I went out to Inskip Point again last Friday - and again found lots of shorebirds. Before describing the birds I need to write a little more about this area and why there are so many shorebirds here during the summer. Inskip Point is on the mainland and across from the southern end of Fraser Island. Fraser Island is a very popular tourist destination and the largest sand island in the world. This is a map of the area taken from Google World. (All pictures enlarge when clicked on.)
The waterways which separate Fraser Island from the mainland are known as the Great Sandy Strait. These waterways also continue south from Fraser Island but the only tidal access for this southern area is between the southern end of the Island and Inskip Point. The Great Sandy Strait is listed as a wetland of international significance and is listed under the Ramsar Convention. During our summer up to 45,000 shorebirds use the area.
I live down on the most southerly part of the Strait and I watch shorebirds from Inskip Point south. Inskip Point and the Mullens roost site are the only roosts which are accessible by land. When I can't get out on my kayak I visit one or the other of these roosts to see shorebirds. Inskip Point has the most shorebirds to see providing it is an early high tide and also providing that you get out there soon after sunrise before there is traffic across the Point. It is perfectly legal to drive across the Point as this is where the barge waits to take vehicles across to Fraser Island. The other morning the barge did not stop at the Point but went straight across to Fraser Island. There were large numbers of birds all packed into a small area.
A few birds were feeding away from the rest of the flock and walking close to the water. This photo shows Bar-tailed Godwits and a Caspian Tern.
I took numbers of photos of this tightly packed group of birds. I thought that I would at least be able to see some of the individuals that made up the flock when I put the photos up on the computer. I will not deliberately disturb a roosting flock of birds. However, the barge had returned to the Point and I knew there would soon be traffic across the sand. The first vehicle was a Ranger's vehicle for the National Park. He was very good and waited for me to finish the photo I was taking, then drove slowly past and kept as far away from the birds as possible. The next vehicle also drove slowly and away from the birds. However, the next one drove fairly fast right down the middle of the sand and all the birds were disturbed! Yes, it's legal - but it's frustrating for the bird watcher and I wonder what the birds think about it!
Some of the flock flew off to find somewhere else to roost and numbers of them went right out to the end of the point and packed in there on a very small amount of sand.
A few flew down and rested right on the edge of the sand and close to the water.
There were also large numbers of medium sized birds in amongst the larger Godwits. However, I am going to post about those next week. I am unlikely to be able to get out again this week. We have just had 234mm (that is more than 9 inches!) of rain in the last two days. It is still raining this morning but not nearly so heavily. The Bureau of Meteorology is predicting showers for at least the next seven days. We are cut off from Gympie again, and the highway south of Gympie is also cut. Part of the central business district of Gympie is going underwater again this morning. This is the third time since the new year! Even for the tropics this is excessive!
For more photos from around the world visit Our World Tuesday
and for more bird photos visit Wild Bird Wednesday.