Australia Diaries – Birding in Sydney

During the traipse round the Sydney waterfront area, I was hoping to see a lot of water birds. On that score we didn’t see a lot. We were hopeful that we could see a pelican but no luck. Of course there were lot and lot of seagull, Common Myna and sparrow but still there were some interesting sightings.

On our first day while crossing Darling Harbour, near to the Maritime Museum, we came across 4 Rainbow Lorikeet on a pillar! How cool is that! Strolling around, we saw a Little Black Cormorant and on our final walk there from the Rocks to Circular Quay, we saw a Darter and a Pied Cormorant. That was about all we managed to see in the Sydney city area. Not great but still pretty good haul considering that this is the city with nary any trees.

But at Bondi Beach coastal walk, we hit it big time. The day didn’t start off too promising. Other than the ubiquitous seagull, there wasn’t much other birds in sight.

But as we continued walking towards Coogee Beach, we came upon a Nakeen Krestrel perched nicely on a rock. Our view was blocked partially by a chain-linked fence but still it was so close that we could not have missed it anyway. What a beauty!
Further down, there were some black birds on the beach rocks. At first I thought they were raven or mynas but after checking the Australia Bird app, realized that these are Common Starlng although in my opinion, they are not so common where I come from.

We also came upon some Honeyeater. Not the more common one but this beautiful striped New Holland Honeyeater.

Then we got another beauty a Fairy Wren if I am not wrong.

Last but not least, this brown bird spotted by M. Look like a Finch to me but I may be wrong.

That wrap up the unofficial Australia Birding trip. It has been fun trying to spot and take photos of the various birds. Especially challenging was trying to spot the smaller birds in the tree canopy or in the forest. M with her sharper eyesight and Nikon P900 managed to take most of the bird photos while I was happy to play support with my D7000 and the Sigma 18-300 travel lens. It has been interesting and I look forward to our next unofficial birding trip to Nepal for more birds!

Australia Diaries – Sydney Harbour

Sydney Harbour– famous worldwide for the beautiful Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Interestingly, the way the Opera House is situated, one can see it from every directions except maybe from the bottom so we got lot of photos of it.

On the ferry to Manly

Blue hour at Circular Quay

From the Rocks

Just as impressive the old but beautiful Sydney Harbour Bridge.

We didn’t do the bridge climb. Didn’t think it was worth it. Other than these 2 iconic structure, the area surrounding the Sydney Harbour was quite normal like our Marina Promenade. We took the ferry from Circular Quay to Manly for dinner one evening and on another evening we had dinner at one of the many eateries adjoining the harbour on another. Nothing fascinating – just malls and boats and ferries. We didn’t go to the Sealife Aquarium or the Wild Life Zoo at Darling Harbour as firstly I think a zoo should not be housed within a building and it was very crowded with many tourists outside the premises. Instead we walked from Darling Harbour to Baragaroo Nature Park which is a park with a beautiful walkway next to the harbour. If only we had discover this place earlier, would definitely have come for a run here!

From there we continued walking to the Rocks I supposed this display symbolise the Rock?

There are some nice houses and buildings here with schools, museums and of course the pier but nothing that was fascinating for us.

And with this final walk in Sydney, we wrapped up our visit to beautiful Australia. We hope to be able to come back to maybe another different state, for more sightseeing and of course more birding and more running. G’day!

Australia Diaries – Bondi Beach Coastal Walk

Of course when we are in Sydney we have to go to the world famous Bondi Beach. Heard so much about it but it was a bit of a disappointment when I first set eyes on it. It wasn’t that big and it was just one big piece of sand with nary any trees. The waves was of course the star attraction for the locals who flock there to surf.

We had brunch at one of the many cafes dotting the beach (Singapore should have something like that at East Coast Park) and then proceeded to do the Bondi Beach Coastal Walk – a walk of about 7 km till Coogee Beach. Read on the web that there is a possibility of spotting migrating whale but sadly didn’t see any although we did get to see a beautiful Kestrel pretty close up.

Our walk took us through some amazing sandscape and buildings and covered many other beaches along the way:

This place at Bronte Beach where they actually have a pool next to the waves.

And more beautiful beaches

And waves against the rocks

Rounding each corner we see more of such bays. Look so beautiful yet I can imagine pretty dangerous to swim in although that didn’t seem to deter some surfing enthusiasts

Closer towards Coogee we had to walk through a cemetery. The coastal walk was closed for repairs and we walked through the Waverly Cemetery instead. First time in my life walking through such a big cemetery and marvelling at how well maintained they were despite the damages wrought by the last big storm in 2016.

Finally after almost 5 hours of walking, we reached Coogee Beach. There was a memorial there dedicated to the victims of the 2003 Bali bombing. Apparently a number of the Australian victims came from around the area here.


Australia Diaries – Birding in the Blue Mountain

Naturally where there is trees and forest, there are birds and naturally I was excited that I could see some more interesting birds other than the common Australian birds. But then again, because there are trees which comes with thick foliage, spotting the birds prove more difficult than expected. And my Sigma 18 – 300 6.3 failed big time under the trees! But still we or rather M with her P900 did get some of what I think are the not so common garden birds.

First thing we noticed was the abundance of the Sulphur Crested Cockatoo. They were everywhere and flying in waves over the Blue Mountain Valley. 

Sadly though, we didn’t manage to shoot the other type of parrots. Did saw some black cockatoos flying by but my 300 mm could only shoot this.

At the Katoomba Fall Creeks, we did see many small little birds. Not exactly sure what they are. It was quite dark there and we didn’t get a good shot of the active birds hopping from one rock to another. Some sort of Wren? 

The star catch of the first full day out at the Blue Mountain was this Lyrebird. First saw it in the forest near to Scenic World but couldn’t get a good shot as it was in the undergrowth and too dark. Then at Katoomba picnic area, right out in the open, we saw one. It was behind some construction hoarding but we managed to get off a burst before it disappeared into the bushes. Not very good shot though but still a record shot of this interesting bird.

As usual, plenty of Laughing Kookaburra, magpie and honeyeater

Also saw some ducks near one of the open ground while we were on way back to Echo Point.

The next day from Echo Point to Leura Cascade, we got a few more interesting birds including the common Crimson Rosella. Quite a number of them too.

Crimson Rosella

And M got this Red Wattlebird.

And she also got this little birdie. ID by folks at the Birds of Australia FB page as an Eastern Spinebill Honeyeater

And last but not least, a Satin Bowerbird if M’s identification is correct although I think it could be a raven

That about the more interesting birds in the Blue Mountains. Next birding in Sydney and Bondi.

Australia Diaries – Never Stop Exploring – Blue Mountains Prince Henry Cliff Walk to Leura Falls

The next day we set off from Echo Point to Leura Falls. Unlike the previous day, this was to be a full day hike which took us along the cliff of the Blue Mountains. Along the way, again beautiful view of the Blue Mountains and close up of the 3 Sisters

And we can never get enough of the Blue Mountains.

The highlight was again the many waterfalls along the way although the Bridal Veil Falls pale in comparison to those in other countries.

We eventually reached Leura at about 4 pm after stopping for a long picnic lunch and walked back from there to Katoomba to end our hiking adventure at the Blue Mountains.

Australia Diaries – Never Stop Exploring – Blue Mountains From Echo Point to Scenic World

Our first full day at the Blue Mountains and we decided to hike from Echo Point where we were staying to Scenic World.

We had ran part of the distance the previous evening, up to Katoomba Cascade and this time we continued onward to Scenic World using the Prince Henry Coastal Walk. There are many lookouts along the way and we stopped often to look out into the Jamison Valley and of course to look for birds.

There were also some steep stair climbing at the aptly named Furber Steps and the Giant Staircase.

We also got to walk practically on the cliff edge for quite a fair bit of the way

It wasn’t as far as we expected though. At Scenic World, we didn’t ride the cable car or the railway but walked around the trails looking at the display of the old coal mines and taking more photos before we made our way back to Echo Point.

The highlight of this trek I guess was the Katoomba Falls and the Katoomba Cascade. 

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