Enjoy the pics and video,
Hello again, today we took a drive to Smoky Cape which is just south of South West Rocks. Well we found another Wow place, honestly if you have never been to this part of Australia, you have to visit.
This time of year all the Whales have just been migrating North and over the last few days it seems they are heading South already. Every time we look, we always see them, usually quite a distance away but today we were walking along the track and one was breaching just off the cliffs. I couldn’t get my video going quick enough but Anthony got some great photos. What an experience. We saw them on the way back from our walk too, they are doing all sorts of displays, with their fins sticking out and when they breach like that is just fantastic.
We walked our socks off today, there’s a very picturesque lighthouse and a few tracks here, we walked the coastal one, also saw a few birds of prey and the scenery is stunning. As you can see the weather today was just perfect, and we only saw a few people on those perfect beaches.
Whale Watching – Smoky Cape
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Smoky Cape Lighthouse
More images of Smoky Cape
We just love Brahminy Kites
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Ok we love Brahminy Kites
A few more birds in flight
We also visited Boyters Lane again, there’s always something to see along this dirt road. Luckily we had some rain last night so it wasn’t too dusty walking along with cars passing, although they do all slow down when they see us avid birdwatchers. Both sides of the Lane are really just cow paddocks but very swampy along the roadside fence and there’s quite an aroma of cow dung in the air and the swampy water, doesn’t look very clean but I guess the birds must like it because there’s plenty here. Especially Ducks, Stilts and the gorgeous little Dotterels. We did see two Jabirus (Black-necked Storks) but they were just flying off. Better luck next time.
There’s a small wetland at the start of the Lane which is where we saw the huge Kangaroo, wow he came bouncing along the track and stood over 6 feet tall when he almost bumped into us. Yikes…. I was already trying to find a tree to hide behind. He realised we were good humans and just bounded past us, what a beautiful animal, we just love encounters like that.
Snippets from Boyter’s Lane and Grassy Head
And some other birds
Well how time flies yet again, it’s hard to believe nearly another week has flown past. We are still at Grassy Head and have been busy most days getting out and about but not too far from here. We had a few iffy days with the rain and lots of wind etc so not really the best conditions for videos and photography.
The forest alongside the beach here is very similar to the Bongil Bongil walk which we had recently done, as you can also hear the surf while walking through and we have seen the same birds here, we are hoping to go a bit earlier in the morning and try for better photos.
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.
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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
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.
Hello everyone, we have been having a great time just hanging out along this fantastic part of the coast. Within an hours drive is just so much to see. The Bundageree Walk , a coastal section of the Bongil Bongil National Park is fantastic, there is quite a few trails there but we only walked along the track just in from the beach, which began at the end of Tucker’s Rocks road. it was a very windy day and we could hear the wind whipping through the tops of the trees but we were very well protected in there. It’s a 3 km walk one way and about half way along the forest has a definite change, almost like a line drawn there. Fantastic as it gives you a variety of birds. It ends at the mouth of the Bundagaree creek at Bundagen Headland. We started to walk along the beach but quickly got sandblasted so turned back. You can walk all the way back to the car park along the beach making it a loop. We saw lots of birds here, of course always very hard to get photos of birds in rainforest as they don’t pop out into the open very often and there were lots of those messy vines everywhere so hard to even spot the birds in the first place. We will definitely go back and do some other walks there. September is when all the migrant birds start to come back so hopefully we will see more and more different birds as we get out and about.
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Birds spotted on the Bundageree Walk
Urunga Wetlands Boardwalk
We also found this amazing Wetlands in Urunga itself, you can read more about it HERE. I don’t think we would have known about it if we hadn’t been told by a friend. But it is fantastic, not very big but the council here has done an amazing job of revamping this once derelict site. We saw 3 different birds of prey there, spoonbills, swans, ducks, grebes etc and they do get jabiru there too sometimes so we will always have to go and have a look. In the mornings the reflection is amazing if there is no wind. We have some horrible rainy windy days upon us now so will catchup with friends, drink lots of cuppachino’s and play with our cat Chloe……she has turned into a kitten again and meeows at us constantly to pick up the piece of string so she can chase it round and round the coffee table. Cats are so easy to please.
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.
Dorrigo National Park
We feel very relaxed here and have many day trips planned so stay tuned.
Well the weather did fine up for us but we have been struggling to find any birds. On the second day we drove about 45 minutes to Kubah National Park first which has actually been extensively logged so no really big trees and hardly a peep to be heard. Because it had been raining we stayed on the road going up to the summit but it still was very green with moss but it gave us a really good view of the forest as we walked up and we did hear a few birds and saw a couple of drongos . On the way back down we walked on one of the tracks instead and it was still tree roots and slippery rocks, it seems to be the same terrain wherever we go. There was no cafe here but we had seen a couple on the way in, one was on top of a rubbish tip…..yes really and the other one didn’t look to bad. We had to share an iced lemon tea as there was nothing else except for Pepsi and we had a choice of 4 meals so we picked some noodle dish with some type of crumbled meat in it but couldn’t actually tell you what it was. But the flies there were just crazy, I don’t know why, maybe from all the rubbish but we just gobbled our noodles and high tailed it out of there.
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Yesterday we went to Bako National Park which involved another 45 minute drive in the opposite direction. We were lucky to get one of the last car parks at the jetty area, very busy place and we had to get a boat from there up the river to the NP. We were expecting it to be busy as it sounds amazing and there is the best chance to see proboscis monkeys there. Well you could hardly move at ticket box, people just en masse. I had to go to the loo and sadly had to leave Anthony to organise boat tickets in that mayhem…..actually he normally turns to jelly in big crowds so I was expecting to come back and he maybe wanted to bail out, but he thought it’s either deal with this or we are back on the highway. I couldn’t believe it but he had it all organised……(typical Borneo) he had to register us at one booth, get tickets at another then go back to the original booth to organise a driver for the boat, I kid you not there were around 20 boats waiting for all the tourists to get their paper work in order. We were suppose to stand in one spot and wait till they matched us up with other people as they wanted full boatloads. But after 2 minutes Anthony went and harassed them a little and we were off, straight down the jetty with some others that they had quickly scrambled together. You can only imagine the chaos there, people were so confused and most had that stunned mullet look on their faces so it was great to get out.
Bako National Park
The trip there was good, very fast little boats with twin 40 hsp outboards on the back . Too bumpy for videos though. When we arrived at the park we had to take our paper work to their office and then we were free.
We saw some silver leaf monkeys straight away and then the Bornean bearded pig so we got quite excited thinking we had finally found a National Park with wildlife, yahoo. So off we went on one of the trails picked for the birdlife…….we walked and walked , heard nothing, in fact it was deathly quiet. Next thing we are climbing up the side of a mountain back on those dreaded slippery tree roots and rocks again. After about 20 minutes of climbing, we were both drenched with sweat and still no sounds from the jungle and still a long way up that bloody mountain, so we bailed out to find an easier trail. There was only one cafe there so we had lunch early before the masses and chilled out a bit. This heat is really getting to us. We walked up another path and some people had seen a proboscis monkey on it high up in the trees. This path followed the cliffs along the beach. It was also climbing but we had something to look for now so we were very keen. It took a while but we heard them first, crashing around in the trees but couldn’t get a look because of the foliage in front and then after manoeuvring off the path and into the jungle a bit we could see the male and then after a while we spotted the female. They are quite a large primate and they are very hard to spot in the trees, it’s only because we heard them that we knew where to look. It’s hard to believe they’ve been squashed into this last place on the coast. They only live near the mangroves so they won’t be able to survive, they are critically endangered already and were still hunted for their meat not so long ago, very very sad.
It was fantastic to see them so it really made our day. The trip back was good too, the boats all pick you up from the beach at 3 pm, it was a tiring day.
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Today we went for a quick walk in the forest here, we did see some silver leaf monkeys but still no birds, had lunch instead at the Damai Resort on the beach, a very nice spot and a nice lunch. We relaxed around the pool till it cooled off enough to go for a quick drive to Buntal beach about 15 minutes drive as we heard they had a big walkway along the mangroves there. It was really nice and picturesque, the sun was setting, there were kingfishers and other birds around, a really nice spot. But best not to look around too much and see all the rubbish scattered among the mangroves, it’s just everywhere here. I don’t think they know what a beautiful country they have, it’s been hard to get away from the rubbish.
I did a little research because I was concerned about the lack of wildlife in the parks, I mean we are in the Bornean jungles, we were expecting a lot more mammals and birds, but it’s so quiet. They also have a cat problem, starving cats in the parks, you can only imagine what they are eating. I am convinced most of the prize animals are gone, there are still traditional hunters in the parks, and don’t forget most of the forests are wiped out by palm oil or heavily logged so the only place for wildlife is in the parks but they are not protected there. They also have a huge poaching problem, I won’t gabble on about it because I know the world is pretty much stuffed as far as nature is concerned but will include an interesting article I read from an Australian professor of ecology.
Hello everyone,.We woke up this morning to thunder and lightning , then of course some heavy rain followed, I checked the weather and it didn’t look real good for the next couple of days which is a real bugger as rain and trekking through jungles doesn’t really go together. We are in our little home stay, it’s really nice what the owners have done here as you can see by the photos. There’s a nice view from our room which you can’t even see on the photos, it’s the only room with a landing area with a couple of banana lounges and some pot plants, also there’s a big overhang so we could sit there on our lounges this morning and watch the rain……riveting stuff. There’s also a little waterfall next to the house and really beautiful gardens and a fish pond. Our room is ok but very tired, when you look at photos on bookings.com I guess they do use their best photos when everything was new many moons ago and we were a little disappointed when we first arrived but have settled in very nicely now.
Damai Nanga Homestay, Damai, Sarawak
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Also the breakfast here was raved about on the reviews as Anthony kept telling me, so I was really looking forward to this amazing breakfast this morning and had images of all types of tropical fruits, muesli, yogurt and maybe omelettes in my head. Well there was cornflakes, uht milk, diced watermelon and pineapple, toast and jam, marmalade and wait for it………1 hard boiled egg..cold of course 😢 Really not what we expected but maybe we are just really fussy or maybe our expectations in Borneo are just way too high.
Well we were getting settled on our double bed for the day as it was still raining and around lunch time the sun actually peeked out, we couldn’t believe it, so we quickly got ready and drove just up the road a few minutes to the Santubong National Park. There’s a huge summit hike, which we would do but not after rain so we decided to do the loop walk which to me always sounds easy and we didn’t want to push our luck with the weather. Well 2 hours later and seeing only 1 bird, we were absolutely drenched, I mean really you could have wrung out Anthony, it was so steamy in that forest, our goggles kept fogging up, and it was really slow going as the whole loop was slippery tree roots and even more slippery rocks with the green moss on them. And guess which Wally decided to wear white shorts?? It was quite picturesque there, in places, and took up some of our afternoon.
We were pretty hungry after that and found a nice beachfront bar and grill just a few minutes further up the road and we also went back there for tea tonight. The weather stayed good all afternoon but the mountain behind has very low cloud again and we just had another shower so we are really praying for a nice day tomorrow.
Oh I have to tell you when we were down by the beach there were a couple of horses tied up together, for riding, there was a sign there if you want to hire these horses and oh my god they were unbelievably skinny, one was really just skin and bones. I got Anthony to take some sneaky photos and have sent them off with an email to the local equivalent to the RSPCA in Kuching, thank god they even have one here. We are hoping they can help, we really hate seeing animals so mistreated and these horses looked so miserable and dejected I really had to do something.
This is one of our pet hates besides rubbish when travelling to different countries, is seeing so many skinny sick domestic animals.
Well we did get a few nice photos for the day so enjoy and keep your fingers crossed for us that tomorrow is a nice day.