Canungra – Warwick (featuring Queen Mary Falls)

Queen Mary Falls, Main Range NP. Queensland
Azure Kingfisher captured over Canungra Creek, Canungra Queensland

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.

 

Noisy Friarbird
Noisy Friarbird, Durikai State Forest, Warwick Region

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.

 

This was a tough selfie. Had to tie the camera to a tree branch and scramble back down in the allotted 10 second timer 😳

Queen Mary Falls, Killarney Queensland 


 

 

Satin Bowerbird
The stunning Female Satin Bowerbird

Click or press on bird for larger view 


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Leslie Dam, The Billabong & Queen Mary Falls 


Eastern Water Dragon
‘A Dragon in the mist’ A young Eastern Water Dragon at the base of the 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,
Cheers Steph and Anthony.

 


A curious Swamp Wallaby wonders what we’re up too

Everlasting Swamp National Park

 

Everlasting Swamp National Park
Everlasting Swamp National Park

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Click or press image for larger view 

 

 

 


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.

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Press or click NPWS logo for detailed information about this area


 

Restless Flycatcher 


Eastern Water Dragon
Eastern Water Dragon Basking
Rainbow Lorikeet
Rainbow Lorikeet

 

Click or press image for larger view 


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Everlasting Swamp NP


We will probably check out Grafton town tomorrow if it’s still raining.

Cheers Steph and Anthony.

 

The end of a once beautiful Tree
This tree may not be living but is still giving life.

Mid North Coast- Last days

We will miss our daily dose of Brahminy Kites
And White-bellied Sea-eagle’s
And of course… Ospreys

Click or press image for larger view


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


 

Beautiful colours of the Wompoo Fruitdove

Other birds captured over the last couple of days


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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,
Bye for now, Steph and Anthony.

Bongil Bongil National Park – Top Spot

 

Whale Watching at Smoky Cape

Breaching Humpback Whale

Click or or press on Image for larger view 

Lighthouse, Smoky Cape
Smoky Cape Lighthouse
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.
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Whale Watching – Smoky Cape

Smoky Cape and lighthouse
Beaches of Smoky Cape

Click or Press on Image for larger view 

 

More images of Smoky Cape

 

Ok we love Brahminy Kites


Immature Crested Tern
A young Crested Tern fishing

 

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.

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Snippets from Boyter’s Lane and Grassy Head

 

 

And some other birds

 


 

Late afternoon at Middle Head

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.
Enjoy the pics and videos,
Cheers Steph and Anthony.
Exploring Smoky Cape

 

Grassy Head & Surrounds

👍 Grassy Head 👍

Click or press on image for larger view 


 

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

Click or press image for larger view 

 

 

Sawtell and Bongil Bongil 


 

Pelican pair glideby

 

 

 

Some coastal birds

 

Pelican Glideby

 


 

Hello everyone, I just realised it’s been 5 days since our last blog…… how time flies here. We have been out and about every day though the cold mornings make it hard to leave the pod too early. Really, it’s still around 10 degrees in the mornings and we have also had some very windy days which has made visiting the headlands still enjoyable but not very comfortable.

 

Osprey soaring
Osprey soaring

 

 

 

Bird of Prey in flight captures

We have also been catching up with friends and did take another drive up to Dorrigo, by the way it was 12 degrees up there so we had jackets on the whole time. The Dangar falls up there are very picturesque and we did another 8 km walk around the rainforest at the Dorrigo NP. We didn’t see many birds though, I think the cold weather is scaring them off. We have been to the Bongil Bongil NP again a few times which is always nice. We were there yesterday and saw the Osprey had caught a fish and while we were standing on the beach this RAAF plane came and did a very low flyby, I was so excited, I was waving like crazy….the noise was deafening and the pilot dipped his wings a couple of times as he blitzed past, how cool is that??? Even more amazing that Anthony got a great photo as well. You just never know what you will see when out and about.
RAAF Hawk Flyby
Today we finally put our canoe in the water at Sawtell, there’s a great spot to launch it at the Bonville creek boat ramp. Wow what a beautiful morning, couldn’t have asked for better, we saw plenty of birds of prey but nothing close enough for a photo. Not many other birds either but we did have a close encounter with this huge Stingray, almost slid under the canoe but veered off at the last minute. Great to see. Of course the wind really picked up on the way back and luckily we could walk and pull the canoe along the sandbars most of the way back. It was really good to have the boat back in the water, we used it a lot early on when we first started travelling but seem to forget we have it most of the time. It gives you a great aspect when photographing the wading birds though so we are hoping to use it a bit more.

 

 

Canoeing at Bonville Creek 

White-cheeked Honeyeater at Sawtell

 

 

Perching birds at Bongil Bongil National Park 

Tomorrow we have a huge trip…..we are towing our pod to Grassy Head, it’s maybe 1 hours drive away, we just really fell in love with the place so had a look the other day to see if we could fit in there and have booked for 10 days. There’s also a lot to see further south from there too so we are really looking forward to that. It will be Chloe’s (our cat) second trip and it’s not long so hope she doesn’t stress too much. She has been using the cat enclosure at last but doesn’t stay out for long. She moves around from spot to spot chasing the sun coming through the windows and is very relaxed in our pod.
Chloe catching some sun
Chloe catching some Sun

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Dangar Falls & Sawtell birding
Please enjoy the pics and video….I have finally managed to edit music on to my snippets. I have been struggling to get much footage with the wind always howling. Now I can just put nice music over the top.🤩🤩. I randomly picked the music in this video, it’s called “Among the clouds” and it’s just beautiful so hope you like it.
Bye for now, Steph and Anthony.

Birding – Muttonbird Is. Coffs Harbour & Surrounds

Coffs Harbour Marina
View from Muttonbird Island

 

 

Well we’ve had a fantastic few days, visited Muttonbird island which you can walk to from the marina at Coffs Harbour, it’s quite hilly and great views back to  the harbour and out to Little muttonbird island. It’s very interesting too with lots of informative signs with what the Parks and Wildlife are trying to do to save the Wedge-tailed Shearwater that nests on the island. As you can imagine these birds have everything against them, mainly of course our human activity but you can read more about it at the link below.

It was very windy though so I couldn’t take any videos and we didn’t see many birds either though the Pipit was very friendly and came so close Anthony had to back away with his big lens to even get a photo. These little birds are normally so elusive, we were very happy so get so close.

 

Click or Press on above NPWS Logo to learn more about Muttonbird Is.


We also had to pay Grassy Head another visit, this is where we had the Whistling Kites soaring over our heads. They weren’t there this time but we saw the Brahminy Kite and also a beautiful Immature Sea Eagle soared very close over our heads. It’s a great spot right at the tip, if you have some patience, a bird of prey usually comes scouting along the cliffs here. We were hoping to get a downward photo of one as they sometimes fly below the cliffs but we just missed out. Better luck next time. The walk to the tip is through lots of native grasses and bushes, there is a track but a bit overgrown. We are a bit worried as with the warmer weather I guess snakes will start getting active so we will have to be very careful. It’s one of our favourite places now though so will have to go back.
Immature White-bellied Sea-eagle Flyby
Immature White-bellied Sea-eagle Flyby

 

Click or press on images for larger view 

Seabirds and waders
Beautiful Coastlines
Australasian Pipit
Australasian Pipit photographed at Muttonbird Island
Other small birds
Coffs Harbour Botanical Gardens 

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Coffs and surrounds 

We also visited the Botanical Gardens in Coffs Harbour which are just beautiful right next to the river and some amazing big trees there and always the chance of seeing birds.
Every morning we have a big decision to make as to where to go for the day. We are so spoilt for choice here, it will be hard to leave this stretch of coast.. There’s still so many places we haven’t been to yet, and also put our canoe in somewhere but conditions have to be perfect for that but hopefully in the next few days. So enjoy the pics and video.
Bye for now, Steph and Anthony.

Another nice flower for Stephanie

Birding at Sawtell

Bonville Creek, Spot the Little Egret
Bonville Creek, Spot the Little Egret
Greater Crested Tern
Greater Crested Tern Flyby

 

Click or press image for larger view 

Other Flybys today


 

 

We had another fantastic day today. We drove to Sawtell again, you can just walk your socks off here, so many spots to check out for birds. We were lucky to see the Osprey and the Sooty Oystercatcher having baths, fantastic to see. We realised that low tide is the best time to view these estuaries as there must be so much fresh water coming out and that is when the birds seem to be having baths. Pretty clever hey?? Why have a bath in salt water when you can have fresh. Anthony had a taste to confirm this and it was only a tiny bit salty.

 

Sooty Oystercatcher
Sooty Oystercatcher

 

Today’s birds from Sawtell

 

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Our day at Sawtell


We had a few fly overs again with some Whistling Kites and amazed to see the Square tailed Kite again. Maybe he was the same one from Bongil Bongil NP which is only just down the road.
Check out the dancing seagulls on my video, so funny, we have never seen this before but very impressive tap dancing by the male. I never knew seagulls were so entertaining. Please enjoy the pics and video.
Bye for now, Steph and Anthony.

 

 

And a couple of Butterflies 

Scott’s Head, Stuart’s Point & Grassy Head

Grassy Head
Grassy Head

 

Click or press image for larger view 

 

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

Click or press image for larger view 

 

 

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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

Click or press image for larger view

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.
Click or press image for larger view 
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

Click or press image for larger view 
 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