Thursday, October 22, 2009

Inskip Point

Yesterday was such a beautiful day - sunny again and not too much wind - so I decided to take the kayak and paddle out to the sand island at Inskip Point. Most times when I go out there I just take the camera and have a great time with all the photo opportunities. This time I took my spotting scope as well as I hoped to get a count of the birds. As I paddled out I could see large areas where the sand was closely covered with birds and was considering where I could get out onto the sand to set up the scope or if I should just drift in closely and stay in the kayak and count without the scope. However, it was to be neither! A couple of men came by in a small netting boat and first rushed close by the end of the island and put up all the birds, there then went around the other side and came close in while they let out the net along the entire length of the island. The result was that most of the birds flew up and I had views of several flocks with hundreds of birds in each. Some very small flocks came back down but most flew off to find somewhere that they would not be disturbed.
Even the pelicans decided to stalk off and swim out away from the disturbance. (I counted 60 pelicans in this flock.) However, they soon realized that as the net was taken in again there would possibly be small fish discarded. They came back to the island and walked across the sand... then went into the water on the other side and made for the boat. I was not close enough to see how many fish they actually got but I would say that these pelicans are used to looking for free feeds this way.
I took photos of the small flocks of shorebirds that had settled back down on both ends of the island. When I got home and put the photos up on to the computer screen I saw that I had taken photos of another Ruddy Turnstone in among the Eastern Curlews and the single Godwit in the photo.
The flock at the other end of the island was mainly Godwits but there were some Knots as well. I am still not really sure of ID-ing Great Knot from Red Knot - especially when the photos were taken against the light! I think that the Knot with red down the front and belly area are Red Knot. I welcome help with this ID.


  1. G'day Mick,
    Lovely stuff. You certainly share a great place with the birds there. Do you feel concerned about the fisherman taking too much? Obviously the Pelicans enjoy their presence momentarily, but what of the future?
    Sorry, I canknot help with the ID!
    Loved the Dollarbird shot by the way. Haven't got near enough to one yet myself. Well done.

  2. Hi Gouldiae, I agree this is a great place to live! re the fish - I am not a fisherman (fisherperson??) but my neighbor who is a keen fisherman says that netters have ruined the fish stocks inside the bay. I don't know if there is evidence to back this up or if it's simply a "fisherman's complaint"! I certainly wish the boats wouldn't come so close to that sand island but there are no signs or laws to stop them.

  3. Hi Mick, How annoying to have your non-invasive activity disrupted by fishermen with nets. I fear that our limited resources can not support 'netters' and it is a great pity that the activity is not restricted. I enjoyed your wader bird photos as always but like Gouldiae am unable to help with ID.

  4. Thanks Barbara. I have talked by phone to a couple of friends and they think I am right that the birds are Red Knots. I need more photos - and good ones! - to be really sure of the ID for next time.

  5. Wish we had a wader spot like that Mick!

  6. Hi Mick
    Isn't the Great Sandy Straits a designated Ramsar Wetland? I would have assumed that meant the whole thing was protected?

  7. Great photos, Mick. I love the second one with all the pelicans marching in a line.

  8. Hi Duncan, This is a wonderful place and time of the year for the waders. I just hope nobody gets tired of hearing about them for the next few months!

    Hi Denis, Yes, it is a designated Ramsar wetlands - and no, such activities are not restricted. In fact I have been surprised at how little is changed by listing it as a Ramsar site :-(

    Hi Wren, Pelicans are some of my favorite birds for the interesting ways they commonly act - and there were more than 60 of them out on the sandbank that morning.

  9. You do see such lovely collections of birds on your expeditions. Great photos of the pelicans, etc.