In search of the (elusive) Golden Bowerbird… Paluma, Nth Queensland

 

Would you believe we woke this morning to perfect blue skies??? Very lucky ……so we quickly had our morning cappuccinos with my sister Denise and her hubby Mark, packed our camera gear and headed up to Paluma which is about 1 hours drive from here (Bluewater).

The 20 km winding range road is a bit hairy as it’s so narrow and we have the big wide dual wheeled F truck, which is really not made for narrow windy roads. We stopped at Little Crystal Creek on the way up which is a really beautiful spot with the old stone bridge and great picnic areas…..very picturesque. Then drove through the small mountaintop town of Paluma and on a dirt road out to Birthday Creek Falls and the Paluma Dam.


Golden Bowerbird (Photo courtesy of Mark Stanley)
We know where there’s a Golden Bowerbird bower and were really hoping to get some good photos etc. Well we were lucky enough to get some glimpses and their call is unmistakable but they proved very very elusive for us to get a photo. Well done Mark for capturing the above image.
I got some video snippets but not very good, I think they spotted us very quickly…. I don’t think my bright blue jacket and bright red backpack helped….ooops. We only saw them once, the boys had flashes on their cameras and maybe they didn’t like that either but we sat there near the bower for 4 hours and never saw them again.
We may need to get a bit more sneaky in future, maybe even get one of those collapsible bird hides, that would have been perfect there.

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Press play to view Video
The drive down the range was more hairy than going up, people seem a little crazy, no one likes slowing down and pulling over a little to pass each other, we all breathed a sigh of relief when we got to the bottom.
It was very quiet on the bird front, hardly heard a peep all day, they did have a huge amount of rain here though so maybe that had some sort of effect. We still had a good day though, it’s always good getting out in nature.
Bye for now Steph and Anthony.

Birding at Townsville Common

Looking back at Castle Hill from the Common

Well the last blog seems like ages ago and we really haven’t done much. The weather did turn nasty so we have been making our way slowly north but of course travelling on the Bruce Highway is very busy and pretty much featureless if you ask me. Maybe the inland roads would be a better way for us to go🙄🙄

“Gotta Scratch” Rainbow Bee-eaters.

We are now just north of Townsville at Bluewater and even though it was raining yesterday morning we decided to drive back past the city and check out The Townsville Common.

The rain did stop and the sun did poke out enough to get some fantastic bird photos. It’s a great place where you could really walk your socks off……plenty of wetlands, saw an osprey nest and a sea eagle nest plus lots of different birds. Mostly they were in the tops of the trees so Anthony missed out on a lot of photos too. I’m sure the bird species list would be quite impressive for this area.
Had a great day, athough the drive is an hour one way from out here.
Maybe next time we could find a van park closer.

Alway exciting to see a Black-necked Stork (Jabiru)

The van park here also has a little creek with paperbarks, pandanus trees etc, very picturesque and we have spotted a few birds and bugs around too. There always generally is something to get a photo off when in these little pockets of nature.

Forrest Kingfisher checking us out

Slender Skimmer Dragonly

Tomorrow…..fingers crossed…..we will drive up the range to Paluma. A beautiful spot too but the weather doesn’t look promising but will give it a go.

Cheers Steph and Anthony.

Black and white Tiger Butterfly

Cania Gorge, Queensland – pt.1

Greetings from Cania Gorge National Park . What an amazingly beautiful peaceful place this is. We are camped right at the entrance to the hiking tracks, at Cania Gorge Tourist Retreat . We have been here a few times before when there was no communication reception. Recently the owners of the Retreat have splashed out and got themselves a Telstra tower installed so Halleluja, we now have phone and internet which is great.

The trip here from Pomona was very lacklustre. Typical Queensland inland roads, very bumpy, even jarring in places, of course we can’t go real fast as we don’t like bouncing all our nice things around in our (house on wheels). It was a very long day, with a lunch stop in Gayndah and catching up with some friends. We didn’t arrive here at the Gorge till round 4.30 pm.

Here’s where this story turns nasty…….

Last Light : Laughing Kookaburra at Cania
Glasswing Butterfly bedding down for the night, looks so comfy …. not
Rainbow Lorikeets enjoying a morning bath

When we unhitched the van, it made some really horrible creaking noises and actually seemed to be sitting way to low on the back of the truck.

We did manage to unhitch and started to look around the King Pin Box (hitch) with a torch and to our absolute horror, saw two very big cracks in the framework behind the hitch. We also noticed that the hitch had hit underneath the front of the van, as there was a chunk of fibreglass missing……which means that it was flexing a hell of a lot to do that.

After setting up we googled to see who on earth around here could possibly help us.

 

Cania Gorge Dam

 

Some more pics from Cania

(Click or press on image for larger view)


We are 26 kms from the nearest town, (Monto) and luckily found a large engineering firm there, we rang them and they are coming out tomorrow for a look and fingers crossed, can help us out of our predicament.

Oh that’s not all, it gets even worse……we really wanted to see if there were cracks anywhere else, so we had to cut the lining away and take a lot of the trim off, take out the insulation etc to even be able to see the main beam and framework that the hitch is attached to and guess what????? We found 7 cracks, the biggest is over 3 inches in the main beam.

 

Wow, I was so lucky to grab this Great Egret Flyby
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Then it landed and stood tall and proud for me to capture this shot.
We spent a good hour or so being mesmerised by this Azure Kingfisher fishing at very close range.

 


So now we are wondering how on earth we managed to get here without losing our van on the highway, talk about an absolute ship stopper, we ain’t going anywhere for a while till all this is fixed somehow. Our house is broken and unable to be towed. Of course we are devastated but after doing some massive googling find that this does happen a lot over time with 5 th wheelers and we have been travelling in ours now for 11 years.

We will certainly be keeping a close eye on this area once fixed.

 

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This stunning male Striated Pardalote put on quite a display.

 


 

Blue-faced Honeyeater

This family of Blue-faced Honeyeaters just kept on following us around, they’re so funny to watch

 


 

Adult Pied Butcherbird
Adult Pied Butcherbird

 

 

Stephanie ready for immediate action

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Cania Gorge Video

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Cania Dam Video

In between all this happening we have been out and about, so don’t worry…..it’s not all doom and gloom. We have been walking our socks off, seen lots of birds.

We drove to the reservoir today and Anthony got some really wow photos as you will see.

Since we will be stuck here for a while we may have to blog Cania Gorge in a series form so hang on to your hats….there’s plenty more photos and video coming, plus keep you all posted on our repair progress.

Cheers Steph and Anthony.

 

One of the 7 (ship stopping) cracks in the frame supporting the king pin box (hitch)