Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Birds and Mangroves

I kayaked over to the Carlo Island roost site yesterday. I wanted to see if I could find a way through the mangroves to the other side of the Whimbrel roost and also to the north side of the bay where we went in a 4 wheel drive vehicle last month. No, I could not get to the other side of the Whimbrel roost but, Yes, I found a way to the north shoreline.
There are a number of different mangrove varieties in this area with quite different growth habits in different areas.
The mangroves where the Whimbrels roost are quite distinctive. They don't have rounded crowns as most mangroves do but almost look to be broken off at the same height - although there are some higher branches where Whimbrels roost and watch for any disturbances. There are thick stems/trunks visible so they are not just young trees. There is new healthy growth all through the area so they are not dead or dying trees. It is only in the roost area that the trees are like this. Surrounding areas have larger well-shaped trees as well as much smaller and younger trees. I would be interested in any opinions as to the reason - from those who have more knowledge about mangroves than I do.
When I kayaked through the mangroves to the north shoreline I found the Godwits and Eastern Curlew were roosting in the shallow water at the edge of the bay. I stayed well away so I didn't disturb the birds - the Godwits stayed where they were but some Eastern Curlew flew.
I saw a number of Orange Mangroves (Bruguiera gymnorhiza) with both flowers and fruit on them. The red colored flowers made a nice contrast with the dark green leaves.
Next to these Orange Mangroves were some with white flowers (not yet open) and much longer fruit - Red Mangroves (Rhizophora stylosa) I think - although I am still having trouble identifying some of the mangroves.
While paddling slowly and quietly through these mangroves I saw a Striated Heron. This one let me get quite close without showing any signs of being disturbed. It turned and looked me over and then went back to looking the other way.
The round trip was a bit over 6 kilometers and the hardest part is always getting the kayak back up on the car! This photo is looking from the Carlo boat launch back towards Tin Can Bay.


  1. Hi Mick
    Interesting post about the different Mangroves.
    Down south I only ever see the ones with a rounded double-sided fruit, like a small clasp purse (but half open).
    But I have read about other species - different genera. But I was surprised tio see the long fruit.
    Good that there are still lots of birds out there - but quite a deal getting out there, obviously.
    Keep it up, though.

  2. Hi Mick, your Mangrove ID is correct. Re the 'flat-top' look - maybe just a consequence of the Whimbrels frequent roosting?
    Dr Norm Duke (UQ) has published an excellent book on Mangroves - its even waterproof so you could take it in the kayak.
    all the best

  3. Great side on photo of the Striated Heron.
    It made a nice change to see some warm views with blue skies. Nothing but thick dark clouds for the past two days.

  4. Hi Denis, the mangroves you mention were the only ones I knew too until I came up here. I have a friend who laughs at me because I still have trouble with the mangrove species but no trouble with shorebirds! I shall learn them in time, also.

    Hi Barbara, thanks for the confirmation of the mangrove ID. I wondered about the whimbrels roosting there for many years also but have had others say it is unlikely. It is unusual to see. I have recently bought another book on the local flora and it does have some excellent photos of mangroves.

    Hi John, I think you would find the summer weather a bit too hot after all the cold and snow up your way. I retreat inside during the middle of the day and am grateful for a nice sea breeze.

  5. Great pic of the heron. Well done!

  6. Thanks Tony, but good luck rather than good management!