Thursday, January 2, 2014

And Happy New Year!

Deb and I are back from our holiday with the girls at Yamba.
It was a relaxing time a fair bit of lazing around, going to the beach and hanging with the girls. I love the fact that in Oz our Christmas break is in summer!
One of the things Deb and I did do was to get back to our old pastime of jumping in the car and going for an explore.
We chose to have a look around the lower reaches of the Clarence River. As I have mentioned before Yamba is on the Pacific Ocean at the mouth of the Clarence, and the Clarence is an impressive river.
The first leg of our trip was to head upstream 18km (about 12 miles) to the little town of Maclean where we crossed this Nineteenth Century bridge across the south arm of the Clarence onto Woodford Island
From there we followed Lawrence road about 10km (6 miles) across the island to the Bluff Point Ferry . 
For that whole 10km you are crossing an island in the river. No wonder they call the area “Big River Country”
I snapped this on the ferry crossing the river. The NSW Roads and Traffic Authority runs the ferry 24 hours/seven days a week and its free!
From Lawrence we turned off the main road to follow back roads along the North Arm of the River.
I just had to pause to capture these abandoned dairy bales.  
Like many regional areas the rural industries have been in decline.
On one of the side channels I spotted a beautiful Brolga (Grus rubicunda).
Unfortunately,  as I stalked closer to get a good shot a couple of ducks I hadn’t noticed took flight and spooked the Brolga, so all I caught was some shots as it flew away.
A truly beautiful bird.
About ten minutes later we came across this fellow about to cross the road.
At about 90cm (3 feet) this Lace Goanna (Varanus varius) is about half grown. 
I went as close as I was comfortable to capture some nice shots.
But not too close, these guys are versatile predators and even a smallish one like this is armed with razor sharp inch-inch long claws.
If I was silly enough to hassle it, it would show me it was a bad idea.
Having said that, their defensive tactic is usually to run up a nearby tree.
Unfortunately, not being very smart, if there is no tree they have been known to panic and run up the nearest vertical object, that is the person they are afraid of!

Then it was further along the river to the Ulmarra Ferry where we crossed back to the south side before heading back to Yamba.