Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Sunshine and Beach Stone - Curlew

The challenge on this trip is to set aside an hour or two each day to catch up on work emails and keep the wheels of my part of the industry turning. It's early days but I have say that it seems to be working quite well.

Today was probably the best day birding that I have had, if not all time then in my most recent memory.   I put the kayak in at Theodalite Creek just north of Woodgate, Queensland at around midday on an outgoing tide. It was a perfect day, for a paddle, no wind, about 23 degrees and sunny. I paddled to the northern side of the estuary and could hear quite a bit of activity coming from lantana scrub. Birds of note were, Red backed fairy wren, spangled drongo, rufous whistler, double barred finch. Then on my way back to the shore I noticed these two Bush Stone-curlew. A first for me.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Catching up with the DustyCampervan

I managed to get a flight to Brisbane courtesy of some free air miles with Virgin, best fare of the day was a 7:30 takeoff. The temperature was a chilly -3. Mr P and Dusty were at Brizzey to meet me and we set off for the 90k drive north to Noosa.

 As a rule I never book ahead but had reserved a waterfront site for a week at the Noosa River Caravan Park. We arrived with high expectations of a site overlooking the river, unfortunately they had omitted to tell me the site was on bitumen. Not a blade of grass to be seen. We were given a full refund, I got the impression that ours was a fairly common reaction. Fortunately it wasn't busy and after a bit of driving around we caught the ferry out to Noosa North Shore Camp for the night.

I managed to get in a walk along the beach before the wind and rain set in for the night. Saturday morning we had arranged to meet the kids at Yandina Markets to stock up on fresh produce. Most travellers go to the more touristy Eumundi markets near by. Yandina is more of a local produce market, lots of tropical fruits and really friendly people.

Back to Chez Seidl for a  delicious very low food miles lunch, local Mooloolaba king prawns, most of the produce came from the garden.

Helen is hard at work tending seedlings planted by the local primary school students. We chatted and I ticked off a few birds on my list. Notably a flock of scarlet honeyeaters.

Tonight we are Coolum Beach, great park and access to the Sunshine Coast free wifi. It's warm, the sun is shining and they are catching fish off the beach. Life on the road is good.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Messing about in Wooden Boats - Narooma

Just home again from a great weekend catching up with friends in Narooma. We happened to be in town for the 2014 Narooma Boats Afloat Festival. This was the 9th time the featival has been held in Fosters Bay with a flotilla of over 50 boats on show. There were wooden boats of all shapes and sizes, clinkers, putt putts, steam boats, electric and sail boats, something for everyone, as well as arts shows in the quaint little boatsheds around the bay.
Narooma Marina  was the place to be on Saturday.
The flotilla arrived for just as the jazz band started playing and we had settled in for the afternoon.

Elixir- definately the spice of life!
Regularly on Sunday mornings, some of the town's sharpest  minds gather for a cuppa and a spot of trivia. This Sunday, quiz master Charlie, invited us and along  with some other boffins for a breakfast cruise on his beautiful "Wagonga Princess". 

Contestants boarded from the wharf near the Fishing Club laden with baked treats, Thirsty had his amazing gourmet sandwiches and Pig Slops was not going to part with the recipe for his special chocolate slice, needless to say we all had a jolly time.

Wagonga Inlet Cruises are a great way to spend a few hour next time you are in Narooma.Check out more photos from the weekend on the photo page.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Bungonia Gorge closed, doors open.

The fog on the Federal Highway was so thick on Sunday morning, that we missed seeing Lake George and the Collector turnoff, we passed several peletons blindly riding their way through the white out, thankful no doubt for their multi coloured Lycra and tail lights. Our destination was the Bungonia Gorge National Park 30 minutes east of Goulburn on Mountain Ash road.

The fog had cleared by the time we reached the park entrance. Where we joined a group of dismayed walkers, peering at the sign notifying us that the park was indeed closed for feral animal control. Not to worry, we were keen to back track to the old Bungonia township and pursue that other much loved pastime of exploring graveyards and old churches.

Christ Church - Anglican Church Bungonia
In its heyday the Great South Road (aka Hume Hway) passed through the townsip of Bungonia, when the road was rerouted the township fell into decline. The 2006 census recorded 258 residents, I would hazard a guess that the number would be much less today.  Bungonia's historical legacy is a number of fine building, a beautiful old stone police station, complete with flogging tree, St Michael's Catholic reputed to be the oldest standing Catholic Church on the Australian mainland and the Anglical church at the other end of the township.

St Michael's Catholic Church - 1847

After and hour exploring we drove out of town and followed  the signs to Tarago, but somehow got side tracked and spotted the quaint little church below in a paddock just off the road. This looked like a perfectly sheltered spot for lunch.

The church and graveyard were beautifully maintained with some very old headstones, dating back to the early 1900's as well as a memorial to those locals lost in war. We sat in the sun debating why churches were locked these days, we had found most of the churches in rural Tasmania were unlocked during daylight hours. You can imagine our delight when we found this one was also unlocked.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Booderee National Park, Jervis Bay and Eastern Bristlebird encounters

With  a weekend to do just what I wanted, it was a great excuse to head to the coast for some sunshine, to try an rid myself of a persistent cough and sore throat that has dogged me for the past couple of weeks.

I left Canberra on Friday after a couple of meetings in the morning and decided to make my way to Booderee National Park on Jervis Bay via, Nerriga. I tuned into a great community radio station, playing a mixture of, jazz, rock and blues, that fitted my mood perfectly and 3 hours later I was on Jervis Bay road. I had read that Green Patch was the best suited camp site for a van , all the other being walk in  sites. The visitors centre was closed when i arrived, so I wasn't able to get my camping permit or maps, but the park is well sign posted.

The weather at the coast was 10 degrees warmer during the day, the nights were a bit chilly and I missed being able to have a camp fire. I spent Friday afternoon getting set up and them heading out to explore, the area around Green Patch and Bristol Rocks.
It was well and truly dark by the time I got back to camp, I made the most of the hot showers, such a treat in at National Park. The campsite what just about empty, but I had set up next to a couple of Grey Nomads (Gomads) just for security. It was wonderful dropping off to sleep listening to the call of a Mopoke Owl in the distance. I spoke with the ranger on Saturday morning and he gave me a chit to pay on my way out, all very civilised.
Jervis Bay is picture perfect and I was having lots of fun, with my new camera. I walked out to Telegraph Swamp after breakfast and was soon high fiving myself after an Eastern Bristlebird walked across the track in front of me, I first for me and one that I hadn't dreamed of being lucky enough to see on this trip. The flowering heath was alive with honeyeaters this area will become a mecca for birders in the coming weeks.

I had literally walked my legs off and was tucked up in bed just after sunset,needless to say I was up again and on the road before sunrise.

This shot was not as spectacular as I had hoped, the sandstone cliff opposite needed to be in the sun not in silhouette, but well worth the walk just to see the sunrise. I drove over to Caves Beach and watched the surfers while I cooked my scrambled eggs and smoked salmon.

I then was the first into the National Botanic Gardens, more Eastern Bristle birds, here as well; as several Brassian Thrush, Shiny Black Cockatoos and a pair of Gang Gangs of note.

I decided to take the Kangaroo Valley route on the way home, and apart from taking an interesting detour via Mount Scanzi. Well some may call it a wrong turn but it was very picturesque albeit mostly dirt, thankfully Google maps told be I was not lost.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Gillards Beach, Mimosa Rock NP winter weekend escape

With the thermometer sitting on -1 most mornings last week, we decided to take a chance on the predicted 20 degree maximums forcast for the coast on Saturday and Sunday  being close to accurate to make mid winter dash for some warmer. A very large bag of firewood and the winter doona were thrown in also, just to be safe.

Clyde or Brown?

The trip to the coast via the Brown Mountain always seems so much more relaxing, no territorians, trying to break the land speed record by making it  Batemans Bay in under 2 hours. We were struck by the lush vegetation and green paddocks around Bega, no wonder they make such great cheese here. After several stops to buy food we arrived in Tathra around midday. Mimosa Rocks NP is a short drive north of Tathra, Gillards Beach is 5 klms off the main road. A dirt road, but it had been recently graded so the corregations, didn't result in any breakages this time.
Site map - Gillards Beach

We had the choice of the 70 sites that run alond the back of the sand dunes,great views, plenty shade and best of all grass underfoot. Most popular camp sites are so loved that the grass doesn't get a chance to recover. We chose a site with a fire pit and a great view.

One of the advantages of camping on the south coast in Winter is that is just about completely deserted. We had the pick of the sites and as the afternoon wore on the temperature did reach a balmy 18 degrees. Mr P opted for  shorts and decided to try his luck with his surf rod in the gutter just below the camp site.
Paul has the beach to himself

The total catch for the afternoon were 6 salmon, but no elusive tailor, despite all the conditions being perfect. 5 salmon were returned to the ocean, I love fresh salmon for breakfast so we decided to keep one.
Pan fried salmon with goats cheese,lemon and black pepper on toast

Birds and walks

The trees around the camp site were full of wattle birds and New Holland Honeyeaters. I made the trek to Blithrey inlet via Middle Lagoon on both days, with a total of 28 species. The lagoon had opened to the sea last week so was now tidal, large flocks of Australian Coot were fossicking for meal along the shore. Best bird of the weekend was a Crested Shrite Tit a lifer for me.
Photo courtesy Geoff Park