Wednesday, 28 December 2016

My first Ozzie Christmas!

We all returned to Toni's & Johnny's house on 18th December to find we had been evicted in our absence! Just joking, Toni had arranged that we house & dog sit for a friend of hers, just down the road at Brunswick Heads. This is a pleasant spot & we duly obliged. 

Our very own home from home!

Socks, the reason we were there!

Spent a couple of days glued to the computer, trying to get my blog up to date & then it was shopping for Christmas!

Lunch, in between the shopping!

Had a lovely evening on 23rd December at the Bryon on Bryon Hotel (where Rowan currently works). Met up with Rosie & Geoff (the other grandparents) & enjoyed the local choir singing Christmas Carols. It was a great evening.

The area where I am staying.

My driver & transport for the day!

The countryside on the way.
Mount Warning in the distance.

There was no Whiskey & no creek!
Pretty poor really!

On the way to Uki.

The hotel in Uki.

The funky store in the village!

Johnny & I went for a bit of hiking in the Mount Jerusalem National Park early on 24th December. Then we all moved back into the South Golden Beach house for the Christmas period, taking the extra dog with us!
The maestro in action!
He spent three years travelling around
 Oz with his parents in a van.
This is how they got petrol money!

Teaching Jackson.

It is Australia after all!

The beach at Christmas!

My best side!
Photo courtesy of Rowan James

Jackson upon finding a puffer fish.

It is Christmas morning! I now this to be true, because two little boys are shouting this into my ears, despite it being dark outside! Showered & dressed then it is the annual ritual of opening presents by the tree. The boys were happy! Had quite a long walk along the beach. It was grey & overcast, but the sky was interesting. Plenty of people about & it was a nice couple of hours.

Rosie, getting into the
 swing of things!


Photo courtesy of Toni Gunn
Where is my hat)?

Jackson with his 
Harry Potter wand!
Photo courtesy of Rowan James

Ceggy, Rowan & Johnny.

On my return Rosie & Geoff had arrived, bringing yet more presents with them. Toni was in charge of the kitchen & prepared a lovely Christmas dinner, with a few little helping hands of course! Thanks Toni!

The Brunswick River

Davide & Jackson

Their chosen mode of transport
 for the walk!

When I returned to the ranch Johnny & Sky
 were fitting out Sky's new truck.

Toni had an amused air,
 looking on from afar!

Boxing Day is a day of activity after the indolence of the previous day! So I took Jackson & his friend Davide (Italian spelling) for a walk from South Golden Beach to Brunswick Heads, a distance of 7 kms each way. It was a nice walk, but a little long for the boys on the return journey, so they swam in Mitchell Creek on the way back, to give them a bit of a rest!

Tallow Creek

Brahminy Kite

Little Egret

The sewage works is nearby, which hosts
 a few water birds.

Little Black Shag

Dusky Moorhen

White-throated Needletail.

All the birds were in heavy moult.

The highlight of the day for me seeing these 
long distance migrants here.

Rainbow Bee-eater

Just behind the beach is some nice
 rainforest habitat.

Water Dragon

Noisy Friarbird

Welcome Swallow

Eastern Yellow Robin

Striated Thornbill

Common in the rain-forest habitat
 close to the beach.

Lewin's Honeyeater

Pied Currawong

On 27th December I went into Byron with Rowan early as she went to work. She dropped me off & I explored the nearby rain forest & Arakwal National Park. It was very hot & hard work but the birding was quite good.

Best birds were:

Australian Brush Turkey; Black Swan; Australian Wood Duck; Hardhead; Pacific Black Duck; Austrlian Pelican; Little Black Cormorant; Little Pied Cormorant; White-faced Heron; Little Egret; Australian White Ibis; Brahminy Kite; Australian Hobby; Dusky Moorhen; Purple Swamphen; Spur-winged Lapwing; Great crested Tern; Wonga Pigeon; Crested Pigeon; Little Corella; Galah; Rainbow Lorikeet; Australian King Parrot; 50+ White-throated Needletail; Sacred Kingfisher; Rainbow Bee-eater; Laughing Kookaburra; Variegated Fairy -Wren; White-browed Scrub-wren; Striated Thornbill; Red Wattlebird; Noisy Friarbird; Blue-faced Honeyeater; Noisy Miner; Lewin's Honeyeater; Brown Honeyeater; Eastern Yellow Robin; Eastern Whipbird; Spangled Drongo; Magpie-Lark; Willie Wagtail; Black-faced Cuckooshrike; Figbird; Masked Woodswallow; Pied Butcherbird; Australian Magpie; Pied Cuurawong; Torresian Crow; Welcome Swallow; Silvereye & Red-browed Finch.

Moved back to South Golden beach on 28th December. Took the dogs for a walk on the beach & an adult White-bellied Sea-Eagle flew over!

Part of the Optus Trail

Cane Toad
This introduced species is spreading ever
 further south, with disastrous consequences.

Sulphur-crested Cockatoo

Brown Cuckoo Dove

Variegated Fairy-Wren

The female/young birds are not quite as fancy!

Early on 29th December Johnny & I enjoyed a hike along the Optus Trail.  It wasn't really a birding outing, but saw a  young White bellied Sea Eagle, a couple of Pacific Baza; Brown Cuckoo Dove; Emerald Dove; Dollarbird & Cicadabird.

Dawn, looking over Byron Bay.

Looking south over Tallow Beach

The famous lighthouse.

There is a great network of tracks 
around the headland.

The eastern most headland in Australia!

30th December Rowan took me in to Byron at dawn. I walked the headland track (which was quite spectacular) & then headed towards Tallow Beach & walked down to Suffolk Park. It was an incredibly hot day & I did more hiking than birding, but did see Eastern Osprey & Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo.

The very last day of the year & I went birding in the morning in the Billinudgal Nature Reserve. I covered both the Central & Optus Trails. It was incredibly hot & little was moving but the highlight was a Grey Goshawk. Always a great bird to see!

Grey Goshawk

White morph.

Ceggy, Rowan & I

Myself & Johnny.


Part of the group.
Photo courtesy of Toni Gunn.

We all ended the year with going to a friend's house for a party, which was great! Arriving back home late & tired!

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