140918 Queensland Cairns-Brisbane-Stanthorpe

Queensland, Australia 2014-09-05--09-25
140918 day 14 Thursday
© NF Photos 140918
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We were picked up at 4.00 for transfer to the airport. The plane for Brisbane was due at 5.30 and landed in Brisbane at 7.30. I had a window seat on the right side overlooking the ocean.  And had the opportunity to enjoy a really gorgeous sunrise. See image at the bottom of  the post.
Our new local guide was waiting for us. The first thing to do was to get two new rented cars. When that was done we was finally on our way. We were now rather hungry. Even me as what was offered on the plane was not much. But we had to get out of Brisbane before we stopped for breakfast.

But,oops, what was in that juice on the plane?  Is it supposed to look like that?
OK, it is now obvious that we are in a much more civilized area. Did not see anything like this in the north.

We are now heading south to Stanthorpe where we will be for two days. That is where our new guide/s are living. A distance of about 200km.
We made a few stops for breakfast, lunch and birding. We found a lot of ducks in the pond to the left but I think there was even more fences. They were all over the place.

This is not a cloud, it is smoke from a fire. It turned out to be a common sight in this area of Queensland.  
After settled in HighStreet Motor Inn, Stanthorpe, and making it quick, we headed out to pick up Glenn. He was the one who should have been our guide for the entire tour but he got sick so it changed the plans. But as this was his home territory he wanted to share it with us. He had made huge plans for us but as we were late it became stressful. Still we were out in different locations until it darkened. We drove Glenn home and went to the Motell for dinner and todays bird list.

 It´s been another long day and it was nice to close the door to be on my own.  Took a shower and uploaded the images as usual. Then bedtime.

Sunrise between Cairns and Brisbane

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140917 Queensland, Coral Reef day

Queensland, Australia 2014-09-05--09-25
140917, day 13 Wednesday
© NF Photos 140917
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Woke up early for breakfast 6.30 and then, at 7, we took a taxi to the harbour and  Seastar Cruises . Bringing bathing suit, towel, sunscreen and whatever would be needed during the day. As we were rather early we had to wait at the harbour before entring the catamaran.
At 8 we left the harbour to go the 40 km trip to MICHAELMAS CAY. It was a smooth trip with almost no waves.
As we are birders they drove our group into the little island so we could check out the birds before we started to scubadive. That little island is a heaven for seabirds. And a sanctuary. We were only allowed to be an a rather small area and the birds on the rest. Some of the birds we encountered: Great Frigatebird , Lesser Frigatebird, Brown Booby, Brown Noody and Sooty Tern.
That was fun.

A pair of Brown Boobis among lots of other birds. So close you have hard to see which one is which. The pair seemed to be in courtship. (?)
Being very nice to each other. Many other of the birds seemed to have nesting instincts going on as well.  Fetching nesting materials, in this case mainly seaweed from what I could see.

After a little more then an hour we were picked up to go to the boat to start diving. That is fun. I choose to swim without safety vest today. It is not really needed as the water is lifting you up. As long as you are careful.

I had my little waterproof camera tied to my wrist so I had fun swimming around trying to see nice things to take shots of. Well, hey, it´s me. Can´t be without the camera. A friend took the image with my other camera back on the boat. The big one is not waterproof. :)

Then somebody came and told me it was time for lunch.  Lunch? Do I have to?

Afterwords I was regretting going up to eat. When I went down to scuba dive  the second time I got cramps in my right calf after only 10 min. And then I could have had use of a safety vest. But I had to go up then. Can´t swim with cramps.

Later on it was time for a tour with the Glassbottom boat at the HASTINGS REEF. Not far away. That was a bit dissapointing. Not much to see really.


Around 3 clock we started the tour back to the harbour and Cairns.

We started to walk back to the hotel passing the park to look for the owl. And now we found it, the Rufous Owl, sitting high up in a tree. It was quite fun as people were stopping wondering what we were looking at. We told them and I also showed my images to some kids so they could find the owl in the tree. Knowing what to search for.

 Later on I was once again stopped at the Esplanade. People were curious about us as we spoke a different language and thought Pelicans are cool birds. :)

There was plenty of time to enjoy the Esplanade, the people and different features along the Espanade. And of course the birds. I also found a skateborad park and it was fun to compare it with the new one in my town. There are some artwork along the Esplanade as well. Loved to check it out.

We finished of the day by going to a restaurant to eat. And then an early night as we are leaving for the airport at 04.00 to go to Brisbane.

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140916 Queensland Lotus bird Lodge to Cairns

Queensland, Australia 2014-09-05--09-25
140916 day 12 Tuesday
© NF Photos 140916
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We had an early cup of coffee at 6.00h.  Then we had a walk the path around the Lagoon while the sun was rising. A very nice walk indeed. Wandering Whistling-Duck in the Lagoon, to the right.

After breakfast, at 8.00, we started our trip back to Cairns. A, roughly, 450 km trip. What was significant today was all roadworks and dust. When we went up north it was weekend and no roadwork. So, a huge difference. Our first stop was in Musgrave to fuel the cars.
And, what is it about litter and rubbish bins???? Really!
We continued south and made a few stops to streach our legs.

This fence and gate makes me wonder how often this gate is used. The tree is growing right throw it.

Seem to be popular to be out walking

This image kind of have it all for todays trip. Roadwork , dust, sunshine . And take a look at the tractors front wheels. I´m not sure I would trust it much. We actually past this place almost driving in the forest to the left. (See explanation in Micks comment below in the comment forms. )

It is hard work today. Lunch in the van is needed. Provided of our hostess in Lotus Bird Lodge.

Later in the afternoon we took a break at a bar. Roadside bar? Was easier to get a drink then having a cup of coffee. And no icecream :(
And, well, can´t help but wonder what happened to this guy.

 Back in Cairns I took a quick walk on the Esplanade before dinner and bed.
Night in Acacia Court Hotel, Cairns.

 Lotus Bird Lodge Lagoon in morning backlight

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140915 Queensland Lakefield NP and Lotus Bird Lodge

Queensland, Australia 2014-09-05--09-25
140915 day 11 Monday
© NF Photos 140915

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I woke up at 05.30 for breakfast at  6.00. And we left for our daytrip at 7.00. The agenda for today was mainly Lakefield NP and Nifold Plains MAP. The main goal of today was to find the rare Golden-shouldered Parrot. Acc to wiki there are only about 2000 individuals left in the wild. They live in open, forrested grassland with lots of Termite mounds they use for ensting in. An interesting bird and reading about it is a good thing. So, our first stop for the day was at a grassland with termites and eucalyptus trees. It did not take long before we found some of them. And also Galah on the forest floor. To the left.

Golden-shouldered Parrot
 Back on the road one of us with sharp eyes noted a nest in a tree. Three cars stopped. A Red Goshawk was sitting on a nest. I can´t help bur wonder what the birds think of us birders. We had to circle the tree to get a view of it´s head. This one is rare s well.  :)
We also saw some emu but I have better shots another day. And a widl boar, and today the birdguide did not dare to run it over as he did yesterday. Yesterday he tried to run over a piglet with a rented car full of Swedish tourists. Maybe I should not mention it but it pissed me off and it IS a part of the trip.  He said he did not like them as they eat birds eggs. But that is a bad excuse.
From the eucalyptus forest we headed to the Nifold Plains, a vast area of grass and antshills. There was also a small wetland and we spent some time there. Lots of  Termite mounds, cows, butterflies and birds. Loved it. There was several kinds of mounds in the area. Some sharp and pointy and others looking like fat little men. And they differed in colors too. :)

It is me on the image above so you can see the size of the mound.
Not much shades for the poor cows. So many gathering below the small trees.
It was hot so we drove back to the lodge to chill off a little. I took the opportunity to check out the Lotus Lagoon and it´s birds. There was lots of Comb-crested Jacana. They are both cool and beautiful. They must have the longest feet ever. :)
The Annie River
We also payed a visit to the Annie River. You could feel in the air  that we were close to the ocean. And we walked among the mangrove. It was also a place were people camped. A few seemed to actually live there.
Back to Lotus Bird Lodge rather late but in time for dinner. We were served a real feast. Fresh and nice seafood. Everyone exept for me and one other enjoyed it. I´m no fish person so I had steak.
After another long and dusty day it was great to go in the shower. Have to pack again as we go back south tomorrow. Back to Cairns. For another treat, the Coral Reefs. :)

Driving on very dusty roads. I did see a sign saying "STOP HERE  to drop dust before entering the city." I think that says it all. I think it was close to Musgrave Roadhouse when we went there to refuel. Below, dusty road with several warning signs for flooding. The creek approximately where the car is. The world of opposites.

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140914 Queensland Kingfisher Park to Lotus Bird Lodge

Queensland, Australia 2014-09-05--09-25
140914 day 10 Sunday

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© NF Photos 140914

Today we are going noth to the lower part of  Cape York. But before we can go we have breakfast and have to wait for the new birdguide whos estimated arrivel would be at 9 clock.  That gave us time for a short birding at Kingfisher Park. But birding?? When I came to the meadow I found a couple of guys standing looking into the tree trunk where we found a big snake yesterday. I asked them what they were looking for. The snake they said. That made me giggle. Take a look ON the tree trunk. The snake is not IN it. It is ON it. Guess if they looked stupid.
 The snake, Morelia amethistina is a non-venomous species of snake, known as the amethystine, scrub python or Sanca permata locally, acc to wiki. The snake did not seem bothered by us, it probably was warming up after a chilly night.

 The guide arrived as planned and we left Kingfisher Park with a nice lunchbox from our landlady.  We made the first stop already after a  few minutes. It was a campsite where some wrens was nesting. We did see them but they were so quick and in the trees so I did only get blue dots on my images. :) Then the long trip up north started.
After a couple of hours we came to Lakeland and made stop for coffee and refreshments. I bought myself an Icecream. And found some great birds overhead. A lot of Black Kites in the air and we also saw a few Black.-necked storks soaring. Image to the right!

This seem to be a country of big contrasts. The car at the café has a boat on. And the name of the place was Lakeland. Yet to me in, September, it was a very dry country. And we should soon see the signs of flooding and much water. But today it was dust all the way.
I was sitting in the car that the new guide was driving. And he was a speeder. He forgot to check if the other two was following. Because of that the people behind us could not see the eagle on the road. I think it was a roadkill and the eagle, a Wedge-tailed Eagle, and some black birds was picking at each other over it. There was another bird of prey too, probably a harrier, but I can´t ID that one for sure. I was sitting in the backseat but managed to get a few shots through the window.

We continued. Made some stops at creeks here and there. Some filled with a little water but not much.
Then we arrived at Musgrave and went to see if we could find the freshwater crocks they have in some small ponds.  And we saw them but only the noses, and lots of ducks and a campingsite with happy children more interested in horses then crocks and ducks. I understand them.  :)

Then we continued to Lotus Bird Lodge and arrived early enough to have time to check our "homes" for two nights and the area around it. We were warned at arrival that this IS wild country. We should walk loudly and not too close to the water in the pond. Small, deadly, snakes are there. And, yes I saw one when I walked around a bit.

I was surprised and almost felt like a queen. I have my own house with veranda and all. Great view over the pond and the location where they feed kangaroos in the evening.

We was served a nice meal and after that, went through the birdlist sitting on the veranda. When doing so another bird appeared. An owl checked us out. When I went to my house it was sitting on the path too. Then it was time to go to bed. Take a shower and look through the photos from today. They said we travelled 370 km today.

I think this image below is Kennedy Creek. You can see a little water in the pool and the dust from a passing car on the road.

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