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

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

 

 

Cania Gorge Pt. 2

Our camp at Cania Gorge Tourist Retreat

Hello Everyone, sorry we have been out of touch, but things have been happening…….

We towed our van back to Cania Gorge for 4 nights to relax a bit after our disaster.

Meanwhile, my sister (Denise) and her hubby Mark  had bought a bus which they picked up from the Sunshine Coast the same day we went in for repairs.

We decided to all meet up at the Gorge which was fantastic as they also had a hectic time leaving the coast in torrential rain and having a few glitches with the bus on the way…..

They were also very keen to just relax a bit in a beautiful quiet place.

Colourful rock formations

 

Upper 2 story cave entrance

Mark also has a big lens camera, so the competition was on as to who could get the best photo.

It was great fun and we also did a lot of hiking around the Gorge and as you can see by the photos and video it certainly is a magical spot.

 

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With Denise, Mark and his Big Kahuna
We are now in Rockhampton, where we hired a small storage space and offloaded as much weight as we could. We will have to pick everything up again of course on the way back but it will be a bit of piece of mind knowing we are around 200 kg lighter.
Yes it’s hard to believe we carry around so much stuff but most of it is for work, plus our canoe, lawnmower (yes you read right “lawnmower”), hundreds of DVD’s etc etc 🙄🙄

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A Pacific Baza (aka Crested Hawk) snacking above our heads

 

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Golden Whistler

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Press play to watch Video

 

It’s nice and warm here but there’s rain looming.

Tomorrow will be the worst and this park is booked out so we will have to move on, it’s a different noisy world in these big places that’s for sure, give me the small country places any day.

So bye for now and will update as we head north.

Steph and Anthony.

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Sheathed-tailed Micro insectivorous Bats are found in this region

Last days in Borneo

Silver Leaf Monkey
Silver Leaf Monkey, quite a common sight in the jungles of Sarawak

 

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A short Video from Sarawak

Well the weather did fine up for us but we have been struggling to find any birds.  On the second day we drove about 45 minutes to Kubah National Park first which has actually been extensively logged so no really big trees and hardly a peep to be heard. Because it had been raining we stayed on the road going up to the summit but it still was very green with moss but it gave us a really good view of the forest as we walked up and we did hear a few birds and saw a couple of drongos . On the way back down we walked on one of the tracks instead and it was still tree roots and slippery rocks, it seems to be the same terrain wherever we go. There was no cafe here but we had seen a couple on the way in, one was on top of a rubbish tip…..yes really and the other one didn’t look to bad. We had to share an iced lemon tea as there was nothing else except for Pepsi and we had a choice of 4 meals so we picked some noodle dish with some type of crumbled meat in it but couldn’t actually tell you what it was. But the flies there were just crazy, I don’t know why, maybe from all the rubbish but we just gobbled our noodles and high tailed it out of there.

 

Just for something different, a nice flower

Click or press image for larger view

Yesterday we went to Bako National Park which involved another 45 minute drive in the opposite direction. We were lucky to get one of the last car parks at the jetty area, very busy place and we had to get a boat from there up the river to the  NP. We were expecting it to be busy as it sounds amazing and there is the best chance to see proboscis monkeys there. Well you could hardly move at ticket box, people just en masse. I had to go to the loo and sadly had to leave Anthony to organise boat tickets in that mayhem…..actually he normally turns to jelly in big crowds so I was expecting to come back and he maybe wanted to bail out, but he thought it’s either deal with this or we are back on the highway. I couldn’t believe it but he had it all organised……(typical Borneo) he had to register us at one booth, get tickets at another then go back to the original booth to organise a driver for the boat, I kid you not there were around 20 boats waiting for all the tourists to get their paper work in order. We were suppose to stand in one spot and wait till they matched us up with other people as they wanted full boatloads. But after 2 minutes Anthony went and harassed them a little and we were off, straight down the jetty with some others that they had quickly scrambled together. You can only imagine the chaos there, people were so confused and most had that stunned mullet look on their faces so it was great to get out.
The only way to Bako NP is by boat
Our Transport to Bako NP

 

Bako National Park 
The trip there was good, very fast little boats with twin 40 hsp outboards on the back . Too bumpy for videos though. When we arrived at the park we had to take our paper work to their office and then we were free.
We saw some silver leaf monkeys straight away and then the Bornean bearded pig so we got quite excited thinking we had finally found a National Park with wildlife, yahoo. So off we went on one of the trails picked for the birdlife…….we walked and walked , heard nothing, in fact it was deathly quiet. Next thing we are climbing up the side of a mountain back on those dreaded slippery tree roots and rocks again. After about 20 minutes of climbing, we were both drenched with sweat and still no sounds from the jungle and still a long way up that bloody mountain, so we bailed out to find an easier trail. There was only one cafe there so we had lunch early before the masses and chilled out a bit. This heat is really getting to us. We walked up another path and some people had seen a proboscis monkey on it high up in the trees. This path followed the cliffs along the beach. It was also climbing but we had something to look for now so we were very keen. It took a while but we heard them first, crashing around in the trees but couldn’t get a look because of the foliage in front and then after manoeuvring off the path and into the jungle a bit we could see the male and then after a while we spotted the female. They are quite a large primate and they are very hard to spot in the trees, it’s only because we heard them that we knew where to look. It’s hard to believe they’ve been squashed into this last place on the coast. They only live near the mangroves so they won’t be able to survive, they are critically endangered already and were still hunted for their meat not so long ago, very very sad.
It was fantastic to see them so it really made our day. The trip back was good too, the boats all pick you up from the beach at 3 pm, it was a tiring day.
A large Male Proboscis Monkey
A large Male Proboscis Monkey Looking very much like a drunken Sailor !!!
Female Proboscis Monkey
Female Proboscis Monkey
Click or press image for larger view
Bornean Bearded Pig
Amazed to see a Bornean Bearded Pig waltzing up the beach
Today we went for a quick walk in the forest here, we did see some silver leaf monkeys but still no birds, had lunch instead at the Damai Resort on the beach, a very nice spot and a nice lunch. We relaxed around the pool till it cooled off enough to go for a quick drive to Buntal beach about 15 minutes drive as we heard they had a big walkway along the mangroves there. It was really nice and picturesque, the sun was setting, there were kingfishers and other birds around, a really nice spot. But best not to look around too much and see all the rubbish scattered among the mangroves, it’s just everywhere here. I don’t think they know what a beautiful country they have, it’s been hard to get away from the rubbish.
View over to Bako from Buntal Bay
View over to Bako from Buntal Bay

 

Buntal Bay raised walkway over the mangroves
A nice monument at the beginning of a raised walkway of the mangroves.
I did a little research because I was concerned about the lack of wildlife in the parks, I mean we are in the Bornean jungles, we were expecting a lot more mammals and birds, but it’s so quiet. They also have a cat problem, starving cats in the parks, you can only imagine what they are eating. I am convinced most of the prize animals are gone, there are still traditional hunters in the parks, and don’t forget most of the forests are wiped out by palm oil or heavily logged so the only place for wildlife is in the parks but they are not protected there. They also have a huge poaching problem, I won’t gabble on about it because I know the world is pretty much stuffed as far as nature is concerned but will include an interesting article I read from an Australian professor of ecology.

This is our last night in Borneo, we had some amazing times seeing amazing wildlife, but doubt we will return.
Off to Malaysia tomorrow.
Bye for now Steph and Anthony.

Some extra last day pics around our Digs