Wednesday, 29 July 2015

King Parrots and Crimson Rosellas - Reconnect with Nature

{reconnect with nature}

A community of like minded people who see the value in understanding and appreciating the natural world.  Each week we step outside, find some nature, photograph it and learn something about it to share with others.  Just a few sentences about the tree you’ve photographed, or the bird you've seen, or how you’re noticing the seasons change is all you need and together we'll reconnect with nature, one photograph at time. 
 Read more about the Reconnect with Nature - one photograph at a time idea here.

 
Mountain parrots - feeding King Parrots and Crimson Rosellas at Queen Mary Falls  
 
One of the highlights of our first stop on our recent road trip, was the chance to get up close and personal with the local birds.  At the Queen Mary Falls Caravan Park they offer tourists seed to feed to the birds.  It quickly became obvious that this is a very popular pastime, as the birds were very used to humans and quick to approach us in hope of food.    


Male King Parrot

Who's a pretty boy? A male King Parrot (identified by his striking red head) greets us as we cross the road to the kiosk.
I have mixed feelings about feeding wild birds.  It can result in a number of problems, but l've got to admit this was a lot of fun.

Feeding King Parrots and Crimson Rosella

There were only two species present, both Australian native parrots that are common in the wet mountain forests found along the Great Dividing Range.  In the photo above Dan has both species on him, the King Parrot and Crimson Rosella.  On his shoulder is a female King Parrot which can be identified by her solid green head.  On his right hand feeding is a sub-adult male King Parrot - you can see his characteristic bright red head is just coming through in patches.  And on Dan's left hand is a Crimson Rosella. 


Female King Parrot
A female King Parrot stops by to say hello and left a calling card in my hair afterwards, much to Bella's enjoyment!
Australia is known for its rich diversity of parrots, and is home to just under a quarter of the world's species.  In total 56 different parrot species are found in Australia, and only five of these are found elsewhere in the world.  In Australia parrots have adapted to a wide range of habitats and can be found in the tropical rainforest of Far North Queensland, to the arid, open deserts of Central Australia and even in the cold, mountainous areas of Tasmania. 

King Parrots and Crimson Rosellas feeding
 
Normally these birds fly past so quickly, darting in and out of the treetops or sometimes we might see a Crimson Rosella on the side of the road whilst driving over the Range.  I loved the chance to see them up so close, and they kept us amused for a long time.   

King Parrot

Back at the campsite we tipped out the rest of our seed, and l set my camera down on the ground to capture they action.  Soon after someone came over to investigate.

Crimson Rosella and King Parrot
 
With a friend he got closer and closer.
 
King Parrot
 
Until he could almost touch the camera!   


 
Such beautiful birds and a great way to Reconnect with Nature.
 
Hope you've all had a chance to get outside this week and reconnect with nature.  Looking forward to seeing all your photographs.

Note to readers participating in the link up.

Please use the following points as a guide:
  • Share with us something you've noticed in nature. 
  • Only share one post per week, and link to that post rather than your general blog address.
  • If you can, please include something about your find that allows us all to learn more about the world around us. Just a few sentences about the tree you’ve photographed, or the bird you've seen, or how you’re noticing the seasons change is all you need.
  • Visit as many links as you can, amazing things are shared every week.  
  • And finally, please include a link back to Living a Good North Coast Life in your post

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Carnarvon Gorge, Queensland – 2015 Road Trip, Day Five

Whilst on the road l kept a daily journal, where l used a number of different approaches to record our trip.  I've found that together with our photographs, it makes a great record of our adventure. For the next couple of weeks I'll share how our trip through south-western Queensland unfolded. I hope you enjoy tagging along with our journey.  


Friday, 26th June 2015
Roma - Injune - Carnarvon Gorge National Park

Road Trip Map
The details.
Carnarvon Gorge is one of Australia's iconic natural features.  Located around 700km north west of Brisbane, it is one of Queensland's most well loved destinations.  The Gorge is an amazing oasis in an otherwise, semi-arid landscape, carved from sandstone by water and time.  A walking track takes you up the Gorge which is about 30km long, with a number of side trips available to explore side gorges and canyons.  It is a rich and spiritual place, full of diverse plants and animals and evidence of Aboriginal habitation.
There are a number of accommodation options at Carnarvon Gorge. We chose to stay at the camping ground within the National Park.  This camping area is only open during the school holidays, and not through Summer.  You will need to book ahead, especially for the caravan and camping trailer spots, but it is worth it.  The camping ground is well equipped, even with hot showers, and is by far the cheapest and best option if you prefer not to camp in a caravan park.    


First impressions of Carnarvon Gorge

It's very much an oasis, nestled in otherwise arid grazing country.


Carnarvon Creek


Those cliff faces are awe inspiring, towering high above, with striking pale sandstone faces.


The palms and cycads remind me of the Top End.

 
Palms at Carnarvon Gorge

 
Excited to learn that Aboriginal people have described Carnarvon as a place of learning - an area of great spirituality. 

Rock art at Carnarvon Gorge

The sound of the hundreds, probably thousands of birds that live along the creek and up the gorge make this constant chattering sound in the background.

Carnarvon Creek

Camping within the National Park was a great decision.  It's cheaper and the grey nomads are gone! 
 
Carnarvon Gorge National Park camping ground
 
We've got lovely neighbours either side and Bella has already made some friends.
 
Children playing at Carnarvon Gorge
 

Monday, 27 July 2015

Roma, Queensland – 2015 Road Trip, Day Four

Whilst on the road l kept a daily journal, where l use a number of different approaches to record our trip.  I've found that together with our photographs, it makes a great record of our adventure.


Thursday, 25th June 2015
Crows Nest National Park - Toowoomba - Dalby - Chinchilla - Miles - Roma

Road Trip Map
The details.
Roma is a regional country town, about 500km west of Brisbane.  For us Roma was a pit stop before heading north to Carnarvon National Park for five nights.  It has all the modern facilities and conveniences you need, and is a worthwhile stop in its own right.  The CBD area is dotted with historic buildings and its streets are lined with 100 year old Bottle Trees, planted in memory of the local men who served in World War 1. 


Proud that the Northern Rivers is Coal Seam Gas free

CSG free Northern Rivers

Driving west from Toowoomba we gradually saw more and more evidence of mining and Coal Seam Gas extraction.  The Surat Basin is a well known Coal Seam Gas area, and one l have heard much of at home.

Where we drove along the main highway, we only saw a few wells in the distance, and little change at all to the landscape - well apart from one water body that was signposted with warning signs. What l did notice was how an otherwise rural and agricultural landscape was quite industrialised.
 
Almost every second or third car was from a gas company, including both Origin and Santos, with their orange flashing lights on top of the cabins.  Every side road had signs for different rigs.  People in high vis clothing crawled over every little town and village.  And the demountable buildings!  These are the temporary accommodation provided to the workers on site, and we saw SO many being trucked to new destinations.  On the outskirts of Roma we saw two storage or holding areas containing thousands of them!

It was this strange mix of being out in a typical western landscape, but whilst also like being in Western Australia (where mining activities see to dominate everything). 

After just a small taste l am glad the Northern Rivers is Coal Seam Gas free and justly proud of our communities efforts.

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Portraits of my daughter - the 52 project (26/52) & (27/52)

{the 52 project}
A portrait of my daughter, once a week, every week, in 2015. 
Linking up with Jodi from Practising Simplicity.  

26/52

Portraits of my daughter

 
Our first stop on our road trip, and the start of "Bella's big adventure".  Such a privilege to visit different places and learn more about the world together.
 
27/52
 
Portraits of my daughter
 
You and Dad rock hopping.  You did so much of this on our holiday, and l think every time l commented that you two must be part mountain goat!

Saturday, 25 July 2015

Crows Nest National Park, Queensland – 2015 Road Trip, Day Three

Whilst on the road l kept a daily journal, where l use a number of different approaches to record our trip.  I've found that together with our photographs, it makes a great record of our adventure.


Wednesday, 24th June 2015
Crows Nest National Park

Road Trip Map
The details.
Crows Nest National Park is 56km north of Toowoomba and nestled in the Great Dividing Range. The park preserves a unique combination of plants and animals, that survive in the granite dominated landscape.  After good rain, water tumbles through the eucalypt forest along a series of boulder-strewn cascades before plunging 20m over Crows Nest Falls into a waterhole surrounded by steep, granite cliffs. The Park contains a great campsite and a number of bushwalks to explore the Falls area.  


A happy child

Hands down the best thing today was seeing Bella so happy.  She has had the best day ever and it has me thinking we need to do this more.
 
Crows Nest Creek cascades

Dan and Bella at one of the cascades along Crows Nest Creek.
 
She ate all her breakfast up quickly (and it was even dreaded baked beans).

She skipped ahead of us on the bushwalk and only complained about her feet a few times.

Bella on a section of the Crows Nest Creek bush walk, forging ahead.  


She has ridden her bike and scooter more today than she probably has all year.  She’s riding around and around on the concrete path surrounding the amenities block.

Happiness is a bike and a stretch of concrete.

Around and around until you create marks in the mould on the concrete path.


She’s singing to herself as she rides along

She has kept herself amused playing and drew the most beautiful picture of a Rock Wallaby in her travel scrapbook.
 
Spotted - a Brush-tailed Rock Wallaby basking in the morning sun.

 
It’s just bliss to see her so happy without a care in the world.

Friday, 24 July 2015

Crows Nest National Park, Queensland – 2015 Road Trip, Day Two

Whilst on the road l kept a daily journal, where l use a number of different approaches to record our trip.  I've found that together with our photographs, it makes a great record of our adventure.


Tuesday, 23rd June 2015
Queen Mary Falls - Killarney - Toowoomba - Crows Nest - Crows Nest National Park

Road Trip Map
The details.
Crows Nest National Park is 56km north of Toowoomba and nestled in the Great Dividing Range. The park preserves a unique combination of plants and animals, that survive in the granite dominated landscape.  After good rain, water tumbles through the eucalypt forest along a series of boulder-strewn cascades before plunging 20m over Crows Nest Falls into a waterhole surrounded by steep, granite cliffs. The Park contains a great campsite and a number of bushwalks to explore the Falls area.  


Peace and quiet

When we first arrived at Crows Nest National Park, we were surprised to see we had the entire campground to ourselves.  There were three or so National Park staff working on some new fire places, but now that they’ve left we’re alone. 

 

And oh, the peace and quiet.

Not another human to be heard, not even a car in the distance.

Just us and the birds.

Just the way we like it.

Just about the only thing that quietens my mind and allows me to relax.

Time to take a deep breath and exhale………..

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Extinct volcanoes - Reconnect with Nature

{reconnect with nature}

A community of like minded people who see the value in understanding and appreciating the natural world.  Each week we step outside, find some nature, photograph it and learn something about it to share with others.  Just a few sentences about the tree you’ve photographed, or the bird you've seen, or how you’re noticing the seasons change is all you need and together we'll reconnect with nature, one photograph at time. 
 Read more about the Reconnect with Nature - one photograph at a time idea here.

 
The land of extinct volcanoes  
 
One of the things l like most about travelling is the opportunity to learn more about our wonderful country.  It was during our previous road trip in 2012, that l first learnt about the chain of extinct volcanoes that dotted Australia's eastern seaboard.  It's thought they were created as Australia passed over a hotspot as it drifted north, creating a chain of volcanic activity from north to south.  And looking at them on a map you can see that trend from north to south. 

Map of volcano activity on the east coast of Australia

Map source – Geological sites of NSW
These extinct volcanos are very ancient, with our local Tweed Volcano thought to have last erupted close to 22 million years ago.  Since that time they have been battered and shaped by the east coast's substantial rainfall.  And really, unless someone told you that the mountain or ridgeline you were looking at was part of an old volcano, you wouldn't realize.  It was quite a shock for me to realise so many well known landmarks such as the Warrumbungles and Glasshouse Mountains were volcano related.

But that's not the end of the story.  To me, how these volcanos were formed is an important aspect, but equally it is the erosion that's since occurred .  After million of years of rainfall, locally all that is left of the Tweed Volcano is the central plug and the extensive caldera. Minyon Falls, which we visited at Easter, is located on the southern rim of the caldera.   

Our first stop on our recent road trip was to Queen Mary Falls.  Initially l thought it was part of the Tweed Volcano caldera, and was surprised to learn that there is yet another extinct volcano just to our north called the Main Range Volcano.  Erosion has all but removed the eastern side of the volcano, leaving only the western rim. 

When l looked at an aerial map it became a little clearer.  Can you make them both out?


Aerial map of the Main Range and Tweed Volacanos
Map source – Google
These eroding landscapes are quite dramatic.  They're characterised by waterfalls, cliffs, misty valleys and rainforests. Magnificent and a great example of the force of mother nature.


Queen Mary Falls
Queen Mary Falls from above

....and below.

To stand there and get a sense of what was, and what has since occurred to this landscape gave greater meaning to our visit.  Long live the act of discovery and understanding.
 
Hope you've all had a chance to get outside this week and reconnect with nature.  Looking forward to seeing all your photographs.

Note to readers participating in the link up.

Please use the following points as a guide:
  • Share with us something you've noticed in nature. 
  • Only share one post per week, and link to that post rather than your general blog address.
  • If you can, please include something about your find that allows us all to learn more about the world around us. Just a few sentences about the tree you’ve photographed, or the bird you've seen, or how you’re noticing the seasons change is all you need.
  • Visit as many links as you can, amazing things are shared every week.  
  • And finally, please include a link back to Living a Good North Coast Life in your post