Monday, August 20, 2012

Granite Belt Wine Country (for "bird watching")

Superb Fairy-wren
female singing

Vineyard Cottages, Ballandean, Queensland

July 29, 2012

Back at the end of July we enjoyed a couple of days break in an area known as the Granite Belt. It is a really beautiful area for unique Australian landscapes and flora and fauna. I think the central jewel to the area is Girraween National Park and recommend you browse this fantastic website.


We actually stayed at Vineyard Cottages. Upon arrival at our cottage, I noticed typical Australian birds such as Australian Magpies about the place and within seconds we had Superb Fairy Wrens and Double-barred Finches hoping around within metres of our door. For dinner I had a huge T-bone steak sitting on a bed of mashed potato with peppered mushroom gravy and a dessert with a nice hot cappuccino.





The next morning I again found the wrens and finches as well as Eastern Spinebills, various honeyeaters, magpies, doves, and European Blackbirds. The latter regarded as a noxious invasive in Australia.  I guess they aren’t good to have around native plants as their foraging is quite destructive but I was familiar with them in Melbourne years back and find them fairly attractive.




Double-barred Finch

Vineyard Cottages


Superb Fairy Wren
male



We delighted in fresh and dried fruits with freshly made muesli, breads, plus juices, coffee and yogurt for breakfast followed by a mid-morning visit to Girraween. There, we were welcomed by a high-flying Wedge-tailed Eagle, a Red Wattlebird near the information centre and Red-browed Finches frolicking on the cut grass. We didn’t venture beyond the entrance but Girraween looked fantastic with flowering native plants such as banksias and wattles all booming in colour under the clear blue winter sky.





Wedge-tailed Eagle

Girraween National Park

Red-browed Finch

Heavenly Chocolate, Queensland

On the way back, I finally managed a shot of a Red-browed Finch, be it, in a mix of bright light and dark shadows at Heavenly Chocolate where we were warmly welcomed by some super friendly canines. Then.


We went for lunch.


We randomly followed a road to Felsberg Winery where more wrens were hopping about and a family of some kind of bird actually came into the restaurant. They sounded interesting enough, however I couldn’t see them over a massive mound of mashed sweet potatoes flattening out under the weight of sliced Bratwurst sausages and caramelised onion gravy and another cappuccino. By the time the visual obstruction was gone so were the birds.


Not long after we entered the Bramble Patch, the lady there, having observed that I had a camera hanging around my neck told me to get some shots of a Kookaburra just outside on a fence post. I did.


Laughing Kookaburra

The Bramble Patch

Eastern Rosella

The Bramble Patch

Eastern Rosellas and Crimson Rosellas





After having various frozen berries mashed amongst fresh ice-cream, I went out looking for the birds on their property and was excited to see Eastern Rosellas. The Granite Belt is about the only area in South-eastern Queensland where I’ve seen them going back at least 20 years.


Crimson Rosella

The Bramble Patch




Actually, we didn’t have much for dinner that night opting for Olympics on TV followed by an awesome outing to the Twinstar Guesthouse and Observatory. It was a very clear but moonlight night and we studied the sky and stars for a good 90 minutes. It's an absolutely fascinating place to visit.

I only had toasted sandwiches for lunch the next day; along with a cappuccino.
European Blackbird
female

Australian Magpie hanging out with Jack Frost

Vineyard Cottages

Yellow-faced Honeyeater

Double-barred Finch

Vineyard Cottages

I apologise if a have offended some readers with this post. It’s just the foods mentioned here are rare in Japan.
More about the wineries and food places of the Granite Belt Wine Country can be found HERE!!


At first I thought this was an Orange Banksia but the leaves are different..
Hmmn, maybe it's a Hairpin Banksia...
I have an app on my phone but can't quite find it.

Girraween National Park

Wattle and sky at Girraween National Park

Maybe looks too vivid to northern eyes but I swear these colours are accurate!

Some landscapes from the Granite Belt