Saturday, August 30, 2008
Friday, August 29, 2008
The extensive sand flats are ideal for shorebirds hunting food at low tide. Terns roost out on the sand flats as far from disturbance as possible. I saw a small flock of Crested Terns there today. Most still look rather 'scruffy' in their non-breeding plumage. It will be a few weeks yet before they display their full breeding plumage.
There is a very narrow neck of land between the top of the bay and the open ocean. From the open ocean side there is a great view south towards Rainbow Beach. The name - Rainbow Beach - was given because of the colored sand in the cliffs south of town which stretch left in the photo.
Visit SWF today.
Monday, August 25, 2008
First a little about the site. This site is only accessible by water so I kayak over to it to do the count. Crab Creek is at the southern end of the town of Tin Can Bay. The creek is bordered by mangroves which make an almost solid wall on both sides. On the south side of the creek behind the mangroves the area opens out into a large shallow area of water and then behind this again an area of sandbanks and saltmarsh. During the winter the site is seldom used by migratory waders but in the summer we have counted over a thousand birds here. Right now the saltmarsh plants look dark and dried up. (This is where Red-capped Plover are usually seen.) The only ones showing any color are the Suaeda Australis. (I hope this name is right – this is how it has been identified for me.)
Yesterday the first indication I had that there were waders was the sound of Eastern Curlew. They were well hidden on a sandbank among some small mangroves. I did not want to disturb them so did not go too close but unfortunately one sighted me and then they were all off.
Whimbrel were further back and too far for good photos. I also saw Red-capped Plover, Pied Oystercatchers, Masked Lapwing, White Ibis, Little Pied Cormorant, and a Little Egret. To make a great finish to the day this Osprey was sitting on a dead branch next to a nest. I could not see anything in the nest but I do not think that the gentle noises the bird was making were for my benefit!
Thursday, August 21, 2008
This was the sky that confronted me as I stepped outside early this morning.
Talk about “the best laid plans”.... I had planned to kayak to a favorite shorebird roost but I just do not enjoy this kind of weather while out on the water. So instead I decided to organize my photos from the last few days and post a few of the Cooloola Airport. What a grand title for a very simple affair! I am sure there are other places like this in small towns all around Australia – but it still feels a bit incongruous when confronted with the reality after following the very proper looking signs! This is the airport hanger. Sometimes there are as many as three small planes parked there waiting for their owners.
This is the airport runway - a grass runway in an open space in the bush Right now the tracks leading to and from the runway are edged with flowers. Several varieties of yellow pea flowers (which I won't even attempt to ID) edge the track and sweet smelling Leucopogon is set back under the taller trees.
The airport is certainly not the biggest or best that one could see, but the landscaping - which owes nothing at all to those who planned and developed the airport - is definitely fantastic!
Sunday, August 17, 2008
We did not see the Beach Stone-curlews this time. However, it was not a very high tide and there were lots of sand banks exposed even on the high tide so they could have been anywhere.
The highlight of the day was finding a Pied Oystercatcher nesting. I had been walking along the edge of the sandbank that council closed from October to March when a Pied Oystercatcher flew up from the grass just in front of me. I stopped and looked at the area it had come from and there was the nest just in front of me. I did not go closer but took several photos at full zoom on the camera. Then I backed off a good way and watched. Pretty soon the adult came back but watched me very suspiciously as it walked slowly back to where the nest was. We have asked the Ranger, who also helps with the survey, to keep a watch out for the birds. There are so many raptors patrolling the river that there is no guarantee that the eggs will even hatch – let alone that the adults will successfully raise young – but we hope so!
Thursday, August 14, 2008
After we finished looking at each other - and I finished taking photos - it went back to the flowers.
Sunday, August 10, 2008
I enjoy following them around with the camera but they seldom sit in a good pose for pictures. More often they are hanging upside down or walking around and under the foliage.
Friday, August 8, 2008
When we were children, year-end holidays were always spent camping in a tent at the beach as far away from 'civilization' as we could get. My father always found a spot tucked just behind the sand dunes and in among the casuarinas and banksias. The beach, of course, was filled with the sound of the sea and the cries of gulls. But the tent itself always seemed to be surrounded by the sounds of Leatherheads – Noisy Friarbirds as I now call them.
We would wake to their chatter in the early morning and run down to the surf for a swim before breakfast. In the evening as we sat around the campfire we listened to them in the trees as they settled down for the night. In between were long lovely days of sun, sand, and sea – and nothing and no-one in sight except ourselves.
I have planted grevillias in my garden and the Noisy Friarbirds are frequent visitors. They still sound like summer to me and I know I can still find the ocean waiting for me when I get in the kayak and get out there.
Monday, August 4, 2008
The roost at Smooger Point is not counted regularly and I really wanted to know how many waders and how many different species were using this roost during the winter when most birds have gone to the northern hemisphere to breed.
We put our kayaks in at the Carlo Creek boat ramp and paddled back towards Tin Can Bay. The tide pull inside the bay area is not strong but it makes the paddling a bit easier to go with the tide each way.
Most of the birds were using the exposed beach at the edge of the water. On very high tides they retreat up into quite extensive areas of salt marsh vegetation behind this. There are small mangroves fringing this saltmarsh on the water side which makes it very hard to do a count when the tide is high. Yesterday's tide should have been perfect - but as we paddled within sight of the roosting birds we saw a dingo skulking along behind the roosting birds. The dingo was black so possibly one of the ones that have cross-bred with dogs in this area. The birds, of course, were disturbed. The dingo took off but it took a while for the birds to settle again. As well as this there were a pair of Whistling Kites patrolling the area and later also a Brahminy Kite. Often it is possible to get quite close to roosting birds without disturbing them but not after all this. We used a spotting scope and hoped that they would stay settled for long enough to get a good count. We counted 535 birds and saw local birds - Red-capped Plovers, Pied Oystercatchers, a Little Egret, and a White-faced Heron; - as well as overwintering migrants - Red-necked Stints, Great Knots, Greenshanks, Grey-tailed Tattler, Whimbrels, Bar-tailed Godwits, and Eastern Curlew. The highest counts were the Bar-tailed Godwit – 188, and the Grey-tailed Tattler – 185. The Great Knots were in constant motion feeding along the edge of the water. All the other birds were resting. I have seen birds feeding constantly like this right after they come down from a migration flight but I would think it was too early for this species to be returning. I enjoy monitoring the birds like this because I usually end up with more questions for which to try and find answers.
Saturday, August 2, 2008
The other flower was up on a ridge growing on a rocky piece of ground where hardly anything else was growing. My friend had never seen this flower before, although we eventually found it described in a book about the vegetation of the Noosa area. It is a Small Waxlip Orchid (Glossodia minor).
Please feel free to correct any mistakes I have made in ID of plants.