Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Mullens in the Morning

It's been a month since I was out on the kayak so it felt really good to have an early morning tide and very little predicted wind until the afternoon. When I got down to the shoreline at Mullens it was a perfect morning! I kayaked about a kilometer and a half north and only saw 3 fishermen across all the expanse of the bay. It was so quiet with the only sounds the calling of bush birds in the bush along the shoreline. I then went around into the wide shallow waters of the site we call the Mullens roost.

Entering the roost from this northern end it can look as if there are very few birds roosting anywhere but sitting still on the kayak and letting the tide drift me slowly southward I could hear Godwits on the west side of the roost and further to the south. The birds must have been sitting and preening and resting here in the shallow water for some time because I started to see feathers drifting on the surface of the water.

Eventually I saw quite large numbers of birds - mixed flocks of Bar-tailed Godwits, Eastern Curlews, Gull-billed Terns and the smaller birds in amongst the vegetation.

Something disturbed all the birds and they flew up and overhead. This photo is of Godwits and one Great Knott. (The Great Knot is slightly smaller and with a shorter dark bill.)

They wheeled above me for a few minutes then came down again in front of me.

I always enjoy seeing the beautiful under-wing feather patterns. Also, stretched out like this in a line it is easier to ID the females and males. When they are in breeding plumage the males are very obvious with a full dark chestnut color down the breast. In non-breeding plumage it is their size and length of the bill which ID's them - the females are slightly larger and have a longer bill.

As they all settled down again I saw this juvenile Godwit. The feather pattern is different in the juveniles but they moult into full adult plumage within a couple of months. It is amazing to think that these young birds have made the direct flight from Alaska at only a few months of age.

There were also a few Great Knots roosting among the Godwits. The Great Knots still have some of the spots and splashes of breeding plumage down their breasts. These will soon fade and the breast will be a creamy white until they again change into breeding plumage next autumn.

For more scenery from around the world visit Our World Tuesday

and for more birds visit Wild Bird Wednesday.

37 comments:

  1. must be awesome to have the place almost to yourself!

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  2. What a fantastic day to be on the water -- and just you and the birds!! I love it!! Wonderful captures as always, Mick!! Thank you for sharing the fun and the beauty!! Those birds do look happy!!

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  3. What a lovely day you had, Mick! Those close ups are beautiful!! I didn't know that the female Godwits had longer bills. I will remember that next time I am visiting the roost in Wellington Point or while watching along the foreshore at Wynnum.

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  4. Nice shots of all the shorebirds, Mick! I especially like the details of the plumage. It's really interesting to see the differences in ages and molting stages. Simply beautiful scenery!

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  5. What a lovely sight. Gorgeous shots!

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  6. Great to see you back on the water, hope the birds will be still there when we come down to count them soon.

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  7. Wonderful images from your outing. The birds and scenery are beautiful. Have a great week ahead!

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  8. A great way to see shorebirds Mick..... are the Godwits bar tailed or Black tailed?

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  9. What brilliant waders. From Findlay

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  10. wonderful pixs love the shorebirds....lovely!!!thanks for your comments on my blog

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  11. What a fabulous spot to go kayaking. Beautiful scenery and lots of birds to watch. That ought to he heaven on earth for you. Nice post. g

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  12. You captured a wonderful flurry of activity!
    I like the shot of the feather in the water very much.

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  13. The only thing missing with these brilliant images is sound, oh to hear what they sound like...happy sounds, I am sure ;)

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  14. I can't imagine birding froma kayak Mick but it obviously works in being able to get close up views and brilliant photos too.

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  15. HI What a wonderful way to see waders and get shots of them also.

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  16. Lovely shorebird shots Mick but I love the feather photo the most.

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  17. Excellent images....extraordinary captures.

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  18. It's a gorgeous place to visit even without the birds. Fabulous shots of the birds.

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  19. The kayak gives you such a good vantage point and your pictures are wonderful. I love that you have knowledge of the birds that you photograph enough to share your appreciation of what they accomplish just by surviving.

    Andrea @ From The Sol

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  20. So lovely to be out in your kayak on that calm water. Kayaking is another thing I miss, we used to have a 60 acre block on the Murray and I'd explore all the billabongs in the area . Loved the peace and solitude, didn't even mind the speedboats on the river itself as they rocked the kayak. Nice to see the birds settling down around you again.
    PS Saltbush berries come in red, orange and clear and all have different flavours.

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  21. Fabulous shots Mick! I could never master taking photos while kayaking!

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  22. I love all the Godwits! I think I would love kayaking with you watching all of the amazing birds. What a beautiful trek you make to see all of these beauties:) Thank you for sharing.

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  23. Beautiful shots of the shorebirds! I like the feather, too!

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  24. Wonderful place to see these lovely birds.

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  25. Gorgeous images. What a wonderful idea to drift along and let the birds engulf you. I don't believe we have Godwits here but other similar shorebirds The Skagit is a wintering place for all sorts of birds and Raptors. The Eagles pretty much stay along the shore line of the bays and rivers here. They are after fish. MB

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  26. Wonderful shots from your kayak - what a great way to explore the bird's habitat. I love the shot of the single feather.

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  27. Hi Mick... Stunning the shot # 6 of them coming down in front of you , "just love it "!!
    Thanks for sharing Mullen's morning!! : )

    Grace

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  28. You have make beautiful photos!
    Greetings, RW & SK

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  29. Great shots - we are getting some godwit in our neck of the woods now.

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

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  30. gorgeous images. Love the action shots. :)

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  31. OH what a beautiful day you had. I love the birds of course and the scenery, but I am enthralled with the floating feather...that one picture alone gives such a good idea of the quiet calm you experienced in your kayak...and so interesting to think about that it was there because the birds were preening.....

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  32. That feather floating in the water is just a beauty, Mick. I'd be happy to have that poster size on my wall! I wish my camera were advanced enough to get some of the inflight shots. So dramatic--and to be able to see the wing patterns. You had a good day.

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  33. The feather in the water is great. I never miss a feather photo op. And if it was dry I'd take it home.

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  34. Great action shots. Spring beautiful spring.

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