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

Raptor Mania at Iluka

Dog fight part 2
Brahminy and Sea-Eagle in a dog fight

 

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Wow what can I say?? The photos and videos speak for themselves. This is a definite must do place to visit again. After missing out on the Sea Eagle photos we decided to cheat a little…… Anthony went to the Bait shop and found a whopping big mullet that cost $6, I couldn’t believe one bait fish would cost that much. We defrosted it and went back to the rocky ledge at Iluka Bluff and placed it where we could get good video and photos. The Brahminy Kite was on to it within minutes and had a great feed, of course birds of prey always eat the eyes first, must be some delicacy for them. He tried to lift it a couple of times but it was too heavy. He flew off  with plenty left over and we were hoping the Sea Eagles would come and pay a visit. We thought maybe they wouldn’t come  this time, we were scanning the perimeters for about half an hour.

Anthony’s battery was going flat and as he was changing it one of the Eagles appeared flying so low across the beach I almost missed him. He zeroed in on the fish and bang …..he grabbed it and was off. He must have spotted that fish from miles away, Amazing hey??
Of course Anthony couldn’t get his camera around in time and focus so sadly missed out but I managed to get it on video.🤩🤩
Today was our last chance to try again so another defrosted $6 fish and back down to the rocky ledge. This time the Brahminy was there with his mate so after one finished having a snack the other one came down. After a while the Sea Eagle appeared and tried to swoop the fish but the Brahminies wouldn’t let him , it was great to watch the mid air tussle going on. We were surprised that the Eagle gave up and took off but came back about an hour later and took us by surprise again, it’s unbelievable how fast a big bird like that is. I only just got it on video and Anthony missed out yet again.😪😪
But Wow what a fantastic show.

 

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Iluka Buff – featuring Sea-Eagle action


 

 

Brahminy Kite
Lunch time
Brahminy Kite trying to get airborne
All attempts failed to get Airborne
White-bellied Sea-Eagle
White-bellied Sea-Eagle

Click or press on images for larger view 


 

Iluka Bluff
Iluka Bluff and shelf

 


Blue-faced Honeyeater
Blue-faced Honeyeater
We walked through the rainforest at the Iluka reserve that is World heritage listed. Lots of birdlife there too and a really nice walk. We were lucky to spot the Rufous Fantails building a nest.The walk goes from the Bluff through to the harbour and township of Iluka around 1.5 hours one way.
So we have had an amazing time here, could probably stay longer but yet again the weather will be deteriorating from tomorrow afternoon so we want to get further up the road. Eventually we will have to work again so have to keep moving along. This was our last day on the coast, we will be inland at the Murwilumba Showgrounds for a few nights and then see how the weather shapes up. Please enjoy the pics and videos.
Cheers, Steph and Anthony.

 

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Other birds of Iluka Reserve

 

Sooty Oystercatcher
Tit bits for an Oystercatcher

 


 

 

‘Look’ a Land Mullet

Iluka Bluff

Whistling Kite
Whistling Kite staring us down
Looking over to Yamba from the Bluff
Looking over to Yamba from the Bluff

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Hello everyone,

Today we hitched up and headed back to the coast. Anthony found a nice caravan park in a place called Woombah, in the Yamba region and the bigger town of Iluka is just up the road. We got here around lunch time, so after setting up and cuppochinos we headed out to explore. We only got as far as the Iluka Bluff, a fantastic headland with a great lookout. We just got to the top of the steps and were greeted by a Brahminy and Whistling Kite hovering very close over our heads. Just another WOW factor. The sky was so blue and not much wind. There’s a rocky ledge that comes out from the headland so we made our way down there and next thing a Brahminy Kite lands in front of us and starts ripping into this big dead fish laying on the rocks. To top it off there were Whales breaching just of the coast, incredible. The Brahminy took off after having a feast and instantly two Sea Eagles came soaring over the headland together…. I mean who ever gets to see two Sea Eagles soaring over their heads, lucky lucky us🤩🤩 We instantly thought they might come down to feast on the fish as well so we were quickly trying to move away, and get in a better position for photos and at the same time a couple were walking from the other direction also into the fish zone and before we could even think …….one of the eagles dived down around the backs of this couple and snatched up the fish prize and flew off into the sunset. We just stood there a bit stunned as we both missed a fantastic video and photos. The couple were hardly even aware that they were witness to an amazing act of nature and were more engrossed in their selfies in front of the waves. Wow people sure are funny.

Brahminy Kite guarding its prey
White-bellied Sea-eagle
The very Majestic Sea-Eagle

 

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Iluka Bluff Snippets

 


 

Pelican Flyby 


 

We ran out of time to explore further, tomorrow’s another day and there’s plenty more to see. The weather is looking good for the next few days so we can’t wait. Bye for now,

Steph and Anthony.


 

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