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,
Well we found a nice spot to stay in Grafton. It’s called The Gateway Lifestyle Grafton, fancy name and not that many caravan sites as it’s mostly taken up by the lifestyle village. But the sites are nice and roomy and very manicured and not expensive. Today we drove out towards a place called Lawrence around 20 kms away, getting quite close to The Clarence River along the way which is just a massive river system. Just before you get to Lawrence you turn off and follow another smaller river called Sportsman’s creek which then goes into another smaller creek called Woody creek and really there is quite a lot of birdlife all along this river system.
Apparently when it floods they get around 70 Brolgas come to visit and numerous Jabirus but there hasn’t been a lot of rain so we weren’t expecting to see those sort of birds. But we did see a Wedge Tailed Eagle and quite a few Whistling Kites. It’s very open farmland around there but lots of big dead trees and trees along the creek. Pretty much all the hollows in the dead trees were taken up by the Lorikeets, they certainly know prime real estate when they see it. We spotted the Restless Flycatchers a few times, their chattering call is fantastic, eventually we spotted the pair building a nest hanging over the creek which we would never have seen if they weren’t there together.There were kingfishers and lots of Superb fairy wrens and numerous other birds, we had a fantastic morning exploring these swamps. We probably could have walked further but it was pretty hot by lunch time around 28 degrees and guess which Wally didn’t take a hat 😳😳 We wouldn’t mind visiting again but will have to see how the weather goes as parts of the track going in would turn to mud with a bit of rain…..which has arrived by the way.
Press or click NPWS logo for detailed information about this area
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Everlasting Swamp NP
We will probably check out Grafton town tomorrow if it’s still raining.
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.
Flooded Gum upshot – Yarriabini NP
Yarriabini National Park
Yarriabini National Park
Picturesque Crescent Head
White-bellied Sea-eagle Soaring – Grassy Head
A few other Flyby’s
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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Seabirds and waders
Other small birds
Coffs Harbour Botanical Gardens
Coffs Harbour Botanical Gardens
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.
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.
Well we managed to get quite a lot done over the last week. We had to cut and polish the truck and also the van. Everything’s gleaming now which is how we like it. We had some pretty chilly mornings around 2 degrees, thank god we have 2 heaters, one in the bedroom and one in the lounge which get the van nice and cozy quite quickly in the mornings. The days have been fantastic though, big blue sky everyday. We’ve been down the range to our little bird hotspot at Redwood Park 4 times, we were so worried the first time as it’s so dry everywhere but soon as we walked down to the little creek we could hear lots of bird chatter. There’s a very small amount of water trickling down but it’s isolated to just a couple of small pools now. It must be spring fed, coming up through the rocks so we are so happy that these beautiful birds have this water source here. As you can see by the video and photos, there is a huge number of birds that visit this spot everyday and some of them like the silvereye’s and honeyeater’s are just constantly there, they seem to love bathing.
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A couple of Flyby’s
We do hear other birds coming quite close but they obviously aren’t that fussed on water, like the whip birds, they were so close today, we were sitting so quietly and could hear them making their calls so loud but they didn’t come down. Also some calls we can’t identify but every day we did see a new bird or two. Wow what a place. We have been so spoilt here I wonder how we will cope when we leave. Which is tomorrow by the way.
More birds of Redwood Park
And a few more birds of Redwood
We will be passing through Stanthorpe to visit some friends and then we will drive a bit further south and overnight at the Tenterfield Showgrounds. We have seen platypus in the little creek on the grounds before so hope they are still there. That was quite a few years ago and things always change. We have had a great stay here in Toowoomba, it’s always a great place to catch up on things.
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.
Well Hello Everyone……we have been in isolation for the last 4 days. Mulu is a beautiful spot, not really even a village, only 1 little mini mart type shop with nothing in it. We did buy some chocolates there but couldn’t eat them, I think they had been melted over and over in the tropical heat and were pretty disgusting. Thank god the resort had a little very expensive shop that at least had some picnic and crunchie bars.
The Marriott Resort there is absolutely beautiful, the rooms are really nicely set out and furnished, very upper market fittings and the bed was like falling into some soft white fluffy clouds. We loved how it is all built off the ground with so many timber walkways. The pool wasn’t that nice though, just a rectangle with decking and umbrellas etc but it was always full of kiddies, I wish these big resorts could splash out and have a pool for kids and one for adults. We didn’t go in it but felt sorry for some of the adults trying to relax there. Of course everything there is expensive, drinks food even bottled water, which we were sneaky and bought it at the National Park for half price.
slim pickings for Bird pics at Mulu
Every morning we would jump on the shuttle bus and go to the park, only about 10 minutes drive, and when you finish at the park the security there rings the Marriott and they send the bus to pick you up again.
The park is beautiful too and really well set out with quite some kms of timber walkways, very easy to walk around. They had a huge bird tower where you had to get the key to open it which we did everyday. But if you wanted to go to the caves it was all tours, and expensive tours, and very regimented, we really didn’t care for that side of things. We could walk to one cave, the deer cave where more than 3 million bats fly out every evening, just beautiful watching them spiralling into the sky. We even saw an eagle take one out.
Dragon & Damselflies galore at Mulu
We were a bit disappointed though as we really didn’t see a lot of birdlife, the jungle here is full of Tarzan vines we call them so it’s really hard to see through them, but we didn’t hear too many birds either and sat up in the bird tower for quite sometime looking too. We did see heaps of different dragonflies butterflies and some really amazing bugs and gorgeous squirrels so it really wasn’t too bad. The heat got to us though and we had to go back to the resort and sit out the hottest part of the day and then head back in to the park around 3 pm but then it was very quiet.
There were a few Butterflies
We didn’t think the people here were very friendly, we did meet some nice barmaids but generally most of them are very sullen and it seems they really can’t be bothered with us. Apparently the resort is only allowed to hire local people and if one gets upset over something they all do, and it seems they have no competition for their jobs so they don’t try to hard.
Always nice to come across the odd Reptile or two
Squirrels are always fun to watch
No shortage of odd looking bugs
4 days there was well and truly enough and today we flew to Kuching. It seems very clean and a good road system getting out to our new digs, a big step down from the Marriott I’m afraid,no luxuries here but it’s clean and very close to the parks here. It was great to pick up a hire car again as we didn’t have one in Mulu. So now we are super busy as we have so many photos, a video and emails etc to catch up on. We didn’t have phone or wifi at the Marriott for 4 days, they say they have wifi but it doesn’t work. It looks quite scenic around here so hope to get into at least one of the parks tomorrow and also get some scenery photos.