Birding on the Daintree

Little Kingfisher
The Jewel of the Daintree : Little Kingfisher

Wow wow wow, what an amazing time we have been having😃😃 Our short road trip to Mount Carbine went well. The Mount Carbine caravan park is nice, we really feel like we are outback now. The terrain is very dry and crispy, we are hooked up to bore water here ( not so good ). There is a lot of birdlife around the park but we will do a separate blog just for here when we have finished our stay because I really need to tell you about the awesome day we had today.

 

The Rarely seen Great-billed Heron
We got up extra early…4 am to quickly have our cappochinos and head off to the Daintree River.
Quite a drive from here, just over an hour, but off course still being dark we had to drive slower and also there’s a very windy steep range road with B double sugar cane trucks using it at the moment. We didn’t want to miss the river tour we had booked, and arrived with time to spare.
We also picked a beautiful day…..blue sky, no wind and also a low tide so things were looking really good.
Luckily there were only 5 passengers today…..all keen to get photos of the little Kingfisher. Murray from the  Daintree Boatman Nature Tours happens to know where all the birds are hiding out or having their favourite roosting spots so we were certainly in for a treat.
The Majestic White-bellied Sea-eagle

 

Male Saltwater Crocodile

 

He took us straight up a little inlet off the Daintree river and being low tide with all the mangrove roots exposed, the little Kingfisher seemed like he was waiting for us. Boy was he hard to spot, such a tiny hyperactive gorgeous little bird….. we almost had to lay on the gunnels of the boat to get a clear view, he was so hidden under the mangroves. Murray kept barking positions at us which helped a lot as he was so quick……we spent half an hour just here getting some great photos and video.

 

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Press Play to view Stephanie’s ‘Best Yet’ Video

 

 

Green Tree Snake soaking up the morning Sun
Green Tree Snake soaking up the morning Sun

 

 

The whole trip was pretty action packed.
Murray has an electric motor which is so very quiet when getting close to the birds, then he switches over to the standard noisy outboard when we had to hightail it down another part of the river to where he knew another bird, crocodile or snake was visible.
The Sea Eagle at the end of the 2 hour tour put on a show for us though we felt really sorry for him as he missed out on a fish. Anthony got some spectacular photos today and
I must say…. I have put together my best video to date, I had to add music as the endless clicking of the cameras, engine noise, and our very excited squeals was detracting from the amazing wildlife.
We normally stay away from tours but thought this was our best option for seeing different birds and boy, we are so glad we did this.
Spectacular Day. Please enjoy the pics and video.
Bye for now, Steph and Anthony.
Peacock Jewel aka 4 O’clock Moth

Out and About – Nth Queensland Tablelands

Portrait of a Bush Stone-Curlew
Curly’s (Bush Stone-curlew) can always be seen and heard in Yungaburra

Hello again from Yungaburra, things have been going well despite the weather not being the best. It’s been really really windy and showery but when the sun pops out occasionally it’s just fantastic, especially when Anthony’s camera is focused on a dragonfly or Butterfly.

We did have one clear morning where Anthony raced down to the waterfront of Lake Tinaroo ( almost on our doorstep ) to get some beautiful photos of the lake, nice and calm and some morning mist. This really is a beautiful place to hang out as you can see.

 

Lake Tinaroo

Misty morning on the lake
Misty morning on the lake

We have had a few outings too, yesterday we drove past Mareeba to the Wetlands which to our dismay are now permanently closed.

We then backtracked to Granite Gorge Nature Park which is always nice rock hopping and looking for dragonflies. We saw an echidna here too but couldn’t get a good photo as he saw us too and tried to squish himself under a rock, so we gave him some space and let him be.

Granite Gorge

A colony of Mareeba Rock Wallabies can be seen and even be hand fed at Granite Gorge
The Mareeba Rock Wallaby is a favorite at Granite Gorge, a new species discovered in 1996

 

These Squatter Pigeon’s are almost tame at Granite Gorge

Yes we have Dragonflies

Tropical Rockmaster Dragonfly
Tropical Rockmaster Dragonfly

I’ve been deprived of seeing my favorite Insects for some time now.

These critters put a huge grin on my face 🙂

 

and  Butterflies

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Orchard Swallowtail Butterfly
Clearwing Swallowtail Butterfly

 

Crater Lakes Barrine and Eacham

Lake Barinne Tea House
Lake Barrine and Teahouse

We also visited the two amazing volcanic lakes just up the road from Yungaburra, You can walk around both but we had Devonshire teas ( award winning) at Lake Barrine. Then onto Lake Eacham, which we did walk around.

These are great places to see the Victoria’s rifle bird, we heard them a few times but no luck for photos. Another elusive bird we are chasing is the Pied Monarch, such a gorgeous little bird that we have spotted a few times but never get a photo. We passed another photographer at Lake Eacham who proudly showed us a great photo he just got of the Monarch…..just around the next bend……🤨🤨 but no such luck for us.

 

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Giant Kauri Pines at Lake Barrine

 

Rainforest circuit around Lake Eacham

 

and of course Birds

Cute overload with this Young Spectacled Monarch

 

 

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Press play to veiw a selection of video snippets 

 

 

Today the weather is really awful so we will have a inside maintenance day, enjoy the pics and Video snippets.

Bye for now Steph and Anthony.

 

Odds and ends

Nostalgic Moment

A barefooter up early to take advantage of the calm water

I have fond and sometimes painful memories of doing just that up here

 

 

Yungaburra and Mount Hypipamee NP

This young Cassowary Greeted us at Mt Hypipamee
Well we had no problems fitting into the Lakeside Caravan Park in Tinaburra, on the Southern Atherton Tablelands.
It’s very busy, however the managers kept a nice big site for us so we are happy campers for the next few weeks.
We have been out and about catching up with family and friends as well as checking out some great places for wildlife.

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Here are a few images of this gorgous Macleay’s Honeyeater with a face full of pollen from the Metrosideros Flower

 

Peterson Creek is a Hotspot for Platypus

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Press Play to check out this Platypus

 


 

Just up the road here in Yungaburra is Peterson Creek. With a great walking track and a variety of habitats there’s always something to see. We have spotted quite a few platypus even around 2 pm which I think is unusual. They must be quite used to humans being around as you can get quite close to them on the banks.

I got a nice little video. Apparently Tree Kangaroos are seen here too but we haven’t spotted one there yet.

Here is a long range shot of one we spotted at Mt Hypipamee (Thanks Nissi)

 

Black-shouldered Kite
We did take a drive out to Mount Hypipamee National Park where we spotted one a long way away, also a young Cassowary close to the picnic area but pretty quiet on the bird front.
The weather has been a bit iffy, very overcast and rainy yesterday. Today we woke to blue skies and within a couple of hours it was very dark and overcast again and even a couple of showers. It may be like this for the next week so we will just have to get out when we can and hope for nice weather.

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A welcome Flyby of Sarus Cranes

 

The entrance to Peterson Creek at Yungaburra

At the suspension bridge across Peterson Creek we were treated by 2 Scarlet Honeyeaters (an adult and Immature) feasting on the fresh Bottlebrush Pollen.

 

 

Purple Swamphen

 

The Sarus cranes are around the area at the moment too and they are great to see flying over honking to each other, fantastic to see.
Anthony has already got a great collection of photos since we have been here so please enjoy them.
Bye for now, Steph and Anthony.
The Odds and Ends
Common Jezabel Butterfly
A large Freshwater Turtle on the Banks of Peterson Creek

Jourama Falls and Birding at Tyto

Top of the Falls

We have had another couple of great days in Ingham.

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


 

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

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

 

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Press play to view a short clip of Jourama Falls

 

Today….

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

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

There is always something to see here.


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

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

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

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Press Play to view Tyto Birds Video

 

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

Beautiful Lily Flowers

 

Lucinda, Taylors Beach and more Birding at Tyto

This Jetty in Lucinda is the longest in the Southern Hemisphere Supported by a staggering 660 Pylons. Sugar takes 22 minutes to travel the length of the conveyor.

 

Hello again from Ingham.
We did manage to get some maintenance done to the pod over the weekend which was great. Although we do tend to put birdwatching, hiking, sightseeing etc before keeping up with things here unless it’s a major issue of course.
Today we woke to rain which dampened our spirits a little but by the time we had our morning cappuccinos the skies were clearing so we decided to take a trip to the coast.
We drove to Taylor’s Beach first, only about 20 minutes, A very nice peaceful spot along the estuary.
As always, hoping to see ospreys and lots of shore birds but didn’t really see much birdlife.
We walked up the beach at one point where there was a little alcove but the mozzies chased us away.
A Little Kingfisher was spotted here and a Night Heron hiding in the amazing mangroves. (Sorry, no pics)
I’ve seen lots of mangroves in my life but these looked quite amazing, I had to take a photo.
We could hear quite a few birds among the trees so hung around patiently and then a gorgeous male sunbird popped out, shorty after a sacred Kingfisher appeared.

A male Olive-backed Sunbird sits proudly in the tree tops
Sacred Kingfisher

Anthony got some great photos of the little egrets squabbling and a pied oystercatcher flyby so things went really well.

 

Little (Dancing) Egrets at Taylors Beach inlet
Pied Oystercatcher Flyby

 

We drove on further to Lucinda, the gateway to Hinchinbrook Island which looked great with the low clouds hanging over the mountains. A very picturesque spot but not much of a town. It’s all about sugar here. The 5.76 km long jetty from the bulk sugar terminal is amazing to see.

So we had a great morning exploring our surrounds and even had time to pop back to the Tyto wetlands for a few hours this afternoon. Anthony has changed some settings on his camera and is getting even more amazing flyby photos now. We never get sick of walking around here as you never know what you will see, it’s fantastic.


 

Morning Flyby : Pacific Black Duck
The light shows this Forrest Kingfishers amazing colours
finally captured a Crimson Finch that I’m happy with
Intermediate Egret flyby at Tyto

 

Please enjoy the pics, there’s plenty of them, tomorrow we will head down to Jourama Falls, another beautiful spot in nature.

Bye for now, Steph and Anthony.