It’s the bird du jour around almost any given sub-tropical picnic area and car park, so it should have been easy to get a good shot. However, my shots of Australian Brush-turkey in the dark depths of Natural Bridge*, part of Springbrook National Park’s lushly magnificent rainforest, all had something missing.
We’d driven up the impossibly steep Border Ranges from New South Wales across the Queensland Border, into Springbrook National Park. There, we were under a rainforest canopy so dense the temperature drops several degrees and had been instantly transported into a twilight zone.
All very moody and atmospheric, but for the photographically challenged? Well, check out my turkey shots for yourself …
Although it was mid-afternoon this warm and sunny July day, the sun had already well and truly set at the bottom of the valley.
We’d descended the 1 km circuit trail, and a dank chill was rising from the rushing stream below.
Maybe we’d arrived too late. Or maybe the sun NEVER descended down this far …
In the gloom, the Brush-turkeys scuttled through the undergrowth like a pack of giant winged rats at the end of a hunger strike.
Personally, I blame the school holidays.
The conjunction of both Queensland AND New South Wales school holiday winter breaks had swollen the already high number of tourists. They were all gravitating to Natural Arch, a mere 4 km from the border shared by the two states.
The turkeys were as opportunistic as anything I’ve seen in the birding world. Here they were, busily exploiting social media by willingly posing for countless photo shoots of ‘me feeding wild birds’!
These days, many turkeys have now adapted to all the worst elements of a Standard Australian Diet. Hunting and gathering has taken on a whole new meaning for them!
The Natural Bridge section of Springbrook National Park preserves a small sample of the rainforest native to this area. It forms part of the 0.3% of Australian rainforest left after ‘civilisation’.
Wandering through this rare fragment of magnificent rainforest can be awe-inspiring. That’s if you’re not dodging errant school holidaymakers, wannabe sporting superheroes defying the warning signs and running amok in the creek and losers getting in my way taking up all of the narrow track to the Arch.
I tried to take rainforest shots of the green mossy logs, streams running over rocks, trailing vines and epiphytic ferns. Rainforest photography can be tricky, given low light, shadows, flitting shapes and the constant passage of other people.
Sometimes I failed, sometimes I lucked out!
Natural Bridge was formed by erosion and weathering by the full force of the creek flowing into the valley. It is actually a hole in the rock where water rushes into a grotto below.
The resident glow worms weren’t lighting up the darkness of the cave yet. However, the unearthly glow from the light above the hole through which the water fell created a splash of colour in the gloom.
The roar also drowned out the background noise for a rare moment of solitude. Then we climbed back up the creek gorge to a vantage point overlooking the top of the arch, now well below us. Back in the car park and in increasing darkness, we extricated our car with some difficulty. The vehicles parked too close, backpackers preparing dinner and the rampaging turkeys on their never-ending quest for food all got in our way.
As we left the park, the otherworldly gloom of this abundant and spectacular rainforest reserve fell behind us. We emerged onto the New South Wales road – aglow with bright, late-afternoon sunlight.
Rainforests have a certain special quality about them, don’t you think? They make you feel as if you’ve travelled back in time thousands of years. The moss-covered rocks and twined branches are so other-wordly. This post reminds me of Kuranda.
I SO agree with you about rainforests, Punita! The unreal beauty means I walk VERY slowly because I’m taking so many photos – which is a challenge, given the low light!! This area is actually very similar to Kuranda – well spotted!
Such a beautiful waterfall!
It’s not one of the biggest, but it’s one of the best, ladyfi!
I’ve just finished my trip and a chance to catch up on your posts. You comment about the school holidays made me smile …. we soon discovered that school holidays and grey nomads made for very crowded caravan parks … we booked ahead just to be sure of spot which is something we don’t generally do … was glad we have a small van as we would not have got in in several places.
Your travels are as always simply awesome.
@PDP – Hahaha, you’re WAY too kind … if Steve Parish ever reads this, he’d be horrified!!! As for the book?? When does one EVER have enough material?!?!
@Vicki – Yes, finding the drama is one of the reasons to travel … if I’ve inspired you just a little then my work is done! Thank you so much for your kind words!
@darling – Haha, 6 months would be a good start … it’s not all red dust, red rocks and red tides! Sometimes Australia is GREEN!
@ladyfi – Thank you!! But it was even better live!
@FruitCake – Hahaha, you’re right! I never thought of that!! So great to see you back – hope all is well!!
Red this looks like quite the place to take a trip to, I love the first shot… as for the turkey photos, definitely unique! 🙂 Australia sure is diverse, you have so much to see and do, so much so that I hope to take a trip back that way one day and stay for hmmmm I don’t know, maybe 6 months!
Have a wonderful week!
Awesome photos Red! There’s nothing wrong with your shots of bush turkeys, that’S EXACTLY how they always look to me; running around like the proverbial … chooks.
Wow – that waterfall is stunning!
Red, that first image of the waterfall fair took my breath away!
How deliciously eerie.
I’m glad you take these photos and share them with us. It so makes me want to get a camper and “get out there”.
For now, I’ll drink in the beauty – landscapes and fleet footed feathered inhabitants… minus the tourists – through your blog 🙂
To be fair Red, those Bush Turkeys were moving along at quite a pace I think even Steve Parish may have encountered difficulties:) I think he would have been well impressed with these shots..the Pilchard included image is a stunner, so much atmosphere. I love that you show the world Australia’s incredibly beautiful outback, and when the book comes out I’ll be first in line!
@TMWH – Yeah … I’m trying to wean myself off RED!! It’s SO green here it hurts the eyes!!!
@diane b – One day I’ll see the glow worms … but with any luck, it SO won’t be with a group of school kids!!! I think the railings etc are a new addition.
@Murr Brewster – I’ll bet if I came to visit you’d have all sorts of FUZZY new bird species!! Weirdly, they seem to pop up wherever I go …
@River – Thank you so much, my friend!! But all credit goes to the scenery – AND my awesome little camera!!!
@Linda – Thank you!!
Great pics! Love that blue!
Man, a lot of that looks like Oregon! Except for the FUZZY BLUE AND RED TURKEYS. We don’t have those.
I love rainforest images, they’re so lush with all the greenery, rocks and water. You are a wonderful photographer.
It is a magic place isn’t it. proud to be a Queenslander. I haven’t been there for ages. The last time was with a loads of kids on a school camp. We took them to see the glow worms at night. I was dead scared of losing one. I don’t remember that sturdy looking path and rail when I was there. Great captures even with the difficult light.
Whoa! Nary any RED in these photos!
These were some of the most intensely green pictures I have ever seen. Truly lovely pictures of a very special place.
The first photo is lovely, the flow is just perfect as is the light. Look good on the right wall.
Sometimes hard to get a photo of bush turkey’s, maybe one day you will get a good one.
My youngest son often says to me: “Mum you just happened to be in the right place at the right time, with your camera set at the correct setting”. 🙂
@Carole – This is archetypal rainforest! And SO different to ‘the bush’!!!
@Sallie – Lucky my ‘secret ingredient’ didn’t get nabbed by the killer strangler vine, huh?!?! The beauty makes taking the pix easy!
@Denise – Welcome back! This region is one of the most awesome parts of OZ – you’re so lucky to live nearby!
@whiteangel – I have already adopted your son’s philosophy!!! I just drink in the beauty around me and hold up the camera!!! Sometimes I get lucky …
@eileeninmd – I DID expect to see the turkeys – they’re everywhere – but not quite this close!! Happy weekend to you too!!
@George – Thanx! But I let the turkeys get me down … actually the only time I nearly got a good shot, a couple of kids jumped out & scared it away – that’s the middle shot!!
@Pauline – HAhahaha, thank you for putting it in perspective … I don’t have many shots of the turkeys because I usually don’t bother, they’re so common. But the only time I decide t get some shots?? They don’t cooperate! And the water? Just good luck!!
@Indrani – Thank you and have a great weekend, my friend!
@Jill – As usual, you’re one up on me!! Tasmania is like a whole unexplored planet!! One day, one day …
@MJWC – Hahaha, I suspect most animals in a feeding frenzy have similar habits!!
@Jo – Wow, that sounds like a memorable trip!! We’ve experienced all the rain and rain while we’ve been here – SO different from what I’m used to!
@Rose – It’s been a long time between visits … luckily I had my best (and only) camera with me, so getting the shots was easy!!!
@Andrew – Never underestimate the ‘magic’ setting on your camera … I always thought it was ‘Natural Arch’ but most of the official stuff says ‘Natural Bridge’!! Who am I to argue?!?!
@SFlaGuy – And just when I’d taken your Photography 101 class and deliberately taken a pic to give the sense of scale … all the best for your future endeavours, I look forward to your continued visits!
@Jim – Thanx!
@Filip – It’s my favourite too!! I couldn’t believe my luck to get such a good shot – the water doesn’t usually turn out this well!!
The natural bridge and waterfall are gorgeous, lovely scenes from the rainforest. I was not expecting to see turkeys though. Wonderful photos, have a happy weekend!
Amazing! I do think it helps to have your special ‘secret ingredient’ in the pictures — adds that human perspective. This is an incredibly beautiful place — and those strangler vines look scary.
These are amazing pictures Red. Love them. Not too far away from me, either. That waterfall has a lot of movement in it. Gorgeous.
wow – there is indeed some amazing scenery. I loved your shots Red and those mossy trunks glowing as they do really thrill me
We visited Natural Bridge on sensationally boozy trip to see friends in Brisbane. The rest of the holiday it rained and rained and I can remember this walk being very steamy – nothing to do with how we felt about our friends, you undestand 😉 but what a stunning walk, and the foliage is incredible, especially for us sandgropers. Your pics are lovely, and yes, very difficult lighting.
One of these days I hope to visit Queensland and the rainforests. We were amazed to see cold climate rainforests in Tasmania.
Have a great week.
Amazing sights! each of them photographed so well.
I really enjoyed the trip to Natural Bridge. The waterfall is very impressive, as is the color of the water. I think you did a good job with the photography, even if the turkeys wouldn’t cooperate and let you get a clear picture.
You got some amazing pictures. The first one is fantastic!! Those turkeys on their quest for food remind me of the fish I am feeding out behind our house.
I have difficulty photographing falling water and am envious of your first shot. Between your photos and your words, I think you did a great job of capturing the essence of Springbrook. ‘Otherworldly’ is such a good word to describe it. And I wouldn’t worry too much about the turkeys. Even a really good shot of them is not all that impressive unless you fluke a male, front on with his wattle if full bloom at the height of breeding season, which, from memory isn’t for another month or so.
The first picture is fantastic, the water and the light comes in.
I am putting the South Florida Guy to rest after a long run. You have been my biggest fan and continuous supporter. You are also my inspiration to write a bigger and more far reaching blog in the future. For now I will take a rest, enjoy your endless travels, and contemplate my dramatically changing future.
Natural Bridge it is called then. Quite spectacular and what colours!
When I visited Springbrook NP I never wanted to leave – it truly is ‘otherworldly’. You got great shots of your visit!