Friday, December 18, 2009

Carlo Island Complex

I have just come back from a great morning out at what the QWSG calls the "Carlo Island Complex Roost". We tried to survey this roost by kayak last time but got into the mangroves in the centre and couldn't find a way through. This time thanks to Neil and Kel and family we went in by 4 wheel drive to the northern side of the roost. The track in was narrow and in a normal season would be very wet and boggy. Because we have had so little rain for the last 5 months today it was quite dry. There had also been a lot of quite large trees blown down over the track but someone had fairly recently cut and moved enough so you could drive in.
The track ends right on the edge of the sand. Immediately ahead is an area of sand, saltmarsh, sedges, and then mangroves fringing the deeper channels of water. Click on the images to enlarge.
Looking south-east the sand blow above Rainbow Beach is easy to see and a closer view shows some of the houses also.
There was no noise of traffic or boats today. The only sounds were from little bush creatures and birds calling. We were there about an hour before high tide. The area is so low that the tide quickly covered the sand and flooded around the low-growing plants.
This site is huge and very complex. When we first got there we couldn't see any large roosting shorebirds but as the tide came in they flew up in huge flocks and whirled off over the mangroves. From our trip out in the kayaks the other week it is possible that some of the Godwits might roost with the Whimbrels in the mangroves but this would hardly be likely for the Eastern Curlew. We could not see any place where the Eastern Curlew were coming in to roost but we think there must be some sand banks further out in the bay - perhaps near Carlo Island - where they roost on the higher tides.
We had heard Red-capped Plover as soon as we stepped out onto the sand. As the tide came in we found a large flock of Red-capped Plover and Red-necked Stint standing in the water and among the saltmarsh plants.
I am leaving it to Neil to tell in detail about the birds we saw and the numbers that Kel counted. Kel is very experienced in counting birds so when he is with us Neil and I can just get on with taking photos! Go over to Neil's blog for the rest of the story.


  1. That looks (once again) like a great place to watch Mother nature.
    It must be great to have good company out there to go on trips with!

  2. HI Nicole, yes an interesting place and one I hope to get out to again. You are right about the good company as well - especially because these folks are 'locals' - they've lived here for many many years.

  3. Just how many roosting sites do you have around there? Oh hang on, 50 according to this pdf. The Carlo Island complex is listed there as site 39 but not marked on the map.

  4. Hi Mosura, interesting that you turned up that pdf of the sites. However, that lists the whole of the Great Sandy Strait area and we Kel and Neil and me) are simply trying to cover the southern portion from Inskip Point South. Even this is an impossible task with only the 3 of us. Some of the roosts listed in our area are no longer counted as environments have changed and also we have become more aware of what happens in the area. You will notice on that document that the Carlo Island Complex was not counted during that survey and the most recent and complete count was done from a plane! No wonder we are having trouble finding out exactly where the birds usually roost in that huge area. I wonder if a google earth map would be interesting next time??