Tuesday, February 26, 2013

So Many Birds!

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. 
Bar-tailed Godwits.

 There are always numbers of Red-capped Plovers and Red-necked Stints. I have lots of photos of these birds but can never resist trying for more. These little birds are so tiny and cute! They also seem much less concerned about getting close to a bird watcher and will even walk closer when they are hunting across the sand for things to eat. 
Red-necked Stints.
Red-capped Plover

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.

31 comments:

  1. wow, they're packed in! nice shots! love that little red-cap at the end. so cute.

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  2. Beautiful photos, glad we managed a couple of day without rain so we could get out and see all the birds at Inskip.

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  3. Great post for the day, Mick, and that is a LOT of birds! Terrific captures!! Hope you have a great week!

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  4. ah, there are those little birds again - love them. so cute.
    Have a wonderful week.

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  5. I would love to see that many beautiful birds on the beach. Your photos are awesome, as always.

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  6. Love all your bird photo Mick.
    Rain, and more rain - we've had enough too. I guess we'll have a green winter until frosts hit.

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  7. Mick, these are awesome photos. Sad to hear the one car drove straight thru and scared your flock. The Red Capped Plover is adorable. I hope the rain eases up some, the flooding sounds awful. Thanks for sharing your birds and world. Have a great week!

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  8. Wow what a mass of birds!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

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  9. Godwits! what a great name for a bird. wonderful to see birds flourishing somewhere.

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  10. Beautiful! I'm sorry the birds were disturbed, but my very favorite shot is the one where they are all flying away.

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  11. Great shots, crowded but still nice to see!

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  12. a wonderful trip; beautiful waterbirds in great abundance

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  13. thanks for talking a bit about the area. Very interesting place. And so many birds. Unbeliveable.

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  14. They really are packed in..and but so cute in their close ups! I really appreciated the explanation of where you are and why you have so many birds. (Always mean to do more research w mr google, but laziness takes over). You live in a birder's Paradise ( except for the too wet part occasionally).

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  15. Holy Moly - that's a lot of birds! Great shots though - thanks for sharing.

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  16. I am so impressed with the quantity of shorebirds....really a lot of them there, so nice to see as we have not had any shorebirds come in yet. Oh great shots also thanks for sharing.

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  17. WAU - so many birds. Wish you a good day :)

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  18. Thanks for the map Mick, it helps to put your sightings into the larger context and to realise you live in such a great birding spot. The Red-capped Plover is such a lovely little plover too. It's a real shame that birds in most parts of the developed world are subject to so much disturbance - and worse.

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  19. Wonderful set of pictures. I got a bit excited at the flash of red in the picture below the barge - but closer examination shows it to be the bill of a caspian tern!

    If ever I was going to find a flag it would have been in these pictures!!!

    Thanks for the comment on the "pair" of Godwit.

    Cheers and thanks for linking to WBW

    Stewart M - Melbourne

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  20. It's nice when a passerby defers to the photographer, or at least offers. Some folks have no consideration for others. What a biomass of birds! That ferry has interesting symmetry. Hope the rains let up.

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  21. That was really many birds!
    Like the photo where a lot of them are flying up, even it's not so good for them to be disturbed.
    I hope it will stop raining by you now!
    Greetings Pia

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  22. What a fabulous place you live in Mick. Superb selection of shorebirds, but that Red-capped Plover is my favourite. Wonderful photos!

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  23. That is a "bird herd" if I ever saw one!

    Thanks for the visit to my blog, and I really enjoyed visiting yours in return!

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  24. Wow, I am speechless! So many birds, and you showed us where, too. Nice touch. Great header photo.

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  25. The number of birds in your shot of the disturbed flock is amazing!
    Lovely lighting on the Red-capped Plover - nice capture.
    I hope your rain comes to an end soon. I have snow today. :)

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  26. Great to see where you are! Beautiful pics too. When I did my honours project on disturbance to hooded plovers I would get really annoyed seeing all sorts of things tramping through their nesting areas! Drive me crazy...

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  27. Great place! I would love to see all those beautiful birds. Love your photos!

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  28. It's amazing to see how these birds pack together. I guess they enjoy togetherness!

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  29. Wow!! A great informative post. The birds are so packed in!!
    Your last 3 shots are particularly wonderful. I love the Godwits and reflections. The Red-necked Stints and the Red-capped Plovers are gorgeous! (I wonder was I correct in my ID of the Great Knots in my post last week??)

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