More of Cooktown and Surrounds

Shower time for this Yellow Oriole at the Botanical Gardens

 

Its hard to believe, but our week here in Cooktown has already gone…. We have been super busy.

We thought we might be stuck here for a while but our switch for the front legs on the van arrived today. Gave us quite a surprise as it came from Melbourne.

Anthony wired it up quick smartly and we gave it a test run and all seems to be ok.

See how it goes tomorrow when we hitch up.🤓🤓

 

Annan Gorge

 

 

Red-Winged Parrot (male)
Cooktown has been a great place to hang out, there’s a lot to see from here.
Lots of nature, waterfalls etc. and the town itself is nice and has everything you need.
We never did get to the museum…..maybe next time.
Our only disappointment was we didn’t see too many birds.
When visiting the Isabella Falls we explored and had lunch sitting on the tailgate of the truck and honestly we did not hear one peep from a bird. Apparently October to December is the best time for birds when they all decide to come back from PNG.
Luckily we had Keatings Lagoon to fall back on and even though it wasn’t teeming with birdlife, there was enough there to keep us amused.

 

 

Entrance to Endervour Falls and Camping Grounds

More Falls and Camp ground Pics

Endevour Falls

 

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Press Play to view Steph’s Snippets

We did love visiting the Endevour Falls and Tourist Park, wow what a beautiful spot they have there. So many palm trees in manicured gardens with the waterfall in their back yard. Absolutely idyllic.

I think the photos and video speak for themselves, it’s a great place to visit,


Green Skimmer
Scarlet Perchers egg laying on the run

 


Isabella Falls

Isabella Creek

 

Tomorrow we will drive all the way back to Mareeba.
Its about a 3 hours drive but we will definitely be stopping at the Palmer river roadhouse for coffee on the way.🤩🤩
Cheers Steph and Anthony.
PS… As you can see….Anthony had no problem finding Dragonflies, lots of them …and he does tend to go a bit bonkers photographing them from every angle so please enjoy them too, bye.😉😉

 

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

Mulu National Park – Sarawak

Mulu National Park
The picturesque Mulu National Park

 

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Some Images of Mulu National Park

 

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Some snippets of our time in Mulu NP.

 

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.
Scarlet-rumped Trogon
A Prize find for us – Scarlet-rumped Trogon
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.
Tree Hugger Dragonfly - Tyriobapta torrida
Tree Hugger Dragonfly
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.
Butterflies of Mulu
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.
Bornean Pit Viper
Saw this Bornean Pit Viper on the way out of the Park on the last day.
Always nice to come across the odd Reptile or two

A Common Squirrel feasting
Squirrels are always fun to watch

Red Millipede (Trachelomegalus modestior)
Red Millipede of Mulu
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.
Bye for now Steph and Anthony.

Another day in the Sepilok Rainforest

Adult Female Orangutan
Adult Female Orangutan on the canopy walkway

 

We had another great day in the Sepilok Jungle. There’s not much cloud cover so it’s been ridiculously hot. We have a pretty good routine though and try to walk the suspended walkways first as they get quite hot and you are really exposed in some places.Plus the towers are very high which means lots of steps and by the afternoon we are very tired, the heat and humidity certainly takes it out of you. It’s hard to keep concentrating too, sometimes you can go quite sometime without seeing or hearing anything and then we seem to go into a torpor or start chatting while we are walking and then of course we aren’t looking. For lunch we have been going to the Banana cafe, today the owners son Jason found a little whip snake for us, just beautiful and we would never have spotted him, he just blended in so well with his surroundings. Jason and his dad John are getting to know us now as we are there every day and always tell us what they have seen there or if there’s anything around the lake. We come back to the hotel around 5 ish and have been having tea in the restaurant downstairs which is ok and we always seem to be their only customers which is weird.

Keel-bellied Whip Snake Dryophiops rubescens
Keel-bellied whip snake at the Banana Cafe
Copper Throated Sunbird
Copper Throated Sunbird In the Gardens at Sepilok Rainforest

 

Jewel Damselfly - Rhinocypha humeralis
Jewel Damselfly

 

Pale Blue Flycatcher
Bath time – Pale Blue Flycatcher
We saw Orangutans a few times again, a young mum and junior were on the suspended walkway this morning and had quite a crowd all trying to desperately get selfies with the orangutans in the background. I wonder what they think of us, sometimes I’m embarrassed to be a human, these people didn’t even move when they came so close and the sad bit is they pulled all the garbage out of one of the bins and were drinking the dregs from Pepsi coke cans and licking food wrappers even though the sign at the start of the walrk says no food or drinks allowed, obviously for a good reason. I guess some people would think it quite funny but whenever humans get too close to wildlife and an altercation happens where the human gets hurt it’s always the animal that gets euthanased. I think they should have people posted around the park to keep an eye on peoples behaviour, I mean you couldn’t get that close to any animals in a zoo and all the animals here are wild.
Apart from that we got a few more new birds we hadn’t seen before which is always exciting. And we had a huge flock of hornbills flying quite low through the trees right over our heads which was great.
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Tomorrow we are moving back to the Sepilok Forest edge resort where we stayed in the chalet before. It will be nice to be back there. But it’s only for 2 nights then we will have a rest from the jungle for 2 nights in Sandakan. Enjoy the pics.
Cheers Steph and Anthony.

Bangkok – Benjakiti Park

Benjakiti Park, our saviour in Bangkok
Our saviour in Bangkok – Benjakiti Park

Press or click here for more info about Benjakiti Park

Well it’s our last day in Bangers, it all turned out not too badly after all. We thought we had some major catastrophe happening with the bone grafting in my implant not taking, but more grafting was done today, actually injected in which I had never heard off, but we have got a whiz bang dentist that also teaches at the University in Bangkok. He has a practice in Koh Samui and one here in Bangkok.

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 Benjakiti Park

We have been able to easily walk to the Benjakiti Park and what a surprise it was, as you can see by the photos we saw many birds , dragonflies, butterflies, lizards and that beautiful snake. It was quite busy there this morning being Saturday so we caused a little bit of interest from people probably curious as to what were taking photos of, being the only people with a huge camera. Of course we didn’t point the snake out, he was so well camouflaged and anyway ( Most people are so terrified of snakes they miss the sheer beauty of their movement). We didn’t want to cause a panic or worst case the snake gets hurt, better off to be hidden,  he was just gorgeous.
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The Golden Tree Snake or AKA Flying Snake and a couple of Lizards

 


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A collection of Dragonflies from the Park

 


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And we got some Birds
We are so glad the park is there, it kept us occupied in this sprawling concrete jungle, though we have adapted quite well, have found great eateries and good cuppachino’s, but still will be very exited to head out to our favourite national park -Khao Yai tomorrow.
We will get a taxi to the airport and pick up a hire car from there again, we probably won’t get out to the park till late afternoon but have got 5 nights there.
Bye for now Steph and Anthony.