Sunday, November 17, 2013

Lockyer Creek Railway Bridge, Murphy's Creek Area 17/11/13

While driving home from the Helidon outing (see previous post) we took a drive around a few roads near Murphy's Creek where we often see birds.  These are a few landscape photos that caught my eye today.  

The Lockyer Creek Railway Bridge is absolutely stunning from the Road - it's massive!  There isn't any road access from Murphy's Creek Road to photograph it closely and many trees are in the way, so this photo was taken from some distance away.  This beautiful bridge was never obviously visible from the road prior to the January 2011 floods but afterwards, many trees were obviously washed away and this beautiful railway bridge was once again on show for passers by to see & admire in the distance. 

The Lockyer Creek Railway Bridge  is on the Toowoomba to Helidon line crossing the Lockyer creek and was completed in 1911.  The Bridge is heritage listed and was featured on an Australian Postage Stamp in 2004.  

The Lockyer Creek Bridge at Guinn Park was designed by William Pagan, is on of the largest of its type in Queensland and one of Australia's first reinforced concrete arch rail bridges. The bridge, built in 1911, features three spans, each supported by two arches and appeared on a stamp that was part of series featuring landmark bridges. Another bridge on the same line with the same name is closer to Gatton and was built in 1903. (Wikipedia)

I have found an article about the 1893 & 2011 Floods and a photo of this bridge in 1915 for those who are interested in a little history you can view it here.  

J & B. 
Lockyer Creek Railway Bridge at Guinn Park (Murphy's Creek) Queensland. 17/11/13

Intermediate Egret & Cattle Egret - Murphy's Creek Area 17/11/13

Freesia Flowers in the lawn at Murphy's Creek Cemetery, 17/11/13

Freesia Flowers at the Murphy's Creek Cemetery 17/11/13

Australiasian Figbird at Lockyer Creek, Helidon 17/11/13

After another short summer storm this afternoon we went for a drive to have a look around an area that we hadn't gone birding before, that was fairly close to home.  We decided on James Norman Hedges Park on the Lockyer Creek at Helidon, just off the Warrego Highway, South East Queensland.  This area was extensively damaged in the January 2011 floods and the creek itself is still a fair bit of a mess.  New picnic tables, a gass barbeque, drinking fountains, public toilets and bitumen car-parking have been installed however and the area is popular with travellers as it is a Free over-night stay area for Caravaner's. 

According to the plaque at the site, James Norman Hedges Park is named after a Main Road's Department employee who planted many of the existing park trees from 1942-1975.  Mr Hedges maintained the park and beautification works along the Warrego highway from Toowoomba to Goodna.

The park itself is rather small and most of the creek area isn't very accessible at the moment and there is a lot of road noise and plenty of rubbish throughout the creekbeds - (our son picked up around 30 aluminium cans for his recycling project) but there were plenty of small birds to be heard (and a few to be seen) in the foliage on the creek banks.

Lockyer Creek at James Norman Hedges Park, Helidon, Queensland 17/11/13

Plaque at the James Norman Hedges Park, Lockyer Creek, Helidon. 

Male Australiasian Figbird

Lewin's Honeyeater

Weier at Lockyer Creek, Helidon

Dusky Moorhen

Orange Threadtail Damselfly

Orange Threadtail Damselfly

Flying foxes at Lockyer Creek, Helidon 17/11/13.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Sundown National Park - Spring 2013

After purchasing a camper trailer just before winter, we set off on our maiden voyage to Sundown National Park for two days to test it out and also with the hope of seeing a platypus in the wild and I had high hopes of viewing stunning wildflowers and orchids.

Sundown National Park is located on the Qld/NSW border in between Ballandean and Texas on the Severn River.  The entrance to the park only has the one sign as shown above and as there are many camping areas at the park, at first I wasn't convinced we were entering at the right gate.  It seems you are entering a private cattle property, however after a few kilometers drive though this dusty track, further signs to the National Park appear and the main park entrance is evident.

We stayed at the Broadwater Campgrounds during our stay which has many sites of different sizes suitable for caravans, camper trailers and tents.  We pre-booked site #1 right at the end of the park, thinking we were clever choosing the end spot to avoid other vehicles driving past and stirring up dust everywhere...which turned out to be a funny surprise on arriving at out booked campsite and finding that in the middle of the designated fenced site was a massive tree stump!!  What could you do but laugh!!  Fortunately our camper fitted in between the stump and the fence and it didn't cause any problems, although it was a little strange.

Our Campsite - with huge tree stump in the middle of the designated area at Broadwater Camp Grounds - Site #1. 

Along with platypus, Sundown National Park is known for an abundant array of bird species - all of which were on vacation when we visited.  The park itself was very dry and dusty woodland scrub and the Severn river was only about 60m walk from the campsite and was a wide beautiful river at the base of the mountains, surrounded by plenty of lomandra grasses and bottle brush trees and perfect for swimming and kayaking in.

End of Day overlooking the Severn River at Broadwater Camping Area, Sundown National Park, September 2013

Our camper-trailer set up (right up against the tree stump!) at Sundown National Park. 

White-winged Chough's happily wandered throughout the campsites at Broadwater Camping Site.

Brown Honeyeater feeding on the Mistletoe in a She-oak Tree beside the Severn River at Sundown NP.

During our two night stay we only did one of the bush walks which was the one to the Permanent Waterhole which was a 2km return walk.  We did this twice, once during the middle of the day and the second time at just before dawn to sit and wait for the platypus to show itself.

Information Hut at Broadwater Campgrounds, Sundown National Park

Permanent Waterhole Walk at Sundown National Park

View from the Permanent Waterhole Track

The Permanent Waterhole Track - nearing the waterhole.

Beautiful Flowering Pea's - We saw two different shrubs of this plant on the Permanent Waterhole Track walk.

Permanent Waterhole at Sundown National Park

Permanent Waterhole at Sundown National Park

Red-browed Finches at the Permanent Waterhole.
Can you see me?

This skink moved rather quickly once I spotted him in the grass above.
One of the two Orchids I noticed - this one had a flower ready to open.
Grasses in flower at Sundown NP.
The walk to the Permanent Waterhole, while hot and dry was definitely worth it, although after waiting for hours before and during dusk, perched quietly up on the high rocks on the side of the waterhole, the platypus failed to show itself to us.  We did however hear of other campers who had seen the platypus in the waterhole at 5.30am in the morning - so sun-up is obviously the better time for a sighting rather than sundown... better luck next time we hope!!

All in all the birding was rather disappointing really.  We had hopes of seeing the common Spotted Bowerbirds, red-capped robins, spiny-cheeked honeyeaters and striped honeyeaters that are known to live at Sundown.

The Bird list for the 2 1/2 days at Sundown National Park is as follows:

Eastern Rosella
Red-winged Parrot
Red-browed Finch
Brown Honeyeater
White-plumed honeyeater
Lewin's honeyeater
Noisy Friarbird
Sulphur-crested Cockatoo
Willie Wagtail
Superb Blue wren
Little Pied Cormorant
Wood Duck
Common Bronzewing
Pied Currawong
White-winged Chough
Toresian Crow
Laughing Kookaburra
Azure Kingfisher
Southern Boobook Owl
Barking Owl
Welcome Swallow
Unknown bird of prey

Common Crow
Orchard Swallowtail
Lesser Wanderer
Cabbage White

Swamp Wallaby
Red-necked wallaby
Eastern Grey Kangaroo

Eastern Water Dragon
Unknown Skink

White Plumed Honeyeater at Sundown National Park

Lichen on the rocks near the waterhole at Sundown.

White Plumed Honeyeater  & Noisy Friarbird at Sundown National Park

Kangaroo's and wallabies were always close by at Sundown National Park.

Superb Blue Wren at Sundown National Park

Wildflowers - we had missed the flowering of the lomandras and many grasses had the dead flowers still attached and we were obviously too early for other natives as I noticed many grasses and ground herbs with buds.  I did find one beautiful tiny purple wildflower/grass and a couple of other tiny flowers also growing amongst the rocks in the dry areas of the river bed.  I will add a separate post for the flower pics here.

Brendon Kayaking and trying his luck at fishing on the Severn River at Sundown National Park.

All in all, despite the lack of bird & platypus sightings, the camping experience at Sundown National Park was a good one and it was a great first run of the camper-trailer.  The park is neat and tidy and has pit toilet and donkey-shower facilities and each campsite has a small bbq plate/fireplace which was very handy.  Ample national park maps and brochures on hand and easy walking distance & easy accessibility for kayaks and swimming at the broad Severn River.  The days were warm, while the early morning were a touch cool as you would expect with Stanthorpe weather.  The ample tiger-pear prickles we could have done without!!

We are looking forward to the next camping and bush walking adventure and are pleased to be able to tick off Sundown as one we have visited in our list of South East Queensland National Parks.

J & B.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Spring Baby Birds & a Bunny in Highfields!

Just a couple of photos that I have taken over the last month, on my little point 'n' shoot camera that I keep in my handbag.

Baby Plover's "Masked Lapwings" at Highfields

Baby plovers at Highfields, three babies this year, last year the same pair of plovers had two babies which we watched daily, until their sad demise.  These ones we also watched daily and would stop on our drive by to watch these cute little ones.. until the day the council mowed this block of land - hopefully the birds moved on, but we didn't see them again after this.

Baby Wood Ducks at Kleinton
We have enjoyed thoroughly watching these nine baby wood ducks at our neighbours property over the last few weeks - last slighting there was still nine!  Fingers crossed the carpet pythons and one neighbours wandering cat stay away from these little cuties.  The parents do such a wonderful job of protecting their young - it must be hard work looking after nine feathered ones.

Baby Bunny at Highfields
I spotted this baby bunny at Highfields while driving home one day in the last two weeks. I had to stop and turn around to check I had seen correctly - sure enough a dusty grey rabbit by the roadside eating the grasses under some wild daisy bushes.  We stopped the car and the kids and i watched him for ages - very cute although I know they are a pest animal.  We saw him again in the same location the next day but haven't seen him again.  We have had many sightings of rabbits in the area over the last few years, although they aren't apparently here!!  This confirms that this spring baby is not a hare but indeed a rabbit.


Friday, August 30, 2013

Red-whiskered Bulbul in Richmond, New South Wales 29/08/13

While taking a short walk around the beautiful heritage areas of Richmond in the Blue Mountains, New South Wales, I saw quite a few Red-whiskered Bulbul's in a tree in front of an old unused church.  I luckily had my little camera with me and was quite excited to see something new, especially on a rushed trip to visit family, but disappointed when we got home to find in my bird book that these beautiful Bulbul's are an Introduced species and not a native!  They are still beautiful just the same.

Red-whiskered Bulbul at Richmond, New South Wales

These photos are from my short walk down Windsor Street in Richmond:

The Very Grand  & Heritage Home of the National Parks and Wildlife Service in Richmond, New South Wales.

The sun was beaming down on this angel on this grand grave at the St Peter's Anglican Church Cemetery when I took a walk though it and something about it made it very intriguing. 

Believe it or not, this is a footpath.  It is a beautiful treed path which becomes almost like a green archway and takes you  past St Peter's Anglican Church Cemetery on Windsor Street to Smith Park and Pugh's Lagoon Reserve.

Treed footpath walkway to Smith's Reserve, Windsor Street, Richmond NSW

And last but not least, these photos are from the garden of Nana Gray.  It made me feel very sad to see them flowering so beautifully and she no longer being here to enjoy them.  I watered them for her just before we left to return home.

Nana Gray's Orchid's

Nana Gray's Bromeliad's 


Sunday, August 25, 2013

North Richmond, Blue Mountains, August 2013

We visited North Richmond for two days at the end of August and stayed again at the 
Thompson family property.  I took these few photos early one morning on my point and shoot camera. The trees were full of birds as usual and up to four species of small birds could be seen in one tree at a time.  The weather was warm during the day and where near as cold as our usual winter visits to the Blue Mountains.  J.G.

Birds List from Early Morning Walk around the Thompson family property:

Superb Blue Wren
Double-barred Finch
Red Wattlebird 
Rainbow Lorikeets
Purple Swamp Hen
Eastern Rosella

Pop's Flowering Fruit Trees

Early Morning Hot-air balloon above the trees.

Beautiful early morning views of Pops Farm.