I have just come back from a great morning out at what the QWSG calls the "Carlo Island Complex Roost". We tried to survey this roost by kayak last time but got into the mangroves in the centre and couldn't find a way through. This time thanks to Neil and Kel and family we went in by 4 wheel drive to the northern side of the roost. The track in was narrow and in a normal season would be very wet and boggy. Because we have had so little rain for the last 5 months today it was quite dry. There had also been a lot of quite large trees blown down over the track but someone had fairly recently cut and moved enough so you could drive in.
The track ends right on the edge of the sand. Immediately ahead is an area of sand, saltmarsh, sedges, and then mangroves fringing the deeper channels of water. Click on the images to enlarge.
Looking south-east the sand blow above Rainbow Beach is easy to see and a closer view shows some of the houses also.
There was no noise of traffic or boats today. The only sounds were from little bush creatures and birds calling. We were there about an hour before high tide. The area is so low that the tide quickly covered the sand and flooded around the low-growing plants.
This site is huge and very complex. When we first got there we couldn't see any large roosting shorebirds but as the tide came in they flew up in huge flocks and whirled off over the mangroves. From our trip out in the kayaks the other week it is possible that some of the Godwits might roost with the Whimbrels in the mangroves but this would hardly be likely for the Eastern Curlew. We could not see any place where the Eastern Curlew were coming in to roost but we think there must be some sand banks further out in the bay - perhaps near Carlo Island - where they roost on the higher tides.
We had heard Red-capped Plover as soon as we stepped out onto the sand. As the tide came in we found a large flock of Red-capped Plover and Red-necked Stint standing in the water and among the saltmarsh plants.
I am leaving it to Neil to tell in detail about the birds we saw and the numbers that Kel counted. Kel is very experienced in counting birds so when he is with us Neil and I can just get on with taking photos! Go over to Neil's blog for the rest of the story.