There was an early high tide this morning and almost no wind - perfect conditions for a kayak. I decided to search for birds which have been flying off from a roost before I can either get a good view or count them.
First - because I am putting this post up on the Bird Photography Weekly Website I will post a photo of the only shorebird I got close to this morning - a Grey-tailed Tattler. Now for some details and scenic photos of my kayak trip.
I am first posting an image from Google Earth where I have marked the points where I kayaked. Google Earth makes this easy by allowing you to save the image you are viewing as a jpg image. All images can be clicked on and enlarged.
(1.) I set off from the Mullens Creek Picnic area and paddled out to the area we know as the "Airport Roost" (2.) However, before I even got that far a flock of Grey-tailed Tattlers had flown overhead and disappeared up into the Mullens Creek area. We haven't yet found out what is frightening off all the birds from this roost this year. The "Airport" roost only had a couple of Pied Oystercatchers left roosting on the sand so I set off for the other side of the bay.
(3.) It is quite a distance across here - I estimate about 1 1/2 Kms - but a pleasant paddle with calm conditions. From this point you can look further south to the Carland Creek area which is the most southerly portion of the Great Sandy Strait.
I have previously found birds roosting along the sand spit here but this morning there was nothing to be seen. I pulled the kayak up on the sand and walked behind the front line of mangroves and found a bigger area than I had expected. Most of it was very low lying and partly covered with the tide although there were several more sand spits intersecting the area. It was all more or less covered with different kinds of mangroves. I was wandering around and watching the Mangrove Honeyeaters which were flying around when I heard a soft call and recognized the call of Terek Sandpipers. These were the birds I had hoped to find. They were well hidden among the mangroves and I doubt that I would have seen them without first hearing them call. However, they obviously could see me and I had time to get one photo - good enough only for ID - before they flew off. I counted about 40-50 birds. This is the only part of the Southern Great Sandy Strait where I have seen these birds.
I paddled back across the bay and then up into Mullens Creek (4.) which is another area filled with mangroves.
Once again I heard birds before I saw them - this time Grey-tailed Tattlers. They were roosting in mangrove trees which had very open branches to give them a good view of whatever was around. I counted 30+birds. 70-80 total birds is not a huge number for this roost and not as many as we have counted on previous years. Now that I know for sure where the birds are flying off to I will need to repeat this same kayak trip in another few weeks.