Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Ready to Migrate

Well, the very heavy rain has stopped! My yard has dried enough for me to get the lawn mower over it but there is still lots of water lying in low places along the roads. I can just imagine how wet some of the walking trails are! There are still short sharp rain showers every day which is enough to keep the water levels up. Of course heat plus water equals mosquitoes - and lots of them! It is still not good weather for kayaking as there have been strong winds every day and I am just not into extreme effort in kayaking! So to see shorebirds up close it was off out to Inskip again in the early morning.
Rainbow Beach is about half way to Inskip from where I live. This was the view from Rainbow Beach.  Looking south towards Double Island Point it was very hazy so I decided to bring the trees into sharp focus and leave the rest showing the haze.

Looking north towards Fraser Island the sea was very rough and the force of the recent weather showed in the high sand cliffs at the edge of the water and the piles of broken trees and branches that littered what beach was left.

I had checked the weather reports before I left home but out at Inskip Point the wind was far higher than I expected. I had trouble standing still and even though I was using a monopod for my camera a lot of photos were blurred from the wind gusts. There was lots of sea foam washing over the point and dropped there with every wave that washed and then receded. There were a variety of shorebirds but the Bar-tailed Godwits were especially interesting. They looked ready for migration and will be leaving over the next few days and weeks. They fly directly to the Yellow Sea area between China and Korea. Then they rest and eat for a month or 6 weeks and then do another long flight to Alaska where they breed. 
Both of the Godwits in the next photo are showing how fat they get before they start migrating. The male has the dark red plumage but the female is still showing very little color. (Males are slightly smaller than the females and their bill is slightly shorter.)

This female Godwit is showing more color - and very intent on preening each feather into place. Look at the contortions necessary to preen everywhere with that long bill!



On the north side of the Point there is a small lip of sand which drops down to the water. There were numbers of Godwits feeding in the softer sand as each wave came in and then retreated.The drifts of foam were all along the water's edge.

Most of the time they timed the waves perfectly and scurried out of reach of the bigger ones. Sometimes however it was necessary to use their wings to fly/hop out of reach.

Then it was back down to the water's edge to feed between waves.

For more photos from around the world visit Our World Tuesday

and for more bird photos visit Wild Bird Wednesday.



37 comments:

  1. Great series!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

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  2. sweet up-turned beaks. love the wing-spread/hop in the 2nd to last photo. :)

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  3. Excellent photos of the birds feeding.

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  4. Such a wonderful place and your birds are beautiful, Mick! Terrific captures for the day!! Hope you have a great week!

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  5. Great series they sure look fat for the trip they are about to go on.

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  6. Oh gee that's kind of a sad story, it finally stops raining and what do you have to do but mow the lawn! Glad you were able to break free to get down to the shore -- and to take those beautiful pictures...I especially love the preening pictures (and it does look like they're getting their neck stretches for sure!)

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  7. Pretty scenery and great shots of the Godwits. The male's color is gorgeous. I happy to hear that your rain is stopped and your are drying out. Thanks for sharing, have a great week ahead!

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  8. Such a long time since I was up along your coast. Rainbow beach certainly has changed. I remember it with a broad expanse of sandy beach and kingfishers feasting on tiny crabs.
    Delicious shots of the preening Godwit. Thanks Mick.

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  9. You certainly have had a lot of rain over your way. I love your close up bird pics. Fabulous series.
    Thanks for stopping over at my blog today. Have a wonderful week.

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  10. Mick, a joy to be visiting your blog everytime.Great captures.Have a great day!

    Shantana

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  11. What a wonderful series, Mick!! I can only assume that I have not seen the males as all the Godwits I have photographed are much paler in colour... I wonder why it is that the females are the only ones in our area??
    I do love Godwits and watching them preen is quite intriguing.

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  12. Wonderful set of pictures. I had a few godwit in the scope this weekend showing colour - but no decent pictures.

    WBW will be up in about 5 hours!'

    Cheers - Stewart M

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  13. Australia has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Terrific shots of the Godwits!

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  14. Those seas do look a bit rough!
    Great images of the birds preparing for their long flight.

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  15. I really hope they all have a safe flight. From Findlay

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  16. Beautiful shots, have a great day.

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  17. Lovely serie of photos, great photowork!

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  18. Super image shares. I especially like the first of the preening...the one with the beak partially exposed through the feathers...and then, the last image ---with the breaking sea in the background.

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  19. second shot is very beautiful. It looks like it is painted.

    Today you have very nice closeups of the vaders. :)

    I hope your weather condition will improve soon.

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  20. Hi Mick...I love this post...these shore birds are wonderful and so are your photos!!
    The preening, and jumping in the waves I loved those!!
    Sorry about all your rain, this is a gorgeous place!!
    grace

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  21. Great shots and very interesting information on migrating gotwits!

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  22. It certainly looks like they are being too phased by the weather. Taking it in stride and making themselves look good.
    Nicely captured Mick!

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  23. Great pictures of preening, quite an art with a beak that long.
    I thought the foam was snow when I first saw it.

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  24. Beautiful / large image series :) Hanne Bente

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  25. Wonderful images of the Godwits, Mick.

    I thought that we'd had it wet and windy enough in UK, but it seems that it's nothing compared to what you've had!

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  26. Very nice pictures, like them where they are preening! Good the heavy rains has stopped.

    Thanks Mick, for your nice comment and compassion! :)
    Greetings Pia

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  27. Wonderful shots! The second to last is awesome with the bird in mid-step.

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  28. Superb shots of the preening godwits Mick.I recently looked at a map which showed the migration route and distance that Bar-tails fly - awesome.

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  29. Wonderful sequence of shots. Very informative.

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  30. I am so upset!! These shorebird photos are incredible and we have no shorebirds this year, hopefully they will fly over here. It is time for some to arrive here.. You really got some good close ups Mick! cheers.

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  31. What L-O-N-G bills those birds have! Very interesting! Great shots!

    Thanks for your visit to my Joy4Today blog!

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  32. This makes me want to go to the beach and frolic in the water and take birding images all day, wow, just love it!

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  33. They are beautiful birds, and your photos are fantastic to see!

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  34. I love your godwit photos! You did well with all that wind.

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  35. OH MY! So many new birds to me. You have a steady hand to get a Wren that sharp - they sure do love to keep active. Beautiful scenery and it is interesting how the focal point changes the story to a photo.

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