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Spring in the Royal – Falcons and Eagles

We should have known you can’t creep up on falcons and eagles.

A few weeks back we went looking for falcons and eagles: we saw a falcon in flight, rounded a bend to see where it had landed and there it was looking directly at us ….unamused at our attempt at stealth.

 

But it had more mouths to feed than its own. Follow the Read More tab  to see .

 

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Join us for a Guided Walk

This year Friends of the Royal are leading guided walks to help you get to know your local National Park just that little bit better. The Royal is home to a wonderful diversity of plants and wildlife…….some of our walks will have a botanical theme and on others we will be birding.

 

Royal Spoonbill

 

On Friday 23rd October we will be leading two birding walks starting at Bonnie Vale.

 

Follow the Read More link  for more details and to register.

 

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Join us for a Guided Walk

This year Friends of the Royal are leading guided walks to help you get to know your local National Park just that little bit better. The Royal is home to a wonderful diversity of plants and wildlife…….some of our walks will have a botanical theme we will look closely at all the bush we often walk quickly through….its amazing what you can see.

 

Styphelia_triflora

 

Friends have some very knowledgeable people in our group who can readily identify the plants that we come across.

We are leading a walk with a botanical theme on Monday 21st September at 9am  leaving from the NPWS office carpark.

Follow the Read More link  for more details and to register.

 

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Winter Wildlife

Winter can be a wonderful time to be walking in the Royal. Sunny days with light cool breezes….. walk on the coast or the interior of the park, turn a corner and ahead you can see extraordinary spectacles.

Humpback whales have been moving north on their annual migration  from Antarctica to the warm waters of the Coral Sea. On any day from late May to early August from the cliffs of the Royal you can see the  blow of the large breaths that they take,  then their huge backs rise out of the water and slip back down. You may spot the tail flapping and the lucky few will see youngsters launching themselves out of the water. Follow the Read More link to see a breach in slow motion.

But look up and there are astonishing birds …..eagles and falcons ……kites and kestrels . Follow the Read More link to  see them in action.

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New channel cut through Deeban Spit

The fierce two day storm of late May  which coincided with king tides swept sand off Deeban Spit into the entrance channel to The Basin completely blocking the channel so no water could escape into Port Hacking.

Water had been building up since a storm earlier in the year and now with the channel fully blocked  the water levels were so high that much of the  Bonnie Vale camping ground was underwater.

But on the 29th May nature restored the balance and the  flood water breached Deeban Spit in a new location close to Bundeena allowing a torrent to pour out into  Port Hacking.

Follow the Read More link to see  a video of the floodwater breaking out  with someone kayaking down the stream and also some  historical  aerial photos from the 40s and 50s.

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Bus Service Recommences

Covid 19 has impacted the way we live all across the world. In the Royal the high use areas were closed: Bonnie Vale, Garie, Wattamolla and the bus service was suspended.

But as restrictions lift many services in our community can restart.  Our high use areas have reopened and you can  pursue normal recreational activities in the park, subject of course to the required social distancing and limits on numbers of people.

The Park Connections bus service is to restart from 30th May with a new reduced timetable .

Follow the Read More  link to get the details.

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Lyrebirds….building nests and males performing

Its that time of year. We quietly watched a female lyrebird raking up twigs and taking them back to her nest. She was oblivious to our presence, totally absorbed in her task. So we switched on the video.

Then a few days later we stumbled across a male courting two females. He followed them around calling, displaying his fabulous tail , flapping his wings with his crest high. He was so preoccupied  that when a mountain bike came past quickly he scuttered away into the bushes  but two seconds later came out displaying and calling …….follow the Read More link to watch them both.

 

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First Sighting of a Winter Migrant

At sunset recently  we were standing on the Bundeena cliffs when a migrant seldom seen from the coast flew over.  A chocolate brown colour, bigger than a raven with beautiful pointed wings…..this was a  Brown (Great) Skua. A visitor from the Southern Latitudes.

Follow the Read More link to learn about the Skuas migration.

 

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The Royal – Covid 19 Impacts

NPWS in response to the Covid 19 outbreak on March 18th suspended all volunteer activities until further notice. On March 26th the high visitation areas of  the Audley visitor center, Wattamolla, Garie and Bonnie Vale were closed until further notice

But walking tracks and trails remain open for exercise by locals and are being well used. They provide a welcome relief from pressures of lockdown.

Recently the Sydney Morning Herald wrote a piece discussing the benefits of exercise in the Royal National Park and featuring our own Ralph Cartwright.   Follow the Read More link to view.

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All Volunteer Activities Cancelled Until Further Notice

ALL VOLUNTEER ACTIVITIES HAVE BEEN CANCELLED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE DUE TO THE COVID-19 OUTBREAK

If you wish to hear about a recent highly successful volunteer activity then please read on.

On a fine day recently 6 members of friends took to the water to access a beautiful, but remote spot in the park to remove a prickly pear infestation.  Check out the video of our efforts by selecting  Read More .

We plan on another attack later in the year and would welcome extra hands.

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Our Next Guided Walk is on Monday 16th March

Our first guided walk for 2020 will be on March 16th starting at 8.30am at Wattle Forest, one of Audley’s picnic grounds.  We will take a walk through some fascinating rainforest looking for birds and other wildlife.  Then after a short while we will transfer across the river to Fig-tree Flat and start a slow walk down Lady Carrington Drive. Participants can walk to where we chose to turn around or if they choose they can turn around earlier or walk further.

This beautiful walk  is renowned for revealing a multitude of wildlife. Check out the Read More tab for details including a great video of a diamond python taken in the park just a few days ago.

 

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See the Royal by Public Transport

Its easy to get to the Royal National Park by public transport: trains, a new bus service and a famous old ferry all give access to the park. With a bit of planning you can have a fabulous day out: an epic walk, a gentle stroll or a picnic by a waterfall or beach are all easily achievable by these public transport alternatives.

During the peak of summer and on public holidays the carparks in the Royal can become full early in the day, particularly Wattamolla, Garie and Bonnie Vale. Public transport can get you into these locations when car-bound visitors are turned away.

Select Read More to view our Public Transport page with some wonderful suggested itineraries for a great day out.

 

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Waterfalls in the Royal

You may have noticed that it has been raining recently. Audley weir is still closed, as are other roads in the park and indeed around the city.

If you ever wondered what the many waterfalls in the Royal look like after heavy rain follow the Read More link to view the Video.

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Streams in the Royal are flowing again

Through our long hot summer the streams in the Royal dwindled and some dried completely. Now with the rain they are flowing again and some creatures are celebrating……follow the Read More link to watch the video of a freshwater yabbie climbing the bank of a Royal stream.

Our Streamwatch volunteer program has been testing the water quality of streams in the Royal and Heathcote National Parks since 2004.

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Red Bellied Black Snake drags Brown Snake away

Sometimes walking in the Royal you are privileged to see nature in action, this is one of those days. To humans the red bellied black is a beautiful snake but it is timid and disappears quickly when encountered. The Eastern Brown is the opposite: usually smaller, aggressive, not to be messed with.  This day these preconceptions were reversed…….the larger red bellied black has the brown snake  by the head and is taking it off to devour it. Follow the Read More link  to watch the video.

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Bus Service is Launched

Bus Fleet has launched a new service within the park connecting many trail heads with public transport options. This allows access to popular sites such as Wattamolla and Garie when the carparks are full and also provides access to wonderful walks throughout the park.

The Royal has thankfully been unaffected by the current fires ravaging much of the East Coast and is only being closed to non residents when the weather conditions are severe.

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