Monday, October 20, 2014

Half Tide at Mullens

Mullens foreshore is a great place for a walk if you don't have much time. These photos were taken a couple of weeks apart but on a similar tide. I did not see any birds on the first walk so saved the photos for later when I did see birds!

These are commonly called Soldier Crabs and there can be thousands of them walking over the sand. I hadn't seen any for some time - I guess crabs must also have seasons or cycles? They are very quick at moving away if they hear/feel steps close by. Sometimes they just head for the nearest puddle of water and quickly disappear. It's really surprising how quickly they can 'sink' under the sand.

These photos were taken a day ago. The morning was overcast and as I left home there was a quick shower of rain. Down on the foreshore it had cleared a little. Looking north-east there was blue sky and sunny patches.

Looking south it was very dark. There were a number of Gull-billed Terns swooping down and picking up food from the sand or shallow pools of water.

There was quite a strong wind blowing and shorebirds usually find a sheltered area to rest or feed . Apart from the Terns this was the only bird I saw. From a distance I thought it might be a Red-necked Stint but as I got closer I could see it wasn't quite the right size or shape. It was against the light which made ID harder.

I moved away a little and tried to get the light shining on the bird - but I had only one quick chance before it flew off. I managed one photo with it partly obscured by a small mangrove plant and one more photo as it was stretched out just before it flew. It was a juvenile Sharp-tailed Sandpiper which is not a species I usually see here on the foreshore. 

For more scenery from around the world visit Our World Tuesday

and for more birds visit Wild Bird Wednesday.


32 comments:

  1. wow, those crabs are neat! i'd imagine birds find them tasty.

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  2. Great to see the Sharp-tailed Sandpiper.

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  3. Wonderful images. I have never seen these crabs before.

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  4. Such ominous clouds gathering.

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  5. Ah, have to agree with Tex!! Great crabs and great captures for the day Mick, as always! Hope you have a great new week!

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  6. A wonderful post... I've never seen crabs in such numbers.

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  7. Fantastic post and I really love those soldier crabs. The Sandpiper is awesome.

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  8. The crabs are neat! And the Sandpiper is pretty.. I would think the birds would have a feast on all those crabs.. Great post, thanks for sharing.. Enjoy your new week!

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  9. Beautiful photography ~ crab crowd is amazing and the birds are delightful ~ Great shots!

    Happy Week to you.

    artmusedog and carol (A Creative Harbor)

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  10. The first question my Chinese genes would ask, are the crabs edible? When I was young, I helped my neighbours collect these crabs.

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    1. HI Ann, I don't know of anyone around here eating those crabs - except for the birds of course. There are some MUCH bigger crabs commonly called Muddies or Mud Crabs which are eaten as a great delicacy.

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  11. I love the mud crab. My family live on the Gold coast, and we buy these giant crab to cook the famous Singaporean Chilli crab.

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  12. Wonderful shots - aren't those crabs delightful!

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  13. I remembered seeing on TV film footage of the mass migration of crabs and I found the below on You Tube and its from Cuba but I'm sure what you witnessed was similar. As you say, all or most animals migrate or at least explore.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rMnrb7ET8T4

    Only ever seen one Sharp tailed in the UK (over 25 years ago) and I would love to see another.

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    1. Thanks Phil that was a very interesting video. There are so many interesting creatures around and so much to learn about them!
      I used to see lots of Sharp-tailed S. but that particular habitat was changed and now I see only occasional small groups.

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  14. The first shot of the crabs is just amazing!

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  15. Great photos! The crabs are fascinating and the sandpiper is beautiful.

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  16. Well done for IDing the Sharp-tailed Sandpiper. The crabs have a great defence mechanism for staying alive by disappearing!

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  17. Those Soldier Crabs are certainly marching!! I love the Sandpiper shot.

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  18. The Invasion of the Soldier Crabs! Wow. But what a cafeteria for the shorebirds. Fabulous beach and bird.

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  19. That's so cool, the crabs! Great luck at seeing and photographing the Sharp-tailed Sandpiper .

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  20. Such interesting crabs! Beautiful photos of such a lovely place and the sandpiper as well!

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  21. Oh My Goodness, those Crabs are so CUTE, that is amazing!

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  22. I love your shots of the little soldier crabs. Must be a tasty feast for some!

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  23. it´s kind of spooky to see all those crabs. But they are interesting.
    Nice to see the Sharp-tailed Sandpiper :)

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  24. the crabs are amazing. pretty images of the scenery

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  25. What a strange sight of the crabs, how awesome! The sandpiper looks quite lovely.

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  26. I don't ever see birds eating soldier crabs. Must be yuk!
    well done on the sharpie photos and ID!

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  27. What an interesting place and I hope you get more luck with the birds next time. Those crabs are amazing and so a the photos.

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  28. Thank you for visiting my blog and for your comment.
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    Love those tiny crabs... shore birds are a beautiful series on to itself.

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  29. Great images of the Sharpies. I have only ever seen them on the breakwall at Redcliffe.

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