Monday, September 29, 2014

A Perfect Morning

I thought about penning a paean of praise - but then decided it was a bit "over the top" for a blog post! So instead I shall just explain that I was able to get out on my kayak for the first time in five months and it was a perfect morning. The tide was high enough to be interesting, it was sunny with just a few clouds, and there was no wind! What more could anyone want? (Maybe a few less sand-flies close in to the shore would be nice!)
This photo is looking south-east across the bay.
This photo is looking west back towards the parking lot and my car.

 There have apparently not been any huge winds or wild seas over the last few months because the mangroves were still in their usual places and the contours of the shoreline are unchanged. These mangroves are on the south side of the Mullens creek channel. They are Red Mangroves (Rhizophora stylosa). Red Mangroves have the usual tangled roots at the base but they also grow aerial roots from the higher branches. These aerial roots hang down just above the water and sometimes reach right into the water.

 As I came around the mangrove trees at this end of the channel a number of shorebirds started flying off and moving north. The tide was just beginning to cover the low sand and mud just south of this point and I think the birds decided they would move to higher ground. Of course, once one group flew the rest joined them. I counted 30 plus Whimbrels, a flock of about 150 mixed Curlews and Godwits, and about 30 Grey-tailed Tattlers. I have no way of knowing which of these shorebirds are newly arrived migrants and which have been here over the winter. I think possibly the Grey-tailed Tattlers have arrived recently as these numbers are close to what I usually see on this roost during the summer.
This tall old mangrove tree looks as if it might not survive any more big storms but for the present it often makes a good roost for Little Egrets.

As I paddled in closer one of the birds flew off to join other birds on the sand but one stayed and just watched me.

It seemed OK with me getting quite close until a Pied Oystercatcher that was hidden down in some bushes close by began making a warning cry. I did not go any closer because there might have been a nest in there somewhere - but the Little Egret had a good look all around for trouble.

When it only saw me in the kayak it settled down again.

For more scenery from around the world visit Our World Tuesday

and for more birds visit Wild Bird Wednesday.



Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Red-winged Parrots

Most parrots around here are easy to see and hear - but a green parrot against green leaves is not so easy. Red-winged Parrots often fly over my place but they seldom come down and stop in the trees. Friends who live a few blocks away from me have started hanging out a seed "bar' for the Red-winged Parrots that are around their place. However, as soon as these parrots have finished eating they take the seeds away - otherwise the big White Cockies simply pick it up and take it right away. Females and immature males are green with just a thin stripe of red down the side. They are the hardest to see against green leaves.

Males have a much wider piece of red color on their wings and are black down the back.

This male was even prettier. I am told it is a young male still showing some immature feathers.

This is the female again.

This photo reminded me of all those times someone will ask to have their photo taken again because they blinked at the wrong time!

For more scenery from around the world visit Our World Tuesday

and for more birds visit Wild Bird Wednesday.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Summer Already?

I started my post last week by showing some spring flowers but this week it feels like summer! The temperatures jumped from the low 20s to the high 20s in one week (70 plus to mid 80s in Fahrenheit)! Plus one night I was awakened by the loud repetitive call of the Koel - right outside my bedroom window! The Koel is a summer migrant to northern Australia and is sometimes called the Cooee Bird. I wish I knew how to move it away from my bedroom - or else to persuade it to keep quiet!
Last week I walked around to the Mullens roost on a good high tide. The tide had covered most of the roost and I hoped to see migratory shorebirds.

However, it appeared that the large flocks had still not arrived. Some White-faced Herons flew across the roost and settled at the southern end.

On the far side there was a long line of Terns - mostly Gull-billed Terns. There were a few shorebirds with them but no large flocks.

The only birds I got close to were a pair of Pied Oystercatchers. They were walking across the low-growing salt marsh plants and then walked out in the shallow water. Suddenly one of the birds stopped and began probing down through the water into the soft sand. I have often walked across this roost in bare feet and often I have felt something wriggling under my foot! I wonder if something wriggled under this bird's foot!

For more scenery from around the world visit Our World Tuesday 

and for more birds visit Wild Bird Wednesday

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Inskip

This photo has nothing to do with the rest of the post! I just wanted to show all the northern hemisphere readers that it is spring time here. This is the Banksia rose growing outside my kitchen window!
Now back to the purpose of this post! The best place to go on an early high tide and clear weather has got to be the Inskip Peninsular. As I walk out on the sand I always look over to the sand island first to see how many shorebirds are roosting out there. The most obvious this time were the Pelicans.

At the end of the sand on the Point there was quite a large group of Terns.

As I got closer I could see a mixture of birds. Most were Crested Terns still looking rather "scruffy" as they change into breeding plumage. The large birds with the bright red/orange bills are Caspian Terns and in the foreground of the photo is one Gull-billed Tern still in breeding plumage - very white plumage with a full black cap.

There was quite a lot of early morning traffic going over to Fraser Island on the barge and the birds soon took to the air. Some flew off towards the sea and a few joined the other birds out on the island.

As I walked back along the point looking east the sun was making a beautiful silver path across the sea. I could see a couple of boats well out to sea on the horizon.

There was also a small fishing boat anchored in the channel close to land. I don't know if they were catching anything - or just hoping to like all enthusiastic fishermen!

Walking slowly back along the road to the parking area I was looking for small birds that are often in the bushes close to the road when I heard the distinctive call of a Beach Stone-Curlew (Esacus magnirostris) - or Beach Thick-knee as it is often called. It had been sitting down beside a large piece of driftwood and I hadn't seen it until it moved and started calling. I could hear another bird but did not see it. I assume this is the pair that have lived out at Inskip for a number of years.

This bird stood up - then shook its feathers out - then smoothed them into place again and set off along the sand away from me.

For more scenery from around the world visit Out World Tuesday

and for more birds visit Wild Bird Wednesday.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Mullens

I was lucky enough to enjoy a walk in perfect weather for a couple of mornings last week at Mullens. I really enjoy this place because there are so few people and such wide open spaces. The first morning the tide was quite high.

The next morning I was down there the tide was not quite as high  -  but the water was very still again.

At this time of year the sand flats are almost empty. In a month or so there will be migratory shorebirds probing for food in all the shallow puddles. All that I could see right now were Eastern Curlews in the distance or else flying off well before I got near them. I have found it is only possible to get near an Eastern Curlew when it is surrounded by other migratory shorebirds. I think the ones I saw that morning might be early migrants that have returned from the northern hemisphere.

For more scenery from around the world visit Our World Tuesday

and for more birds visit Wild Bird Wednesday.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Backyard Happenings

Time and patience are required for most things - but some definitely more than others. Back in the end of June I posted photos of the Gymea Lily that was flowering in my garden. This is a re-post of one of the photos from then.

A little more than a week ago the flower head started to open.

Between then and now we have had 3 days over the last week-end of high winds and a lot of rain - 123mm (nearly 5 inches) in all. The flowers that were opening definitely got a bit of a battering!

This morning I saw a Blue-faced Honeyeater checking the flowers for any nectar.


Do viruses cycle between the hemispheres? If so all you people in the northern hemisphere are facing quite a nasty time next winter! There are severe colds and flues going round out here right now and I managed to pick up the cold somewhere. Runny nose, chills and difficulty breathing -  all this kept me miserable and unable to do anything much outside for several weeks! The only interesting birds I managed to photograph were a couple of Galahs that came down onto the grass in the backyard. If this was nicely mowed then it would look like lawn - but then again there would be no dandelions for the Galahs to enjoy! The birds came down for a munch on the flowers and seed heads in a break between the rain storms. There are rain drops on the grass and the birds look a bit damp as well!

For more photos from around the world visit Our World Tuesday

and for more birds visit Wild Bird Wednesday.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Bymien Picnic Area

Last week I took visitors from New Zealand out to the Bymien Picnic Area. This place is about 3 kms down the Freshwater Road which is reached from the road to Rainbow Beach. There is a magnificent area of rainforest here with trails through the forest and signage at intervals along the trails naming and describing many of the rainforest species.

This is tropical rainforest so there are many beautiful palms through the forest.

All plants struggle to reach the light above the highest trees. The Strangler Fig starts as an epiphyte high in a host tree. The roots then start downwards and eventually completely cover and surround the host tree until it is dead and the Strangler Fig stands by itself.

I heard quite a number of birds in the forest but they were high in the canopy and impossible to photograph. As we sat eating our picnic lunch this Brush-turkey came and checked us out.

I thought it was being very obliging to sit down in the sun where I could get a good photo. I should have known better!

We were sitting and eating beside the picnic table. The bird first came and tried for crumbs in front of us - then it went away! The next thing I knew, it had flown onto the table where the rest of the food was sitting and picked up a pack of sandwiches. I chased after it but there was no way that bird was going to let me get near. I didn't want the sandwiches after the bird had taken them - but I didn't like the idea of the plastic wrapping being taken away!

For more scenery from around the world visit Our World Tuesday

and for more birds visit Wild Bird Wednesday.