Monday, January 26, 2015

High Tide at Mullens

I haven't been out on the kayak as much as I would like recently, and when I have gone out I have only had a short kayak out to the airport roost and then up the creek close by. Last Wednesday was a really high tide and there was almost no wind so I decided it was time to go out to Mullens again - which is twice the distance of where I have been kayaking recently. Of course the Mullens roost is also available simply by walking around the foreshore but when the tide is right in you can pretty much guarantee that the birds will be on the far side of the roost. At that distance you can see them and ID them if your binoculars are good but it is impossible for good photos. In the kayak you can let the wind and the tide drift you in close to the birds without disturbing them if you are careful.  It was a very pretty morning.

There was high cloud around which thickened quite quickly until the bright colors were dulled. (There are lots of birds just visible on the far side. Click on the photo to enlarge it.)

Here where I live in SE Queensland, Australia the light is usually very bright - bright sunlight, bright skies, and lots of bright light off the water. So when the conditions are not like that I struggle to get photos with the colors I expect. The birds were still there - but with these lighting conditions even they were hard to see -  and not spectacular the way I want them.

There were lots of Bar-tailed Godwits but grey and brown birds against a brown background are not really interesting. Finally I drifted in close enough to see that some of the Godwits were getting their bright breeding colors. There are always some birds that get color before the others.

A little further around the roost there were Eastern Curlews standing close to Godwits. The size difference is quite striking when they are standing close like this.

Although Curlews don't get bright colors for breeding, the browns and blacks darken and their patterning is more distinctive. Curlews must be the flightiest of all the shorebirds that visit down here. It is nearly impossible to get close to them without some - at least - flying up. These ones gave a good view of the beautiful under-wing feather patterns.

Smaller birds were massed right at the top of the bay. When I got closer I could see mainly Red-capped Plovers and Red-necked Stints.

There is only a narrow sand spit which separates this shallow roost site from the main bay and on a very high tide like this there is a very short distance from one side to the other. The tide comes in under the trees and right up to the bollards. The top of one bollard is just visible on the lower left of this photo.

Just a few meters away is the main bay and it was just beginning to get a chop on the water.

For more scenery from around the world visit Our World Tuesday

and for more birds visit Wild Bird Wednesday.


33 comments:

  1. Great shots of the curlews in flight.

    I'm surprised any Willie Wagtail nest produce young - they are hardly well camouflaged!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

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  2. adorable plovers. love the curlews in flight shot!!! beautiful. and happy australia day to you!

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  3. Excellent captures. Those curlews look right out dangerous while in flight! Thanks for your visit:)

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  4. What a great photo of the curlews taking flight.

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  5. Awesome outing.. I love the Curlews and the Red-capped Plovers.. The Curlew flight shot is fantastic! Great series, really! Have a happy week!

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  6. Oh what a delight! Water and birds and kayaking ~ Great shots ~ Doesn't get any better than that ~ does it?

    You could be in MA expecting a major blizzard ~

    Happy week to you,
    artmusedog and carol

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  7. Oh my gosh! Glad to see you and your camera got out in your kayak!! I am very much looking forward to the return of the shore birds here north f Toronto this year! I t was NOT that great last year!

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  8. These photos are beautiful...to be there kayaking even better. I had the opportunity to go kayaking over the holidays... I opted for the canoe instead...it seemed more stable. Next time... I might choose the kayak..but with my old camera in case I capsize!!

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  9. Wonderful shots! I love the one of those birds in flight.

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  10. I want all these shorebirds to come here right now! Plovers, stints and curlews, wow. I bet it is wonderful to be in your kayak so close to them.

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  11. very nice. you got some great shots there

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  12. I love the photo of the underside of the curlews' wings. The patterns are so pleasing. Birding from a kayak is a great way to see water birds.

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  13. Looks like a great trip, wonderful photos.

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  14. A great selection of bird and I especially like the Curlews in flght

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  15. Every picture is wonderful experience of nature. I like most the one with interesting trees behind the group of birds. The first picture is very soothing seeing the calm water. It's a wonderful adventure kayaking around such a beautiful place.

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  16. You were lucky you got to kayak before that east coast low gave us all the rain and wind.

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  17. Mick - I have enjoyed a Kayak ride with you bird spotting, a very different side of Australia than my Melbourne city life surrounded by sports!
    Wren

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    1. Thanks Wren for your comment - and I went and read about all your Aussie Day activities - sounds like fun! I tried to comment but I do NOT want a google+ account and so no comment from me! Sorry!!

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  18. Great shots. I love the shot of the Curlews in flight.

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  19. I love the image of the flying Curlews. So beautiful and perfect shot of the birds. :)

    I agree what you mentioend on teh Firetails. They are hard to get. I was lucky that day :)

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  20. Hi Mick, visiting from WBW,
    the walk to the area to see the birds would be good, but to do the kayaking way would have to be more interesting.. after all as Ratty said ' there's nothing quite like messing about in boats', plus is a nice way to keep fit.

    The Curlews in flight are stunning. So striking are the markings. A beautiful photo.
    Interesting with the Curlew being larger having a long beak curving downwards, while the Godwits being smaller have a long beak with a bit of a dip leading to a sight upward curve at the end.

    Totally wonderful opportunities you have to experience birds and their natural surroundings.
    Always appreciate what you share.

    Your header is dreamily pretty to look at too.

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  21. Beautiful shots from the nature and birds.

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  22. I love the photo of the birds in flight!
    Have a wonderful day!
    Lea

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  23. I love the under colours on the one shot... and, it's so entertaining how their long legs just dangle when they fly up.... they look pretty relaxed even when they have to leave......

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  24. Wow! So many shore birds.Drifting close to them must be exciting. You are right about the beauty of the Curlew's underwing, they are, beautiful, and so is the picture. Lovely to see so many birds together, especially the Red-capped Plovers
    Regards..

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  25. Beautiful pictures of the Curlews.
    Photo 6 is my favorite.
    Perfect flight photo.

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  26. Very pretty photos of the shore birds. I love the flight shot.

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  27. It must be glorious to get to kayak at such places! We have the almost constant bright sunshine where I live as well. Loved your photos...especially those curlews in flight! Wow!

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  28. These photos are wonderful! I'm looking forward to spring and the return of the shorebirds, although I don't want to rush winter too quickly as there are still many winter birds I haven't seen yet.

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  29. The shore birds are all wonderful and it was interesting to think about how the godwits mature at different times. I always love seeing and comparing the two species together like that one photo. Scary to think about getting a chop in the water after you've already kayaked twice as far as usual.

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  30. Great shots Mick. I especially enjoyed seeing the curlews - their long beaks and, wow, the ones of them in flight... gorgeous! A beaut post :D)

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  31. Great shots Mick! I love the reflection in the first shot. I've never seen Bar-tailed Godwits in breeding colours myself. The Curlews in flight are gorgeous.

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