Monday, April 27, 2015

Great Kayaking (2)

Four days after the kayaking I told about in my last post, I was sitting at my back window and watching the sun-rise when I realized that once again there was no wind. It looked like it could be another perfect day kayaking so I hurried around and got my gear together and loaded the kayak on the car. When I got down to Mullens it was perfect. The water was so still it almost had that oily look.I paddled out past the roost and took some photos across the bay. It is seldom this still.

Even under the mangroves the reflections were nearly perfect.

I stayed well out from the roost where I expected to find shorebirds and then sat sill on the kayak and let myself gradually drift in closer. When I do this the birds allow a much closer approach than if I paddle in with paddles flashing in the sunlight.

Of course the Pied Oystercatchers were there and reflected in the still water.

There were also lines of grey and white birds. Most looked like Grey-tailed Tattlers but when I looked at my photos later I could also see several Common Greenshanks.

I didn't get very close to these birds on the sand bank but I was pretty sure there were also Tattlers roosting in the mangroves so I slowly drifted along that way.

Most of the Tattlers had good amounts of breeding plumage and I would expect them to all leave for the northern hemisphere very soon.

The sky was very blue and the Little Egrets roosting high in the dead tree made a nice contrast. There was also a White-breasted Woodswallow roosting in the same tree but off to the right.

I could hear more of the Woodswallows close by so went looking for them in the mangroves off to the side. There were 5 or 6 other birds there - swooping off after insects. When they returned to the trees several of them perched close to each other as if they preferred snuggling together.

Several more photos of the Little Egrets made a great finish to my morning. 

For more scenery from around the world visit Our World Tuesday 

and for more birds visit Wild Bird Wednesday.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Great Kayaking

I haven't had a lot of really good kayaking this summer and then this week I managed two nearly perfect days! Both days were different - here's the first day. The next day can come next week!
I had offered to take a friend with me who wasn't used to kayaking but thought this area sounded beautiful. We used my kayaks but I can't get both on the roof racks at once. It's bad enough getting one up and tied down - let alone getting the second one on top of that! I just can't manage it! Fortunately Mullens Creek where we were going is only 5 minutes or so away.  I took the first kayak down there and left my friend with it until I could get back with the second one. I suggested she might like to go out by herself until I got back but she looked a bit daunted at the prospect. When I got back she was talking to one of the local fellows who is a very interesting person. He is not a "birder" but still manages to see more birds than I do - plus a lot of other interesting things that I tend not to notice. He catches fish and crabs where others catch little or nothing! This morning he had a crab in his bucket and of course I asked for photos. These crabs are counted as a local delicacy! Here is Peter and the crab he had just caught that morning! He assures me that you just have to know how to handle them - I would rather stay well out of reach of those nippers!

We then kayaked out to the airport roost. Unfortunately the Grey-tailed Tattlers and the Terek Sandpipers saw us before we saw them and flew off before I could get photos. There were at least 60 of them but I still have not managed to do a separate count of them as they stream off across the bay in front of me. There were 13 Little Egrets all perched up in a taller tree - but they took off when the other birds did and came to rest again well up around the bay.

The pair of Pied Oystercatchers were not in the mood to wait around either so a quick photo as they moved off was the best I could manage.

It was very beautiful out there with not more than a gentle ripple on the water. If you enlarge the first photo you can see the Little Egrets part way around the bay on the right of the photo. The second photo is the kayaks pulled up on the sand after we had gone to check for birds in the lagoon behind the sand spit.

To finish off we paddled up the creek. There was no wind at all up there with perfect reflections in the water and only the sound of bush birds calling from the trees and bushes beside us.

 We could see rain falling from some of the clouds across the bay but it did not come near us.

My next day kayaking I went out simply to photograph the birds I had missed. That's for next week's post!

For more scenery from around the world visit Our World Tuesday

and for more birds visit Wild Bird Wednesday.

Monday, April 6, 2015

A Morning For Visitors

A couple of weeks ago I had visitors who had not seen around this area before. I always enjoy showing off the beauty spots around here! I had my camera with me but only remembered to get it out when there was something really great to see!
We headed out to Inskip Point - visitors are always interested to see how close Fraser Island is just over the channel. It was mid-morning and still a couple of hours before high tide so the only shorebirds I could see were way out on the sand island in the middle of the Strait. However, as we walked along the bush track towards end of the point I heard a couple of birds calling. There were two Beach Stone-curlews (Esacus magnirostris) walking along the sand in full sight.

I always like to look southwards along the beach toward the colored sand cliffs just south of Rainbow Beach - and it's always good for a photo! Rainbow Beach township is on the right of the photo and just behind the tree. I did not have my wide angle lens so had to take a second photo to follow right along the beach towards Double Island Point far down to the south east.

We ended up going to Bymien Picnic place for lunch. This is in a really beautiful piece of rain forest and always worth a visit. This time as we sat at one of the picnic tables eating and talking this Goanna or Sand Monitor came and checked us out. It looked as if it was hoping for a hand-out - which it did NOT get from us!

For more photos from around the world visit Our World Tuesday

and for more birds visit Wild Bird Wednesday.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Lorikeets in the Callistemons

The other morning I heard a small flock of Rainbow Lorikeets settle down in the Callistemon trees in my backyard. I used to have Lorikeets in the yard all the time but then the Grevillea trees broke and had to be removed. I haven't yet replaced them and the Callistemons don't flower so prolifically or so frequently - so fewer Lorikeets than I used to see.
I planted Callistemons down the side of my property. Some of them didn't do well and have been taken out but others have just kept growing - and growing! The tops are a bit scraggly but they still flower. I photographed the Lorikeets on a beautiful sunny day and should have taken photographs of the trees at the same time. Instead you will have to imagine blue skies instead of cloudy grey skies.
Callistemons down the side.
Very Late Addition: The sky is blue this morning and I couldn't resist getting a better photo of the callistemons!

 Lorikeets were climbing all over the tops of the trees. Their green colored backs make them harder to see until they move and show the lovely rainbow colors.

For more scenery from around the world visit Our World Tuesday 

and for more birds visit Wild Bird Wednesday

Monday, March 9, 2015

Dark Morning on the Bay

I enjoy seeing my favorite birding place in all kinds of weather. A few years back I would even fight against a choppy wind to get out there and see what birds were around. I haven't got that kind of energy now! However, I still like to get out there in less than perfect conditions. We have had long stretches of weather where the temperatures have been high but the winds have been high too - and high winds are not good for taking photos from a kayak or even for holding binoculars still enough to get a good look at the birds. The other morning there was an early high tide - almost no wind - and I simply ignored the big clouds rolling through. I was on the water well before 7am. There was plenty of light but the heavy clouds made the water dark grey and nearly black in close to the mangrove trees that line the creek. The light glinted silver off the water but didn't make the scenery much brighter.

The Grey-tailed Tattlers seem to have found a roosting tree where they can see east over the bay but also north over the creek where I paddle out. Before I could get around the point they were calling out their annoyance at being disturbed and then took off for the other side of the bay. The pair of Pied Oystercatchers were there but slowly walked off to the other end of the beach.
A group of Common Greenshanks flew off when the Tattlers took off but did not go right over the bay. I paddled back towards the car park but then paddled up the creek to see if there were any birds roosting on that low swampy part. The creek looked very dark even looking towards the east.

There were birds on the low swampy bank and as I got closer I saw they were Greenshanks but it was impossible to get close to them.

Even in grey overcast conditions like this I enjoy this part of the bay. 

For more scenery from around the world visit Our World Tuesday

and for more birds visit Wild Bird Wednesday.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

So Many Birds

After the extreme weather conditions out at Inskip (which I posted about last time) I was very anxious to get out there again as soon as possible. By Monday of last week the main roads were only just beginning to open from the floods and I assumed that there would be very few campers out at Inskip  - and that meant more room for birds out on the sand point. It didn't take any persuading for birding friends from Gympie to join me! The sand point used to be much longer and the barges to Fraser Island came in and picked up vehicles part way along - which left the last part for use by the birds. Here is a photo from my archives of what the sand point looked like on a high tide back then.

Then about half of the point was simply washed away and although there was still plenty of room for the barges to pick up vehicles there was very little room for birds to rest without disturbance. Again from my photo archives -

The barges were working on Monday morning but there were very few vehicles and we could see birds out on the end to one side of the barge. We slowly walked out along the sand and the closer we got the more birds we could see. At that stage there were no other people out there and no cars even waiting for the barge. Perfect! Here are the birds at the end of the point - Bar-tailed Godwits, Silver Gulls, Caspian Terns and Crested Terns.

The tide was still coming in and there was not much of the sand island left in the middle of the Strait. More and more birds had to move from there and they spread out along the tide line on the point and then moved to join the larger group right at the end.

The birds packed in more tightly! There were quite a number of Pied Oystercatchers with them.

Then the inevitable happened - a group of vehicles came along the point to wait for the barge! The people in the vehicles all jumped out and they were young foreign tourists. They were very polite and didn't try to get in front of where we were standing with our big cameras and lenses! They were all holding up smart phones and trying to photograph the birds with those! Then I guess it was also inevitable - they decided they needed "selfies"! It was all so exciting! They moved away from us a little bit - then danced happily closer - and the birds started to fly!

We were still left with quite a lot of birds to photograph but I estimate that two thirds of the flock flew off to find somewhere on Fraser Island to roost more quietly! It was interesting to see that the birds really didn't want to burn up the energy necessary to fly - and even put up with small waves washing around them.

The flock had some Godwits with most of their breeding plumage.

Looking carefully at the birds I could also see Great Knot with the start of their breeding plumage and one or two Curlew Sandpipers with the first faint wash of color.

There were good numbers of Terns roosting close together and beside the shorebirds. There were adult Crested Terns and juveniles with their distinctive "spotty" plumage. There were also quite a number of Little Terns and they were showing the yellow bills and black tip which they get before they fly up north to breed.

In this photo the juvenile Crested Tern is crouched down beside the adult and begging for food. (They are quite capable of feeding themselves by this stage but they still try to get the adults to help them!) There is a Little Tern behind these two. 

For more scenery from around the world visit Our World Tuesday

and for more birds visit Wild Bird Wednesday