Back up in the Southern Tablelands

Featured Image – Pied Monarch (Adult Male)

 

Male Cains Birdwing
(Male) Cairns Birdwing Butterfly
Well all is just fantastic in our little world……
We are almost healthy again. I don’t know about anyone else but I must say whenever I get even the inkling of a sore throat I think I’ve come down with some deadly virus and probably the stress of that makes me go downhill even quicker.
But whatever we both had went on it’s way pretty quickly ( thank god ) and maybe I shouldn’t read the news so much….the stuff about viruses anyway. Watching the movie “ Contagen” on the way home on the plane didn’t help either😳😳
It certainly hasn’t stopped us getting out and about. It was great coming back to Yungaburra, we are even in the same van site as last time with the same neighbours we had last time, so it really was a bit like “coming home”.

 

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Juvenile Lovely Fairywren

Lovely Fairywrens

 

 

 

Gorgeous Green Ring-tail Possum with ultra cute Bub

 

 

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Press Play to view Steph’s Video Snippets

 


 

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Here I was wishing This (Adult male) Victoria’s Riflebird would hop down lower in the tree for a better Shot

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At that moment, to our amazement he dropped the fruit and followed it to the ground.

Life in Nature is soooooo good.

 

 

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The Apprentice

This Immature Victoria’s Riflebird is certainly not yet ‘dressed to impress’ a female, However is giving it a good go.

 

We have been very lucky with our wildlife spotting as you can see by the pics and

video……absolutely amazing. Many birds on our bucket list have just been appearing

before our eyes. Of course we are putting ourselves in the best places to see these

amazing animals.

 

 

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Graphic Flutterer Dragonfly

A Medley of Flutterers

 

 

 

Pied Monarch (Bucket List Bird)

Very Excited to finally photograph this stunning Bird at Lake Eacham

 

 

 

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Echidna           Always excited to see these amazing creatures.

 

 

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Grey Headed Robin

Rainforest Birds

The Golden Bowerbird is a story in itself. (Pictured above)
It’s the same bower at Mount Hypipamee where we got chased away by a very aggressive rather large male Cassowary two years ago. Terrifying I know but that was a while ago now and I mean….what are the chances of having another run in…plus we will really keep our eyes peeled.
So we found the bower and to our delight it has been worked on…lots of nice new mossy wallpaper, we heard the male bowerbird’s very loud distinctive chatter so settled down ready with camera and video in anticipation and then out of the corner of my eye I saw a big black shadow, quickly looked through my binoculars and saw the blue head of that monster cassowary heading our way…yikes….you’ve never seen us move so quick, we were out of there in a flash.
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Fresh lichen adorns the Bower of a Golden Bowerbird
After we settled down a bit, and the monster didn’t come out and chase us down the road, we decided we could sneak back later and just keep an eye out for him, pretty brave aren’t we🙄.
Well we did just that and never saw the Cassowary again, Anthony got a photo of what at first we thought was the female but turns out it’s a immature male without his adult colours yet ( this can take up to 7 years ).
A quick snap of the said “Blue Headed Monster”
We stayed for quite some time and never saw another Bowerbird come in and also we heard a horror story from another birder, that the adult pair that were at this site had been poached last year. Also some other pairs have been taken from other well know locations so that is pretty upsetting but as with all wildlife, if it’s pretty or has a nice voice or is rare, it sadly has a price tag on its head. We feel we are very fortunate to be able to see these amazing creatures while it’s still possible.

 

 

Grassland Birds

 

 

 

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Sharp-tailed Sandpiper at Lake Tinaroo

 

Other Birds

We have another week or so in this beautiful area so will get out as much as possible, there is a lot more action out in the rainforests now that the weather has warmed up. Please enjoy the pics and video.

Cheers and bye for now, Steph and Anthony.

 

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A good day for the Green Tree Snake … But sadly not so good for the Frog

 

Cooktown NQ

Mud Frolicing

 

Hello from Cooktown.
Our road trip here was ok, though seemed rather long.
It was only about 2 and a half hours but we were hoping to stop at either the Palmer River roadhouse or at Lakeland for a cuppa break etc….
Well Palmer was on the wrong side so we decided to keep going to Lakeland and as we were approaching we thought at first the enormous rest area with loos on the left was the roadhouse, so started to pull in there with another car up our clacker which always makes us nervous when looking for somewhere to pull in.
We realised our mistake and pulled out again to realise we hadn’t even looked on the right side of the road and tucked away from the highway was the Lakeland servo……we had totally missed it.🤨🤨
We couldn’t turn around so had to keep going, I suggested we pull over at the next rest stop where I would cook us up some brunch and cappuccinos but there was no rest area big enough for us, which is unbelievable considering the big message out there. Stop Rest Revive to stay alive etc.
With no cuppa fix we were a bit frazzled when we rocked up to the Cooktown Caravan Park.
The site they had kept for us was heaps big enough but no room to manoeuvre….
With juggling other people’s vehicles and yours truly on the hand held uhf we did get in much to the dismay of a ex Truckie who said we would never get in there.🙄🙄

Part of the new Wharf Precinct
Picturesque Cooktown

 

Black Kite over Grassy Hill
Our front electric legs on our van had meanwhile just stopped. We weren’t sure if it was the motor, the switch or absolute horror… maybe the legs are bowed.
We had to manually winch the van off the truck ..not helping, our site was sloped towards the back, so we had to unwind the legs right down, which took forever.
I tried to help a bit, but started getting blisters really quickly from the handle so poor Anthony was stuck with that task. I suggested we at least have a cappuccino first but the power was out at the park……funny how there is always “icing on the cake “.
The rest of the afternoon was taken up with phone calls and we have ordered a new switch and are praying that is the problem otherwise we may be stuck here for a while….There is no way we will be able to winch 5 tonnes of van back on to the truck.
😖

The Endevour River

 

So the last few days we have been in better spirits and have been checking out our surrounds.

Well we really like it here. Cooktown is small but nicely laid out on the Endevour River. There’s lots of history here of course being James Cooks first landing etc so there is plenty to see in the way of monuments and old buildings, also a museum which will be interesting.

There’s a beautiful botanical garden with walks to a lookout and beaches.


Common Glider in flight over Keatings Lagoon

 

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Press Play to View Stephanie’s Video Snippets from 

Keatings Lagoon

 

The Lagoon
We have visited Keatings Lagoon twice, just south of Cooktown and have seen quite a few critters there.
We haven’t seen much elsewhere, but still plenty of places to check out.
The Spider (hunting) Wasp was enormous…..wow you wouldn’t want to get stung by one. I didn’t realise he was tackling a spider till I was filming for a while…..apparently they use the spider as a host to incubate their eggs how bizarre is that?.
I almost trod on the Green tree snake….he was pretending to be a blade of grass, absolutely beautiful green blue colour.
Also the goshawk was a bonus. I think we will be spending quite a bit of time at the Lagoon.
Pity about the Mozzies there, they are just bearable with plenty of spray.

Some amazing Paperbarks here
Female Brown Goshawk

 

Magpie Geese at rest after a frolic in the Mud

 

Enjoy the pics and video, I got great footage of the Spider (hunting) Wasp.

Cheers Steph and Anthony.

 

 

 

Mount Lewis to Molloy

The Picturesque Dam ending the Mount Lewis Rainforest Walk

Hello again, we had another great day.

We decided to visit Mount Lewis as we have heard so much about this place for exceptional birdlife.

Another early morning as it’s quite a drive from here( Mount Carbine) to just outside Julatten. We weren’t sure if our big f truck would fit on the steep, narrow and windy dirt road but decided to give it a go.

Well it was just fine but we were glad we didn’t have to pass anyone coming the other way…..that would have been a bit squishy🙄🙄

It’s about 10 kms to a clearing where there is a 2 km rainforest walking track to a beautiful dam. It’s around another 18 kms to the top of Mount Lewis but there is a sign that says it’s 4 WD from the clearing and we really didn’t want to push our luck plus it was a very slow trip to there.

 

At Mount Lewis
Grey-headed Robin a very common Rainforest bird
Red-bellied Black Snake
I think our expectations were a bit high for this place…… as we really didn’t see many birds. The ones we did see were very high in the canopy.
The Chowchillas were very nervous, I got some video but Anthony missed out for photos. Also the Tooth billed Bowerbird was so hard to spot even though we could hear him for ages. Another missed photo but I did manage to get the last bit of his spectacular very loud voice on video.
When we arrived at the dam, this beautiful ( enormous) Red bellied black snake was basking on the path in the sun.
We couldn’t believe our luck, what a beautiful big healthy snake, absolutely awesome to see.
We were very quiet and he wasn’t bothered by us one bit…..even slithered straight towards me when he decided to go hunting.
I had to quickly do the sideways shuffle to get out the way….wow could he move at speed.
I captured it all on video 🤩🤩  not my panicked shuffle of course but the awesome snake🙄😳
It was a great place to visit but not sure we would be racing back up there any time soon.

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Press Play to View Stephanie’s Snippets

Lemon-bellied Flycatcher

 

On the way back we stopped at a little rest area near a babbling brook that looked promising for birdlife.

And that it was….a hotspot for the spectacled Monarch. This gorgeous little bird always has Anthony so frustrated as they never seem to come out from the shadows.

Well he found a place in the brook on top of some rocks where the trees opened up a bit and all sorts of birds came out to play…..some even coming down for a little drink.

 

 

Fresh Painted Grasshawk Dragonfly

 

 

Onwards to Mount Molloy…..
What a hidden gem this place is. The Bicentennial Park with a few picturesque lagoons, is a really nice spot.
We found quite a few dragonflies and Butterflies here.
Across the road were some amazing flowering grevillea trees with plenty of honeyeaters in them. It was already getting late so we will have to visit here again with more time to spare.
In the morning we will look around the park here at Mount Carbine, we know there’s plenty of birds here too but we also have to move on to Cooktown so this is probably another place we will come back to and explore further.
Please enjoy the pics and video,
Cheers Steph and Anthony.
Spiny Orb Weaver Spider

Waterfalls and Wildlife : Atherton Tablelands

A surprise Echidna passes by at Lake Tinaroo

 

Waterfall Drive, Milla Milla – We couldn’t have asked for a better day

Waterfalls of Milla Milla

The weather did take a turn for the worse….. cold and drizzly for about 4 days. We were starting to wonder if we would ever see the sun again. The weather report kept saying the next day would be partly cloudy and when we woke up it was dark and drizzle drizzle, horrible.

We did take the opportunity though to revamp our kitchen, after 11 years of heavy duty use the laminate bench tops were very chipped and scuffed. We decided the simplest and of course cheapest option was to just cover them with marble look a like contact paper, not the cheapie paper though, this contact came from the US as we couldn’t get it here, it’s especially for benchtops. We also did some splash backs with these amazing ….. plastic ….. Tic Tac tiles. They came from England, again, not available here. Well we think it looks amazing even though it is all plastic, so have added some pics at the end of this Blog.

 

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Lumholtz Tree Kangaroo spotting at the Nerada Tea Factory Grounds 

(Luckily we have a long lens to capture these critters high in the tree tops)

 

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Press Play to view Tree Kangaroo Vid


 

Due to the cool and wet weather on the Atherton Tablelands our beloved Dragonflies are few and far between.

Male and Female Fiery Skimmer Dragonflies

 

So back to the weather, the blue skies are back and our spirits have returned with it. We have been out and about everywhere. We just love the tablelands, waterfalls, lakes, wildlife, rainforests and of course, great cafes. What more could you want.

We did live up here for 4 years in Kuranda, but realised we don’t need to live here or anywhere really. With a house on wheels you can just visit the best places at the right time of year, if your lucky of course.

No horrible wet seasons to contend with.

 

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A showcase of stunning Rainbow Bee-eaters

 

 

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This gorgous Red-legged Pademellon was spotted catching the morning sun through a gap in the rainforest

Anthony has been having a feast with the bird photos lately…..we found a little birdie hotspot down by Lake Tinaroo. We can just walk there from our van which is fantastic, this afternoon we were so focused on the brown cuckoo dove eating tobacco bush berries when the echidna just ambled past us. What an amazing creature, we just love seeing these precious little animals that must really be struggling with our human impact.

 

Brown Cuckoo-dove up close and personal

 

Doves Galore on the Tablelands


 

We spotted this Pelican and Little black Cormorant through a small gap in the Rainforrest at Lake Eacham

 

 

White-breasted Woodswallow

We also drove out to the Nerada Tea Plantation which is the best place to see Tree Kangaroos. Its quite a drive but so worth it. I don’t know why but they are always around there somewhere, fantastic. They have even cordoned off their habitat with barbed wire with signs everywhere to keep us out, how cool is that?? I’d rather they didn’t use barbed wire but these amazing animals really need our help. Their habitat is rapidly disappearing so it’s great to see a big company keeping a nice place for them.

 

This little Pale-Yellow Robin is just way too cute

 

This Yellow Honeyeater was observed guarding these Cathedral Bells

 

And a few other critters we stumbled across

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Press play to watch Stephanie’s Snippets

We have to move on soon if we want to get up to Cooktown before the weather heats up, though it will be hard to leave here. I guess we can always come back on our way south again.

At the moment we keep putting off leaving. The joys of freedom.

Enjoy all the amazing photos.

Bye for now, Steph and Anthony.

 

Our Kitchen Makeover

Before

 

After

 

 

Inspirational Quote of the week

The azure kingfisher (Ceyx azureus) is a small kingfisher (17–19 centimetres [6.7–7.5 in]), in the river kingfisher subfamily, Alcedininae. It is found in Northern and Eastern Australia and Tasmania, as well as the lowlands of New Guinea and neighbouring islands, and out to North Maluku and Romang.