Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Fickle Fate

The weather has been perfect for more than a week and early high tides have made great opportunities for kayaking. I had a successful bird count on Sunday - although did not find the numbers of birds that I have seen at this roost on previous years. Then Monday we had very graciously been offered a boat to take us to three roosts that we don't usually count as they are all a distance away and accessible only by water. I was certainly looking forward to this and expecting to see large numbers of shorebirds at these three roosts. It was a beautiful day and we saw some beautiful scenery with an expert skipper to take us around.
The Carlo Island Complex roost was first but unfortunately we did not see any birds. The boat was just too big to get through the mangroves and there was not enough water to get around them! The boat skipper said that in his opinion only a little flat bottom punt would get where we wanted to go. This was the first disappointment.
Oh well, off to the Smooger's Point roost next. It is nearly a year since I have kayaked here and I expected similar numbers and species of birds as I saw then. Disappointment again! Two birds only - a Grey-tailed Tattler and a Red-necked Stint. I have no idea why the birds were not at this roost.
The third roost was at Seary's Creek and I expected to see Whimbrels here. We counted 240 Whimbrels, 80 Grey-tailed Tattler and 17 Common Greenshank. At least we had found birds at this roost - but where were the others we expected to see? Which roost were they using with this kind of tide height?
The next day I drove around to Inskip Point to see how much of the sand island was out of the water at high tide and what numbers of birds were using it. I did not expect to do a count from the shoreline as my equipment is not good enough at that distance but I could estimate general numbers. Once again there were far fewer birds than I had expected but the reason was obvious to see. A boat was anchored on one side of the island and there were 4 people out walking and finding suitable places to fish!
This is where fickle fate decided to be kind! I walked through the bush to the point and back again. It was late morning and very hot so not too many bush birds were stirring - BUT - I saw three different lots of Black-breasted Button-quail! This is more than I have ever seen before and I got some photos - one quite good one and a couple of "interesting" ones. The first photo is a male, the second is a male and a female, and the third one I am not sure of. The color is a little different and I am wondering if some are juveniles? Any suggestions welcomed!


  1. Hi Mick
    Never seen those ones, but I have seen their cousin - the Painted Button-Quail.
    looks like you have the whole family, to me.
    Same weird little white eyes, and the colour looks right (similar to the females).
    Nice work.

  2. Thanks Denis. Interesting that you have a similar species down your way. As you know these are the iconic species for Inskip Point. I have never seen this many and certainly never got such good photos. The other two I saw were well back in behind bushes and busily scratching in the leaf litter.

  3. Mick, well done on the BBBQs. I always enjoy yours posts. keep it up.

  4. Thanks Tony. I look for the BBBQs ever time I go out there but they are not always visible.

  5. done, Mick. Sorry can't help with quail ID, but I'm sure locals down there will help out.

  6. Hi Tony, Finally, heh! And purely by chance, too.