Monday, May 25, 2015

Rainbow Beach

I live very close to the southern end of the Great Sandy Strait and enjoy walking around the beaches on the bay and of course kayaking whenever possible. However, every now and again I want to go and walk on sand and put my feet in ocean water where the nearest land is thousands of kilometers to the east. My nearest ocean beach like this is Rainbow Beach - about 25kms down the road to the north-east. The other morning was perfect for a walk along the sand. It was very close to high tide with almost no wind and a small swell with some nice clean looking waves. There were quite a few surfers taking advantage of the conditions.

The flags were still out to mark the safest place for people to swim but I didn't see too many people swimming. There were quite a few lying out on the sand and working on their tans - but I am pretty sure they were visitors - locals would prefer it a bit warmer!

Way out on the edge of the horizon there was a sail boat moving slowly south.

The coast curves around to the south- east from here and the sand cliffs with the colored sand are what gave this place the name of "Rainbow Beach".

These rocks are just south of the town and are called Mudlo Rocks. Because it was close to high tide most of the rocks had water around them. 

As the waves came in the water splashed over them. These rocks have quite a reputation. The beach is very popular with 4-wheel drive vehicles. At low tide there is a good wide expanse of sand. Every tide changes conditions a little bit and sometimes the rocks are very close to the water even at low tide. There are an astonishing number of people who seem to think that their big expensive vehicles can get them out of any trouble! Just google "Mudlo Rocks" to see photos and videos of any number of vehicles that didn't make it!

I could hear birds way up in the trees on the top of the hill above the beach but nothing was close enough for a photo. I had to go up on the cliff above the beach to see any bird at all!

This is a Spotted Turtle-Dove (Streptopelia chinersis). It is a pretty bird but is not an Australian native. It is common around cities and towns but is now spreading out into natural bushland. When this happens it displaces native species.  I think this one was used to getting a hand-out from tourists.

For more scenery from around the world visit Our World Tuesday

and for more birds visit Wild Bird Wednesday.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Unsuitable For Birds

The sky yesterday morning was very beautiful but when the day starts like this you know it can only get worse! And it did! Strong winds and rain showers!

It was certainly not the day to go photographing birds so I went into the archives for photos that I had not previously posted. Masked Lapwing are always somewhere around but I seldom photograph them. This group was in my yard the other day and looked as if they were having a meeting.

Even though they are quite beautiful birds they are not favorites of mine! When they have young ones - or are just thinking about having young - they are very aggressive! With that spur on their wings they are a fearsome sight if they decide to dive bomb anyone walking too close to them!

For more scenery from around our world visit Our World Tuesday

and for more birds visit Wild Bird Wednesday.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Unexpected Birding

Inskip Point is beautiful and I enjoy a trip out there even if I don't expect to see many birds.
Looking across the channel to Fraser Island

The sand island in the middle of the Strait is a good place for birds to roost away from people.

A flock of shorebirds had been disturbed from somewhere. They looked to be mainly Eastern Curlews.

Before I even got out to the sand spit at the end of the Point I saw Beach Stone-curlews. There are usually two birds somewhere out there - and once I saw three birds - one a juvenile - BUT 4 birds all together were completely unexpected. Even here in Queensland this bird is listed as vulnerable and in New South Wales it is critically endangered. It will be interesting to see if all these birds stay in the area or if a pair of them are just passing through.

The second surprise came when I got out to the sand at the end of the point. There were people, cars and a few Silver Gulls. Then I saw a small dark bird flying over the shallow water and every now and again dropping down to pick something out of the water. It took me ages and multiple photos before I could get some clear views. (I seldom have to photograph flying birds! They usually sit nice and quietly at the roost sites!) I finally saw that the bird was a Noddy (Anous)- a bird I have never seen at Inskip before. Common Noddies (Anous tenuirostris) and White-headed Noddies (Anous minutus) look very similar but I think this one is a Common Noddy -  if I am wrong I will be happy to be corrected! I have just received a very helpful comment re the ID of this bird. It seems that it is more likely to be a White-headed Noddy. Go read the comment itself for the fine points of ID. Thanks to Martin for taking the time for all the details.

For more scenery from around the world visit Our World Tuesday

and for more birds visit Wild Bird Wednesday

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

House Hunting

I had no birds for my posts this week so phoned up my friends Sarah and Graham. Of course I was invited to morning tea - good conversation and good company - and birds to photograph afterwards!
Their yard has lots of big old gum trees which the birds love. This morning there were numbers of parrots all inspecting possible nesting holes. All these big trees seem to have numbers of holes. It's just a matter of finding the right one!

Some of the holes are a little harder to see than others.

It seemed that the Rainbow Lorikeets were investigating the possibilities of this one.

I could just imagine their deliberations!
"Get involved! You know it needs to be a joint decision!"

"Preening is hardly relevant when we are house hunting!"

"Shouldn't we get a closer look?"

"Would the inside be big enough for a family?"
In the end they both flew off. I don't know it they didn't like the possibilities or they didn't like me photographing them from all angles. There were plenty more options to choose from!

For more scenery from around the world visit Our World Tuesday

and for more birds visit Wild Bird Wednesday.

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.