Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Lake Alford

Whenever I go to town shopping I try to find a few extra minutes to visit Lake Alford and see what birds are around. Birds that live on ponds in the middle of the city act quite differently from ones that live with fewer people and more open spaces around. I find it a bit frustrating to have a pond full of water birds so used to people feeding them that they immediately come rushing over in the expectation of some scraps of food. But - - there are birds there I don't normally see out here on the bay - and - there are occasionally some very nice ones!
The water on some of the ponds is kept well circulated and open.

Other parts of the ponds are almost covered with water plants and water lilies.

The star of the show for me this time was a single 'chick' of which a pair of Black Swans was being very protective.

A lot of Cattle Egrets were nesting in the trees on one of the islands. They made interesting photos if I could just find one to keep still and visible out of the foliage. This is their breeding plumage.

For more scenery from around the world visit Our World Tuesday

and for more birds visit Wild Bird Wednesday

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Kayaking Again!

Carpe Diem - Seize the Moment!
Last week started with heavy rain and wind. I watched the weather charts for each day and each morning looked at the clouds and waited to see the first breezes in the tree tops! Finally there was one morning that looked possible! - Not perfect! - but possible! I loaded the kayak on the roof racks of the car. I heaved a sigh of relief that all the "doom sayers" who keep asking if I can still lift the kayak up are not right!! I scurried around looking for gear that hadn't been used for more than 6 months! Down at the bay the water looked beautiful! Horrors!! Where was the kayak paddle? It is really lucky I only live about 5 minutes away!
When I finally started paddling out towards the airport roost I was intrigued to look down into the water and discover it was tea colored. All that heavy rain a couple of days ago had flushed out all the water in all the little creeks. Creek water around here is always colored by the vegetation that hangs over and into the water. Usually the bay water reflects the blue of the sky but this morning the water was a deeper color with hints of maroon. This photo is taken looking south from the roost. Little mangrove trees are beginning to thicken along the shoreline.

This photo is taken looking north along the roost and shows the foam which always happens when the salt water is mixed with too much fresh from the creeks.

It was great to see a total of 4 Red-capped Plovers. This sand bank was where I first got a good look at these little birds when I was still learning to ID shorebirds. Last year I didn't see them here. Two of them were running along the edge of the water and in and out of the foam.

A single Grey-tailed Tattler flew out of one of the mangrove trees. I wonder where the rest of the flock that usually roost there have gone? The pair of Pied Oystercatchers were still there. Keeping them company on that end of the sand spit were a number of Pacific Golden Plovers. They disappeared early for migration last year so it was good to find some back this year.
This photo shows the Pied Oystercatchers, one Pacific Golden Plover and one Red-capped Plover right in the front.

One of the Pacific Golden Plovers showed a few black spots - remnants of the black breeding plumage. There were also a few with juvenile plumage.
 The wind had been picking up all the time I had been watching the birds. After so much time away from kayaking I was not as steady getting into the kayak as I would like to be. Fortunately I could drag the kayak over the little sand spit and into the lagoon behind it where the water was nice and still. I need to get out on the kayak more often - and maybe I need to do some strengthening exercises for unused muscles as well!

For more photos of our world visit Our World Tuesday

and for more birds vist Wild Bird Wednesday

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Around the Yard

I thought by now that I would have some new photos of the Bay and shorebirds - but sometimes good tides and weather just don't cooperate! First there was day-long drizzle - then - yesterday we had very heavy rain - early on there was 2 inches (50mm) in 2 hours then steady rain for the rest of the day! So I must put up with yard birds again. I realize these have some interest for an overseas birder - but I really really want to be out on my kayak on the bay!
Early summer and the jasmine that I planted against the fence is in heavy flower. I wish I could find a way to waft some of the perfume along the www!!!

The other afternoon I heard and saw a Figbird (Sphecotheres viridus)  high in one of the trees in my backyard.

When I looked closely at what I was photographing it was different from others I had previously photographed. A young male bird is colored like a female. The male bird has a bright red patch of skin around the eye and the female is brown around the eye and streaked color on the front. Here are photos of both that I took some time ago.
Male Figbird

Female Figbird

For more scenery from around the world visit Our World Tuesday

and for more birds visit Wild Bird Wednesday

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Birds - Plants and Avian

This is the flower of the Strelitzia Nicolai which is commonly called the Bird of Paradise flower. The more common variety is the Strelitzia Reginae which has a yellow/orange flower. This Strelitzia Nicolai is a very vigorous plant and grows from 4-6 meters tall. The Blue-faced Honeyeaters are often around the flowers so I am guessing that it has lots of nectar.

Early morning and late afternoon are the noisiest times for birds around my place and of course the noisiest birds are all the parrots. It is common to see 20-30 of these white Sulphur-crested Cockatoos flying over. Sometimes they settle down for a while in my tallest trees. The other night there were 5 birds in the tree. Another 20 or so birds had flown over.  The ones in the tree were roosting quietly and looking all around.

Except - that is for this one! It looked like showing off to me! The other birds ignored its antics but it kept watching me and my camera!

This looked like a final attempt to catch my interest!!

I know this is anthropomorphism and serious birders don't indulge in this kind of thinking! But - now and again it is almost irresistible!!

For more scenery from around the world visit Our World Tuesday

and for more birds visit Wild Bird Wednesday

Tuesday, October 20, 2015


When I first came here I planted a lot of local native plants in my garden. Some of them did well and some not so well. These callistemons are some that did well. Some years they have a particularly heavy flowering that makes me forget that other times they are rather scraggly!  I posted photos of a red callistemon that was flowering well back in August. Then nearly a month later others began flowering and made a very nice show.

The bushes are very dense so birds are not easy to either see or photograph but even a glimpse is enough to ID the Rainbow Lorikeets.

For more scenery from around the world visit Our World Tuesday

and for more birds visit Wild Bird Wednesday

Monday, October 5, 2015

Inskip Continued

Last week's post about Inskip did not seem complete so this is an extra to try to round off the story. Go and simply look at my photos if you don't want all these details!
The first rule is that you shouldn't believe everything you read! The first news reports labeled it as a "sinkhole". There were detailed diagrams and descriptions from "geotechnical engineers" about how and why a sinkhole occurs and what would be done to see if there was a possibility of another one occurring close by. It was another two days before another geotechnical engineer said that it may not have been a sinkhole but might instead have been a "near shore or peninsular landslide". It was not until the end of the week that the Gympie Times reported that there was a similar incident reported in a Brisbane paper in 1873. It was then speculated that it was the result of a "tidal scour" - erosion due to tidal movement.
I must say I wonder how carefully the various geotechnial experts were quoted!
I am not an engineer but I do wonder why more attention has not been paid to the fact that all the land at that point and for some way around is simply sand brought in by the tide over the years. Also wet sand is not stable around water. All the washouts that I have seen or heard of have been beside the channel that goes between Inskip Point and Fraser Island. Here are a couple of photos of that water.

I am told that the really deep water in that channel changes around every tide and boat skippers take very careful note of the readings on their depth sounders. This channel drains all the water from the Sandy Strait. The Strait stretches north to Harvey Bay and half of that northern portion drains out there. However, all of the southern part of the Strait drains through this channel.  This is the part that I know and kayak around. Here is part of a google earth image of this southern part. I used the google rule to do a rough measurement and it is more than 22kms in length.

On the more southerly parts where I usually kayak the tide pull is not strong but it certainly makes a difference if you are kayaking for a few kilometers. Most of the southerly part becomes sand flats at low tide - most of the water drains out! This photo is of about 6 kms of the more southerly part of the Strait.

This photo is of the more northerly part - Fraser Island is in the distance.

That is a lot of water draining in and out twice a day. I have occasionally seen some people kayaking over the channel - but I have not done so as I have no idea of when the really slack water happens on the tides around there.
I am still feeling very sorry for the owners of the caravan and 4 wheel drive vehicle that got swallowed up on the night of the washout. The recent reports I have heard said that it was impossible to get it out. I saw an interview with them on a news report and they were retirees that had sold up their house and were traveling around Australia in that van and vehicle. Poor people!

As well as all the shorebirds,  Inskip Point is a good place to watch the tern species that are around this area.   For most of the year I can see Caspian terns, Gull-billed terns, lots of Crested Terns and the occasional Little tern. Then in the summer months we have literally 1000's of migratory terns - Common terns, Little terns and the occasional White-winged Black terns. Here are photos I have taken at Inskip with the birds resting on the sand flats at low tide.

For more scenery from around the world visit Our World Tuesday

and for more birds visit Wild Bird Wednesday

Tuesday, September 29, 2015


What an interesting week this has been with the name "Inskip" written across the world media! We have had another "washout" at Inskip and this time it took out part of a camping area - complete with 4 wheel drive, caravan, camping trailer and assorted tents and camping equipment! It happened in the middle of the night which made it extra scarey for all the campers around.
This is not the first "washout" that we have had at Inskip but it is the first one that took property with it. I have counted five such washouts since I have lived here. The first one I photographed was in 2011 - a few days after it happened so the steep edges have had a chance to start to fill in.

There was another similar one in 2012 and very close to the previous one. This one nearly took the road to the end of the Point.

The one I found the most spectacular was in 2013 and half the area of the sand Point washed away in a very short time. I posted about it here.
This time it made the headlines because there was property lost and so many people involved. Before it started to wash away the edge of the sea was a couple of hundred meters from the camp site. This all happened late Saturday night and I went out and photographed it yesterday - Monday. It appeared that the 4 wheel drive had been pulled out of the water - and possibly the camper trailer - but the caravan was still lying in the water and gently rocking on the tide! I need to make a correction! Everything settled down into the soft sand! The next day they managed to pull out the camper trailer but the 4 wheel drive vehicle is still down there somewhere!

I had been out to Inskip last week to see what shorebirds were around but there were so many people and cars around that the only shorebirds were out on the sand island. This was at 6:30 am! (How could I have forgotten it is school holidays right now??!!)

The only good photo op was a pelican - but there are only so many pelicans I want to photo!

I set off for home but decided to take a quick trip down to Bullock Point which is on the opposite side of the bay. It seemed as if I was out of luck there as well and I was about to drive off when I looked up onto the big mast of a boat that was tied up to the shore. This boat has been there for quite a while and it appears that the people are not living on it right now. Anyway - this beautiful Sea Eagle (Haliaeetus leucogaster) was quite comfortable resting there. This is a young bird as the feathers are more brown  than grey.

For more scenery from around the world visit Our World Tuesday

and for more birds visit Wild Bird Wednesday