Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Great Sandy National Park

I am very fortunate to have National Park close by which stretches from the north, to the east and around to the south. While there are many walking tracks which cross the park, many places are too distant and need a 4 wheel drive to reach. I drive an ordinary car! Last week two good friends offered to take me down the Freshwater road across the park and over to the beach on the eastern side. (Many thanks to Sarah and Graham!) Driving safely on the beach requires a low tide so we planned for a day when the low tide was in the middle of the day to give us plenty of time to get over there and have a good look around. This link is to a map of the area. 
After careful planning we woke up to a sky like this - and then the rain showers began!

The radar showed that the showers should pass out to sea and by nine o' clock it was fine and sunny. The Freshwater Road through the park goes off the Rainbow Beach road. Rainforest starts a few kilometers down the road. The road is accessible to ordinary vehicles as far as the Bymien Picnic area. Beyond this, it was all new country to me. The road was narrow but for most of the way it had a good base of gravel over the sand. The rainforest is amazing!

Beyond this, the forest becomes first wet and then dry sclerophyll forest.  There are lots of small walking tracks going off from the road but we didn't stop to walk until we reached the Freshwater lake. At present this lake has plenty of water in it but a few years ago during the drought it was completely dry.

Just beyond this is the Freshwater picnic and camping area. It is well maintained and looks so different from what you have just traveled through.

This is a pandanus palm which is a native species and common around much of the coastal area. The palm puts these roots out from its main trunk and they slowly grow down into the ground.

I heard birds everywhere! But if I had stopped to photograph them there wouldn't have been time to see all the things that I wanted to! So I hurriedly snapped only the birds that came around us at this picnic area. The Brush Turkeys seem to be everywhere and this one came around as soon as we stopped for afternoon tea.

Willie Wagtails - likewise - seem to be everywhere!

This is an Eastern Yellow Robin and is also fairly common but I have not yet got good photographs of it.  This one was perched for a few seconds under a picnic table and in the shade but with bright sunshine beyond it.

It is only a few meters beyond this area to the beach. Suddenly the vegetation changes again to the lower scrubby growth which is all along the beach. The road changes also to dry and deep sand.
The next part of the trip was along the beach - and that will come next week!

For more scenery from around our world visit Out World Tuesday 

and for more birds visit Wild Bird Wednesday.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Early Morning

I went for a walk down at Mullens very early the other morning with a couple of friends. The tide was well out and the sand flats were exposed. As we walked we were facing into the sun and Sarah took this silhouette photo of my dog Misty. Misty is a Stumpy-tailed Blue Cattle dog and one of the smartest dogs I have ever had. She usually walks off leash and watches for birds for me to photograph. Then she comes back and stands behind me and nudges my leg until I get the camera up and take the photos.

There was quite a heavy dew on the grass and this looked so beautiful with the light glinting off the dew drops that I took a number of photos hoping to capture some of the magic of the light. One photo turned out OK!

There were very few shorebirds to see. It is after all winter here, and most shorebirds have migrated to the northern hemisphere where they breed. I could hear Brown Honeyeaters - but they come around my house and I can take my time photographing them there. I had stopped to try for a Fantail - but they are a study in constant movement and it eluded me. Sarah called my attention to this Rufous Whistler which was sitting high in a tree. It was almost out of range of my 300mm lens but I managed some photos although they were not as sharp as I would have liked. It apparently felt quite secure up there and decided to have a good preen before it flew off again.

Once I had stopped I realized that there were a number of other birds in the shade of the trees. This one had its back to me but that green color on its back is unmistakeable as a Cuckoo. It has been ID'd for me as a Shining Bronze Cuckoo. 

For more birds from around the world visit Wild Bird Wednesday.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013


I wonder what bird songs most bloggers wake up hearing and how loud are they? I became aware just how noisy the birds are around here when I was talking to my son on skype early the other morning. Suddenly he interrupted the conversation by saying "What IS that noise?" I hadn't even realized that there was a white Cocky (Sulphur-crested Cockatoo) flying close to the back door. Their usual sound is a loud screech and I often have a score or more fly over my house early in the morning. Rainbow Lorikeets also fly over very early and since their flocks are even bigger they make almost as much noise although it is higher pitched. The earliest of all are the Kookaburras. They start their chorus of laughter before it is even light -  a very good alarm clock if I needed one!
These photos of a Kookaburra were taken later in the day when one flew down onto a pile of branches to pick up something that it had seen moving close by. This is not in my yard - my dog doesn't like birds invading her personal space!

For more birds from around the world visit Wild Bird Wednesday.