140924-140926 Brisbane to Arlanda

Queensland, Australia 2014-09-05--09-25

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© NF Photos 140925

After spending many hours on the airport in Brisbane we finally took off at 00.55h. The last thing I saw of Australia was the bridge. On the plane they began to serve dinner after about an h flight. Dinner??? In the middle of the night? I only ordered coffee and juice and some peanuts. But my companion thought it was a great idéa with dinner. After that we could go to sleep if we wanted as the light was put out. Everything went well and we landed in Hong Kong about 7.45.

We did not have much time there as the next flight to London was scheduled to 9,15.
That was a long flight but there was not much to see. We travelled north of the Himalyas and there was much clouds.
In London there was trouble with the gates. First you have to go with bus for 20 min before you get to the right terminal. No5. Then we could not go to GATE as there was some trouble there. We were half an hour late before we were assigned a GATE.
So, we was late at Arlanda. But for me that did not really matter as I had to wait for the morning bus. We arrived at terminal 2 and I walked over to Terminal 5 as I am more used to. I walked through a corridor I never visited before. It was all red.  Quite cool actually.
 At terminal 5 I took a nap on a sofa. In the morning I went to the money exchange office and changed back the AUS money to Swedish kronor.
Then I took the bus and then the train and was home around 11 in the morning. And then, after a cup of coffee and a sandwich I lay myself on the bed and got to sleep.

Weekend Reflection

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140923 Queensland, Canungra to Brisbane and the Airport

Queensland, Australia 2014-09-05--09-25
140923 day 19 Tuesday

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© NF Photos 140923

After packing my bags for travelling back home I had my breakfast in the room. I needed help again to bring my luggae down the stairs. It is rather heavy with spotting scope, spare cameras , books and everything else. 

We left the motel at 07.00h to go to Brisbane. We came right in morning traffic and was rerouted to smaller roads as there were some troubles ahead of us.  But our guide was used to this so we ended up at Port of Brisbane. A bit later then planned but still. We made a stop at the office in charge of the hide in  Port of Brisbane wader roost pond to get a key and went there. The place seem to be known as Lytton Roost as well.

It was a great place for waders, ibises and ducks. I finally could see the Red-necked Avocets I´d been waiting for. There were lots of different birds in this pond. More then I would have thought. It was fun. We could walk all around it and get good views of the birds. Both the small ones and the larger ones. They will all be in my Aus  birdblog when time comes.
 After that we drove to a wetland that was rather dry actually. It was located at "Hamilton Pine Rivers Wheelers cycling club" and we had to watch for bikers all the time. There was an asphalted track for the bikers and small ponds and streams here and there. The area obviously is flooded every now and then as there are poles marking the depth of water level.

Now our Swedish tour leader started to get a bit stressed as the group were about to split up. We found a restaurant in town were we had our last lunch and then they drove us to the airport. We were four that would leave, two for Sweden, two for Melbourne and the rest of the group continued inland for additional days. This was not fun. The two of us going to Sweden was left at the airport at 14.30h and our flight would not go until after midnight :(  Almost 10 h at the airport and you were not even sleepy. But time passes and we got airborn on schedule. When we went to Australia we had three very short  days now we had one very long day to take us home.                                                                                        Brisborn from the airport

Below, the last thing I saw of Australia was the bridge in Brisbane, just after takeoff.

Sky Watch Friday
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140922 Queensland, Lamington NP

Queensland, Australia 2014-09-05--09-25
140922 day 18 Monday
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© NF Photos 140922
The whole day at Lamington NP
We all had breakfasts in our rooms as there was no restautrant. Then we met at 6,00h to go to Lamington as we wanted to be there early. To see and hear birds before the place got crowded. This is a popular place with restaurant, shops and whatever you want from a place like this.

After about 10 km drive the ascent started. We should go up to about 1000m altitude on "alpine roads". Narrow and curvy. It took some time to get to the park.  We had one short stop on the road to watch some doves. And first car had a Lyrebird running over the road in front of them.
Image view over the mountain view from the car.

We spent the morning walking in the rain forest. And raining it was. First really rainy day on this trip. But we were prepared for it.  I guess I´m starting to get bored at rain forests. Not much to see despite all vegetation. After an hour or so it started to come lots of hikers walking and talking scaring all birds away. :(. Well, not all, the Logrunners did not seem to mind. That´s a small bird working the forest floor in search for food. And busy they were.
We gathered for lunch at a camping table with roof above as it was still raining. While we was eating a lot of Regent Bowerbirds came and started to steal our food. We were almost attacked by them and had to fight them off. And a Brush turkey tried to steal an entire plastic bag full of food.
We spent another hour in the forest area and some time at the feeder they have where kids and adults can handle some parrots.
A little kangaroo was feeding on the lawn not bothered by any humans.
Then we had some coffee and went shopping in the store before we went back to Canungra. Arriving  there I took a walk to look at the place. They had a wonderful little park with trees in full bloom as they has springtime in September. Not fall as we have.

Dinner at the same restaurant as yesterday and then shower and packing for the last trip tomorrow.

Saturday Critters Camera Critters

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140921 Queensland, Ballina to Canugra

Queensland, Australia 2014-09-05--09-25
140921 day 17, Sunday

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© NF Photos 140921

We met at 6.30 ready to depart from the motel Avlon Gardens.  But before we left the guide took us across the street to watch the flying foxes we had seen last night. One by one they were flying in to some trees in a park to spend the day sleeping hanging in the trees. There were 2 different species and they were much bigger then I had imagined. It was fun watching them. In this image I could count 11 of them. There was also a third species sleeping in the park. A man, probably homeless, was sleeping under a tree. The only one I have seen since I came to Q.
After that we drove to Lennox Head. New South Wales, a great place for surfers and caravan people. But that was not where we were going. We drew by the caravan park and stopped at an area with burned land. That´s the place we should investigate. The birds was great in the area but it was hard to walk as the burned vegetation was hard and pointy. And after a while we realised we were black from soot all of us. Among the birds were fairywrens, cockatoo and honeyeaters. There was also some exiting plants like the grass tree. Some of the vegetation is depending of being burnt more or less regularly. Interesting place even if we got dirty. After we noticed we got dirty we went out to a "road" that was easier to walk. And cool to see the unexpected color of the soil.

We took a quick look at the beach too.
Now it was getting rather late and we had no breakfast yet so we went back to Ballina to have some breakfast at a café. Today I had pancakes for breakfast for the first time in my life. With blue berries, icecream and syrup. It was ok as we already been up for several hours. And it was good too! And....it is good to have a guide with you. He knows where the public toilets are :)

Now we went south over Richmond River to visit Broadwater NP. Here are more moorlands and forests. But we could not go in to the moores as it had been raining earlier and the area was flooded. So we went to the forest instead. Only a few birds bot lot of cool vegetation. And a nice walk. I was certainly attracted to this tree and it´s "decoration". We were looking for koalas here but did not see any.

That took a while and at lunchtime we went back to Ballina and had lunch close to the harbour. As I was still full from that breakfast I only bought myself a Makadamia ice cream and I went to the water looking for seabirds on shore and surfers and boats on the water. And watching city life. And a gull taking advantage of human facilities. Drinking from the lover part of the water fountain. When the others were done they came to. For a little while before we headed up north after doing some shopping in a supermarket. No restaurant for breakfast at next nights motel.

We visited a few of the beaches north of Ballina and was lucky there was low tide. At the first stop we had a beautiful Eastern Rosella posing nicely in front of us.
Next was Flat Rock lookput with a lot of locks all over the safety fences :)
At 15.00h we started the trip to Canugra and reached the motel at 18.00. We made one stop during the trip. We walked along the road in a forest where I found thís beautiful tree. Broken Head NR
At the motell I was given room no 6 on the second floor without an elevator. But I got help bringing the suitcase upstairs. This is the last motel and we will stay here two nights. We had dinner at a nearby restaurant and we also went through the bird list after the dinner. Some people decided they would leave the cloths to a cleaning facility that was open but I decided I will keep the dirty trousers as a memory from the trip. And I still have them.

Then the usual shower and clean up the  shirt I was wearing during the day.
Uploaded the images and then took a cup of coffee before going to sleep.
Spent the night at Canungra Motel, Lamington NP Canungra

Eastern Rosella at Ballina

 Linking uo with Our World Tuesday    WATW 
Good Fences 46 There are two fences in these inmages, Both on the beaches. Image 4 and 9

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140920 Queensland, Stanthorpe to Ballina

Queensland, Australia 2014-09-05--09-25
140920 dag 16 Saturday
© NF Photos 140920
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Today we are leaving for Ballina at the coast. I have been looking for the Crested pigeon for a long time now. So, this morning I got up early, at 6.00h, before breakfast to see if I could find one. They like cities and we are in a small one. I did find two, but sitting on wires. Having them from below is not that fun. From a photos point of view. On this image there are a Magpie lark and Crested pigeon. The Magpie Lark seem to have something to say.  
After breakfast, at 7.30 we left for visiting Border Range NP. We did get some highlights on the road. Like a King Parrot looking for food on the road. A quick brake let us study him quite well.  But the other birds, miners I think, did not seem to like him much.
We continued to the south part of the park.  

Border Range was nice and the drivers let us off att the highest point. Letting us walk down the slope to the Border Loop Lookout,  listening to the Bell miners. Hearing them was easy. Seeing them much harder not to mention getting a shot. I loved it. Loved the sound ringing all over the forest. When I came home I banned myself for not taking a video. But youtube is a great place to find things like that. I really recommend that you listen to it. Video is at the bottom or the post.
There was some great views from the lookout at the lowest point. An interesting railway circling a mountaintop for one. We made a few short stops along the road as we headed the south route towards the coast and then stopped for lunch in Kyogle. And sharing our lunch with....a House sparrow. It finally turned up! I think I have seen it on every trip I have made across the world.
The image shows the main street in Kyogle, without the sparrow :)

 We continued to the wetlands outside Casino. This place was fun. Beautiful wetland with lots of birds. Dusky Moorhen, ducks, egrets, stilts and  Glossy Ibis. Finally! I have seen them in several countries but never up close. Now I got decent images of them. :)

 After the wetlands we were rather close to Ballina and next nights stay. We had time to visit Flat Rock Beach. A wow place. People fishing, surfing, birding or just strolling. Enjoying their world.

At the motel, Avlon Gardens,  we went through the birdlist in one of the rooms. There was no other place available, We did see a lot of flying foxes when we were outside. But to dark for shots. We had dinner at a nearby club for war veterans. They had really great food.  
There was a coffee machine in the room so I finished the day with a shower, a cup of coffee and a whisky! Tomorrow new adventures await!

Flat Rock Beach

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140919 Queensland Girraween NP, Stanthorpe

Queensland, Australia 2014-09-05--09-25
140919 day 15 Friday
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© NF Photos 140919

Linking up with: Shadow Shot Sunday ( first two images)

Breakfast at 6.30 and then we picked up Glenn. We drove to Girraween NP and spent the most part of the morning there. The park is known for it´s large rock boulders. We saw some of them from the car and during the first part of our walk. In Sweden we say rocks like that are thrown out by a giant in ancient times. This part of the park is mostly dry eucalyptus forest. We saw some birds, lots of rocks and we tried to find a Superb Lyrebird but only saw traces of it.
 The rock on this image I thought of as being an elephant. Seen from behind.

And then our guide was taking a rest while we were looking for birds.
We continued to a wetland. And I was unlucky, I got stuck on a root,  stumbled, ans fell to the ground. Nothing broken or was hurt. Except for my pride of course.  Never happened before. Well, this turned out to be a great little pond with nice waders and other waterfowls. Red-kneed Dotterel  was among them.

We had lunch in a small village, probably Stanthorpe, and we found the library where we could use the toilet. On their lawn was a sign " CAUTION Magpies Active in this area". Had to ask our guide about that. He said that when the magpies are in breeding season they  become quite hostile so people had to be aware of that. The rest of the day we visited different places here and there. I have no idea of where on the map we were.

We were passing a lot of plantations which I think was apple trees. Covered with nets. Probably protection against too many birds. We also made a stop at a mast for phone. That´s where I heard bellfirds the first time.

At the very end of the day se spotted a bird in the setting sun. It was a Australian King-Parrot. More red then ever in the light of the setting sun. Well worthy of being a christmas tree decoration. 
When we was gathering for dinner I stumbled again and fell in the diningroom. Now I was worried. Not good. I did not feel dizzy or anything but remebered the foot being stuck. So I took a look at the shoes. Yea, it was broken. A piece of it was loose and that was the reason why my foot was stuck at something and made me fall.  Next day I changed to another pair and I was good again.
After dinner we went through the bird list in the Motels reception as the diningroom was all occupied with other guests.
I was tired and fell asleep with the computer in my knee. No shower that evening :)

One of the boulders in Girraween NP

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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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