Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Lesser Sand-Plovers

This post is for World Bird Wednesday.

Although the tide wasn't yet full, it had already covered most of the Mullens roost site.
The smaller shorebirds were having to move from where they had first roosted and these ones flew in just ahead of me. They were not sure that they really wanted to be that close to me but when I stayed very still they settled down and let me get some good photos. They are Lesser Sand-Plovers (Charadrius mongolus) which also used to be called Mongolian Dotterels. This is their non-breeding plumage.

Monday, December 26, 2011

What a Difference...

What a difference a day makes! This was Christmas morning when we had planned to kayak on the highest tide of the year.
Even though others braved the rain and threatening storms I decided I'd prefer nice weather.
Today - one day later - the sun was shining and everything looked different. The only problem remaining was wind that made the sea a little too rough for comfortable paddling! I did kayak - but had a few stretched muscles when I got back.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas in Queensland

Season's Greetings to everyone who reads this blog!
Christmas in this climate can certainly be different! It's summer and raining! We've had 152mm of rain dumped on us from ex-topical cyclone Fina in the last two days. - that's just over 6 inches in the old scale. My house is built on a very flat block of land and when it rains the rain makes huge puddles! This is the one on the front lawn photographed yesterday afternoon between showers.
By this morning most of the water has drained away into the sandy soil but there are still showers. It's the highest tide of the year and we were all planning on kayaking around to one of the bird roosts. It's not my idea of a nice kayaking day so I'll wait on a decision by the others!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Small Shorebirds

This post is for World Bird Wednesday.

When I walked out to Mullens the other day the bigger shorebirds were all at the far side of the roost. Since I had walked out instead of kayaking there was no way I could get closer to them. However the smaller shorebirds were in their preferred roost site at the southern end of the roost and all I had to do was wade through some shallow water. They were standing in shallow water in among the saltmarsh plants. Red-capped Plovers and Red-necked Stints were roosting together. Both of these birds are only 15cm (6 inches) beak to tail. Red-capped Plovers are an Australian shorebird and stay here all year. Quite a few were showing their beautiful red caps. Red-necked Stints are the smallest of all the shorebirds that migrate from the arctic to spend the summer here. They only show their red necks just before they migrate north - that is in March and April.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Mangrove Tree

This post is for NatureFootstep Waters.

After all the rain and showers and winds, this morning was perfect. I was walking down on the shoreline very early and this mangrove tree was silhouetted against the early morning light with the sea almost like glass - perfect reflections and almost no ripples in the water.
It was lovely and warm - quite different from the northern hemisphere cold and snow!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Australian Wood Duck

This post is for the Bird Photography Weekly.

Over the last few weeks there have been several groups of Australian Wood Ducks (Chenonetta jubata) wandering along the side of the road. I have been in the car driving somewhere or other and no camera with me until the other day when this group was walking along immediately opposite my house. I don't know what they were finding to eat right there but they were all pecking at something!
This is a male
This is a female .
By the way - they might look nice in the photos but if a group decides to spend the night on your driveway they leave quite a mess to clean up the next morning!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Whistling Kite

This post is for World Bird Wednesday.

This Whistling Kite was sitting high in a tree close to where I put my kayak into the water at Crab Creek. It looked very beautiful against the blue sky but when I zoomed in it looked very rumpled! It was doing a very thorough preen of all its feathers and looked like a very fluffy feather duster! Or maybe it was just having a "bad hair day"!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Shorebird Count at Crab Creek

The other day I kayaked over to the Crab Creek roost with friends to do a count of the shorebirds. We counted almost 400 birds with the majority being Bar-tailed Godwits. The Godwits were lined up along the sandspit with most standing out in the water a little way. I was doing a second check on the bird count when I thought I saw something different. Finding one different bird among a couple of hundred others is not easy so I took lots of photos. There was definitely one bird that was smaller and moving differently from the Godwits but it was not until I got the photos home and had a good look that I could definitely ID it as a Sharp-tailed Sandpiper.
On the way back to the boat ramp I took a photo of the other kayakers with me. Sitting down so close to the water gives a different perspective to the everything else on the water.
For more bird photos visit the Bird Photography Weekly.

Saturday, December 10, 2011


This post is for Scenic Sunday.

Driving down from Maleny to Kenilworth the other day I saw this balloon floating through the air ahead of me. It looked beautiful floating through the still morning air and is not something I see very often.
When I stopped to take photos and looked around I saw a second one further to the east.
The one ahead of me looked as if it was coming down so I drove on a short way and watched it come down very gently onto a farm track.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Common Koel

This post is for World Bird Wednesday.

The Common Koel (Eudynamis scolopacea) is a cuckoo that migrates from Asia down to Australia for the summer. It lays its eggs in cup-shaped nests of large honeyeaters. This is a photo of the male. The female is barred brown and so far hasn't come anywhere close for me to take a photo. Although this bird is often hard to see as it hides among the foliage it is certainly not hard to hear! From a distance the call is not unpleasant but close up - like just outside my bedroom window at night!!! - it is loud and raucous. You can hear its call here.
I took this photo in the late afternoon and the bird's feathers were picking up the golden tones of the sunset sky.
This is a full crop of the above photo showing the bird's beautiful eye.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Early Morning.

This post is for Bird Photography Weekly

It was a beautiful morning with a bank of clouds in the east which eventually covered the sun and muted all the colors.
The only bird I saw along the shoreline was an Eastern Curlew which was standing by itself out on a little rocky island. This is the only shorebird I know that doesn't seem to mind roosting by itself as long as it is not disturbed. If disturbed it then flies off and joins the rest of the Eastern Curlews and other shorebirds at the usual roost sites. This one disturbed before I got anywhere near and then flew off with its usual harsh squawk.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

View from Maleny

This post is for Scenic Sunday.

This photo was taken from the look-out a little way along the Tourist Drive close to Maleny, Queensland. On a clear day the view from here is spectacular as you can see along the Sunshine coast and right out to the ocean. The mountains in the distance are the Glass House Mountains which are deeply eroded volcanic cones.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Good News Story

This is definitely a good new story for the shorebirds in our area! QPWS (Queensland Parks and Wildlife Services) has been installing shorebird signs all down the Sandy Strait and the other day I was lucky enough to go out with two of their people to make some decisions about where the signage will be put around the Crab Creek shorebird roost. Signage is the first step in protecting the shorebirds in our area. People need to know where the shorebird roosts are before they will be careful of what they do in these areas.
I am delighted that signs are being put up around the Crab Creek roost as it is directly opposite a very busy boat launch area. At present there is nothing to show that the birds use this area and I am sure that the roost is often disturbed because people have no knowledge that it is there.
Moyra and Wayne came with a small boat that took us over to the other side of the creek. We had a good look around for suitable sites for the signs - although we did have to wade through shallow water and mud because the tide had dropped quicker than we expected. Then we had to very carefully navigate down the creek before all the water had drained out and left only a few 'puddles'!
Just enough water to get back! Wayne and Moyra in the boat.
This is the sign that has already been placed at the Mullens Creek area where boats are launched.
Congratulations to QPWS for the care they take of our very special environment in this area.