adversity Animals Birds Brisbane Scenic Rim

August 23, 2014 … wet feathers and a bouncing surprise

It turns out that our stay in Australia will be a wet one.

Crimson Rosella hoping for food

For the most part that’s no big problem, but I would have liked a dry spell yesterday for our visit to Lamington National Park near the border with New South Wales.It’s spectacular countryside, but so much better when it’s not shrouded in mist. However when we arrived at O’Reilly’s resort the birds were immediately visible. First to arrive were the spectacular crimson rosellas which sat on the car as we got out.

Bower birds
Regent bower birds, male and female, being fed by tourists. These are free flying birds, not captive.

We went around the track that includes a wonderful boardwalk, but the rain increased in intensity as we went around. I saw honey eaters and various small birds but things were dark and it was hard to see the birds in the gloom. We were forced to give up, and went back to the centre where tourists were feeding a variety of birds including the splendid Regent bower bird.

Wallaby posing

After lunch with the rain now quite heavy we set off down the hill again. On the way. David spotted this handsome Wallaby. It sat for its photograph and then disappeared into the grass.

Bounding into the rain

Closer to Canungra he spotted what I think is a kangaroo (as opposed to a wallaby). It too sat for a while and then bounded off into the mist and rain.

Weather or not, it was a good day.

Animals Birds Landscapes Light Scenic Rim Sunset

January 17, 2013 … walking on the edge of the precipice

This country (Australia) has so many surprising faces.

I mentioned the beaches a few days ago. And there are the cities, the pastoral land, and the arid outback.  And then there are the surprise packages. The “Scenic Rim”  is a lovely steeply wooded area that straddles the border between Queensland and New South Wales.

We drove South from Brisbane to Nerang, and then inland to Canungra, a pretty town amongst the trees where we paused for refreshments and a little souvenir purchasing.  Among the interesting features of the restaurant we paused at were  the misters which put a fine cooling water spray into the covered area.  I had to protect my camera lens. Cooling spray provides comfort for customers at a restaurant in CanungraFrom there, the road got serious.

After a brief stretch of some very affluent looking farms (stations?), it got very narrow and began to twist and climb into the Lamington National Park. Australia has few serious mountains but it can still do “steep”. This was one of those roads that miraculously clung to the side of a very steep hill and gained height by way of frequent turns so sharp you almost saw your own tail lights. Soon we were in the National park with its beautiful forest canopy and exotic bird life.

Our destination was the “tree top walkway” near O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat.  Near the car park, there is a feeding station where tourists can feed the flocks of vividly coloured Australian king parrots (Alisterus scapularis) with purchased birdseed.  Australian King ParrotThese are wild birds that have learned where there is free food, so they are numerous and apparently fearless.

To be honest the walkway itself was fair enough, but for me the special joy was the forest itself, especially in the beautiful stretches that lead up to the suspended path. There is a huge variety of bird and animal life in this forest though I suspect that the best would be seen away from the trails and the noisy chattering tourists. Eastern yellow robinThis Eastern yellow robin (Eopsaltria australis) was among the wide variety of birds seen as we walked. I was a bit mortified at how much more quickly David and Isaac detected new specimens than I could. Though recent tests indicate I have good eyesight, their visual acuity is so much sharper than mine.

In the dark areas of the undergrowth, I found it especially difficult to see, but Isaac was quick to spot this oddity. We misidentified it as a Blue tongued lizard, but a passing guide set us straight … it is a Land mullet (Egernia major) … it is not especially pretty, but interesting and timid. It was quite a big one at around 40cm long. Land mullet

The long trip home down the steep road and then up the M1 took us through Brisbane’s notorious rush hour, and eventually we got back to Bald hills where we paused to allow me to catch this panorama looking West towards the State Forest near Clear Mountain. Panorama from Bald Hills at sunset

Last half day here tomorrow before heading home.