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Thursday 22 November 2018

Perth - Mindarie

After a great stay with Luke at Timbeerwah, not far from Brisbane, we started the final leg of our holiday to see more of the family - Mike, Julie, Sam and David at Perth.
It makes you realise just how big this country is, when it takes you over 5 hours flight time to reach Perth from Brisbane.

Staying with Mike and Julie for 6 days, we had a fantastic time and they looked after us both very well and  took us to see all the sights, spectacular scenery and it was great catching up. There a stone’s throw from the Coast and obviously this was a big magnet to me and Chris, especially as I saw an Osprey from Mike and Julies balcony on the 1st day. 
They have a lovely house and I can see why they love it there at Mindarie, it is a great place to live,like NZ one thing you notice straight away is that there is no rubbish/litter in the streets.

One place that became a firm favourite was Mindarie Marina, we spent quite a bit of time here having a Coffee watching the comings and goings, it was one of those places that really chills you out.

Birds – there were lots including a pair of Osprey’s, seemingly a different bird here and very approachable given how low they perched with people walking underneath them. Always an impressive bird no matter what country you are in, I got the best views I have ever had of one.

On one particular morning, I had seen the pair from the other side of the Marina on a manmade structure; by the time I had walked round there, one had gone but the remaining bird, presumably the female, posed rather nicely for over an hour. Given how people were hardly giving it a 2nd glance, I can only presume this is a pretty regular sight, I was gob smacked that it was probably only 6 metres up sitting above the main path oblivious to all.

Mick says they have tried to nest on this structure before, but suffered a lot of mobbing from the local Ravens.

Taken long range from the other side of the Marina

Incredible views

The adjacent house would have incredible views,if I won the Lottery I would buy it.

Elsewhere in the Marina there were many Crested Terns resting up on the boom along with Pied Cormorant, Silver Gulls and Pacific Gull. This boy is a big Gull and boasts the biggest beak I have seen on a Gull, would imagine very powerful and packing a good punch.

Welcome Swallow

Crested Tern

Crested Terns mainly

Pacific Gull - impressive

Pied Cormorant

A great place.

Monday 12 November 2018

Lake Macdonald - Timbeerwah, Queensland

This was quite a large lake which had a small hide for Bird Watching, the information board boasted 150 species, it looked really good so Luke had kindly dropped me down there early a.m for 3 hours.

Lots to see straight away with a pair of Kookaburras terrorising the local Myna’s, they really don’t like them and mobbed them constantly, suspect the bigger Kookaburras would be a threat to eggs and young of a lot of birds.

From the off I also had Whiskered and Caspian Terns quartering the lake, especially Whiskered, at least double figures present, lots of other birds immediately on show also like Comb Crested Jacana, Ground Cuckoo Shrike, Australian Darter, Little Pied and Little Black Cormorant, Pied Goose, Purple Swamphen along with Australian Pelican.

Little Black Cormorants follow the Pelicans around, would imagine the Pelicans are disturbing fish etc with their size and the Cormorants are mopping up.

You have to be a bit careful over here if you want to go exploring, already been warned about staying on the main trail, it’s not like the UK, Snakes and Spiders are in your head so to speak, however during the course of the holiday only saw one venomous snake, a Dugite. 

On arrival in the half light I did see something very distantly(below) on the other side of the lake, more on that later.

In semi darkness what would you think this was?

Moving on towards the hide through the trees(on the path) and it was alive with birds, Olive Backed Oriole, Willy Wagtail, Brush Wattlebird, Pied Butcherbird, Blue Faced Miner and various LBJ’s that I could not get on. 
2 Great Egrets were seen straight away along with Australasian Grebe, very similar to our Little Grebe, also a couple of Masked Lapwing in the adjoining field.

A distant Pacific Heron was then also seen along with 2 Magpie Larks, these like the Willy Wagtails seemed quite common.

This was in the hide,nice looking spider

Spent a lot of time in the hide taking photos of Whiskered Tern, it’s not often you get to see one of these closely unless I go to Spain. 

Time was marching on so I retraced my steps, there was a lot more out there in the Woodland, could hear loads of different calls, bit frustrating could not go off piste rummaging around but given the density of the undergrowth and what might be in it, decided not to.

Summing up, the thing that I saw distantly in the half light referred to earlier, at the time I thought Bloody Hell it’s a Croc, as the light grew got a clearer image and it turned out to be a dead tree, quite amusing and shows what an active imagination does for you. 

My 'Croc' a dead tree

Wednesday 7 November 2018

Australia, Queensland - Noosa and North Shore

Noosa was a great place which is is a bit of a tourist hotspot, it had everything, fantastic Restaurants, an adjoining river and a park at the end all surrounded by stunning beaches.

We visited a few times being relatively close to Lukes place, on one occasion Chris went shopping whilst I visited the point. To cut a long story short I recorded White Bellied Sea Eagle here sparring with an Osprey and a Brahminy Kite, got some great photos and then bloody deleted the lot by mistake. Senior moment and signs of approaching senility, one day I will learn to back it up.

However I did get to visit other areas of Noosa, the National Park leading to the North Shore being one, to access this spectacular coastline you drive through the wilderness accessing the beach with the other 4x4’s.Its pretty rough and bumpy, we were in a G Wagon, must admit a couple of times I thought my spine was coming up through my mouth.

Lots to see along there though including an Osprey nest with both adults present, Rainbow Bee Eaters were numerous and Brahminy Kite were seen en route along with Forest Kingfisher, Kookaburra, Yellow Spotted Honeyeater, Noisy Friarbird and Wood/Maned Duck.

Yellow Spotted Honeyeater

Wood Duck
Forest Kingfisher

Immature Brahminy Kite I think

Welcome Swallow

Also seen were Gull Billed Terns and a wader which I think is Oriental Plover based on leg length, bill and structure, happy to be corrected though. The only other one I thought that might fit would be Large (Greater) Sand Plover. 
Also got my 1st good views of a Kangaroo, nice looking animal and quite used to people.

Rainbow Bee eaters

Oriental Plover hopefully

On another occasion we caught the Ferry from Noosa and headed up the river, naturally took the camera and recorded a few birds en route. 

Australian Pelican figured all the way along, some very tame and for such a big bird landing on the most ridiculous places, a lamppost being one which actually bent with the weight!

Water birds obviously figured highly and also recorded Black Winged Stilt, Whimbrel, Lesser Golden Plover and many Silver Gulls.

Also caught up with all the Cormorants featuring Little Pied, Little Black, Great and Pied Cormorants, many of the Little Blacks were following the Pelicans around.
Brahminy Kite

Australian Pelican - lamp post was bending under the weight

To round it off we had a ridiculously tame/close Great Egret whilst having a drink, their counterparts 
are certainly not this approachable in the UK