Sept 12, 2000

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There are a lot of fires in this area. They have not had rain for a long time and the bush is tinder dry. Winter time (June to August) is dry and the rains come more in the summertime. Adding to this are the idiots who smoke in their vehicles and toss the butts out the window because they don't like the smell in their cars. On the news, they had a picture of a burned out car. Seems that a smoker tossed the butt out the window and into another vehicle which then caught fire and was totalled.

We were on a drive to Mt. Tamborine and came across this fire right by the side of the road. Have to wonder how it started. Up on the mountain, we had a hard time to find a place to take a picture of the forest down below because of all the trees in our way. Finally found a place to take the one on the right. The whole area is smoky because of the fires, so we took some pictures of the smoke but the actual view was obscured.

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Went for a walk in Witches Falls National Park on Mt. Tamborine. The trail was great. Nice gentle slope and some stairs down hill for 2 km. Coming back up for 2 damn km with all those stupid steps was as different matter.

The picture here looks pretty bright, but it was really quite dark in the trees for most of the walk. Once we got down to the creek that fed the falls, we started to laugh. It was just a trickle of water. We didn't expect falls like you would find in Banff, but there was just about no water at all. When we thought about it, they have a severe drought here and of course there are no glaciers to feed the stream.

Once we got to the falls, we stopped laughing. The shear rock wall dropping off into the valley was most impressive. This picture doesn't really do it justice as you don't get the feeling of depth and the height of the trees.

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We then headed south to Currumbin to spend the day in the sanctuary. Very interesting place with lots of birds and animals. Most of the birds here are not in cages, but wild and free to come and go as they please. There were pelicans, black swans, ducks, and all kinds of exotic birds. It was an incredible sight, but the pictures don't really show the view. If I had brought the telephoto lens for the camera, I would have been able to get some of those pictures.

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Koala bear on a stick.

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Jean found a friend.

There are lots of kangaroos in the area and unfortunately, we have seen about a dozen of them dead on the side of the road already. They jump out in front of traffic much like deer do in BC. Many of the vehicles have 'roo bars on the front to protect them from damage should they hit a kangaroo.

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Tree kangaroo. These guys like to climb trees to find their meals and they use their tails to balance themselves when sitting on branches. Their colours are very bright compared to the normal kangaroos which are grey and dull.

One of the highlights at the Currumbin Sanctuary is the feeding of the lorikeets at 4 pm. The birds start swarming the trees about 1/2 an hour before the feeding starts. They are all wild birds that fly in from all around.

The park officials then hand out tin plates with a mix of water and feed. The birds then swoop down out of the trees to eat their supper. There are hundreds and hundreds of birds doing this all at once and making a huge racket.

Here you see Jean enjoying the birds as they sit on her head, swoop past her face and land on the plate to eat.

Unfortunately, we chose an area to stand that was under a tree. The tree was used by the lorikeets to rest in before coming down for the feeding. When they all landed in the tree above us at the same time, we were introduced to a shit shower. Not a pleasant experience. Next time, we stand in the open, not under a tree. We rushed back to the condo after this for a real shower before heading out for dinner and a movie.

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The lorikeets are scared very easily. If they think they see a predator, they all take off in the same direction at the same time. They did this several times during the feeding, always in the same direction. In this picture, you can see a bunch of blurs over the heads of the people. These little guys were in a major hurry to clear the area. Standing here was a little frightening as they would literally fly right has my head and I felt like ducking left or right, but stood still to avoid ducking into another's path.