Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Carlo Island Roost Site

The weather and tides were good last week and I was able to kayak around to the roost site that the QWSG (Queensland Wader Studies Group) calls the Carlo Island Complex. I was joined by friends who are more knowledgeable than I am about the mangroves. They are part of a group that are monitoring mangroves in the area as part of an on-going study for the University of Queensland. They hadn't been into this area before and I hoped that they might be able to find some information about the rather strange growth habit of the mangroves where the Whimbrels roost.
We kayaked around in this area where the Whimbrels roost during the summer and saw no shorebirds at all. Then we went on further to the northern part of the bay and checked there for shorebirds as well. This small boat was lying on the sand among the mangroves. It was broken up and we wondered if it had drifted in here after some of the big storms and high winds we have had recently.
We saw very few shorebirds in this area either - just some Little Egrets and a couple of Pied Oystercatchers.
The birds disturbed when we got out of the kayaks and walked around on the shoreline to check for any more birds. When we kayaked back towards Carlo we found them roosting on another part of the shoreline. We had heard a Common Greenshank when we first kayaked into the area but had not then seen it. Now it was roosting with a group of 9 Little Egrets and the 2 Pied Oystercatchers we had seen earlier.
We saw no shorebirds apart from these few birds. During the summer this area is a roost site for large numbers of migratory shorebirds. Now I am wondering if the roost is not used by migratory shorebirds during the winter at all. (Some migratory birds stay all year - either the ones too young to migrate yet or old and unfit birds.) This roost is monitored very seldom because the access is so difficult unless you come in by kayak. There are too few people counting for the QWSG and the bay is a very large place. However, it was interesting to find another pair of Oystercatchers as these birds always use the same small portion of the shoreline on which to roost. I have watched pairs of Pied Oystercatchers in exactly the same places for the 7 years I have been living here. Apart from these resident birds we do get quite large groups that come in and stay for a few weeks then take off again. This photo was taken in January of 2009.
Kayaking back to the Carlo boat launch area there are good views across the bay to Tin Can Bay. Sitting down in the kayak gives a different perspective on the bay. You seem to be surrounded by an immense area of water and even the sky is a long way off!


  1. Looks like another beautiful day on the bay. Wish I was there.

  2. Hi Neil, yes it was beautiful. However, the tide was not a very big one and by the time we were going back there were a few rather shallow places. Wouldn't have wanted to pull the kayak over the flats!

  3. love this post , looks like a great time and gorgeous day with some excellent sightings- i love any kind of oystercatcher - love that shot!

  4. Hi JN. Oystercatchers always make a good photo with their distinctive coloring. I think the ones you have in north America are a slightly different variety of bird.