Monday, February 23, 2015


My last blog post was written about a kayak trip I took on the Monday of last week. Tuesday and Wednesday of the week the wind picked up. By Thursday the wind was even more extreme and it was raining. The weather forecasters were tracking a tropical cyclone as it came down the coast. (I think these are called typhoons or hurricanes in the northern hemisphere.) At that stage it was still predicted to be only about a category one and to cross the coast somewhere north of Rockhampton. Thursday was also predicted to be the largest king tide for the season. I really wanted to get out and take photos of the height the water reached - as I have done for a number of years past. However, with the wind gusting as high as it was I was not comfortable driving in exposed places. I am lucky to have friends with a big heavy 4 wheel drive that is not likely to be thrown around by a few wind gusts - and they offered to take me out with them. Many thanks to Sarah and Graham!
We drove out to the sea coast. The wind was very strong and the water was really stirred up and dangerous looking.

The water right out at Inskip Point was not as high as I have seen it in other years. I wonder if the cyclone north of us was making a difference to the height of the tide. No barges were working - of course! I later heard that rangers moved campers away from the area the next day. Tracks from earlier vehicles were fast filling up with the wash of the waves.

The sand island out in the middle of the bay was completely covered and all that showed was rough water breaking over the area.

Because there were no people and no vehicles on the point the birds were roosting there in numbers I have not seen for some time.  You will need to enlarge this photo (by clicking on it) to see that those black smudges out at the end are all birds!)

The birds were right out at the end of the point and were moving around as the waves came over and disturbed them. Pelicans were easy to see but the other shorebirds were not. I did not go anywhere near. It was hard enough for me to stay still and take photos so I can imagine the amount of energy the birds would have had to burn up to manage the wind gusts. I could see bright red on some of the Godwits that had already changed into breeding plumage.

By Friday - the next day - the cyclone had picked up to a category 5 - the strongest! It came in north of Rockhampton and then tracked very slowly south. When it finally got down here (Saturday) it had lost strength and was only classed as a heavy storm. There was still lots of rain with it and the main roads are only now (Monday) opening to traffic. I was lucky out here as we were on the edge of the storm and didn't get the rainfall that fell a little way inland. Friends in Gympie got about 3 times as much as I did. Further north from here it is a disaster. Some small towns have been almost obliterated! Power is out to thousands of homes and businesses and the radio news said that emergency power vehicles were stuck south of Gympie (last night) because of the flooded highway.

For more photos of our world visit Our World Tuesday

and for more birds visit Wild Bird Wednesday

Monday, February 16, 2015

Perfect Kayaking

This morning was very close to perfect! The various weather sites predicted light winds but when I got on the water about 6:30 the winds were almost non-existent! It is not often that I see the bay as still as this!

Even out past the mangroves on the point there was still very little movement on the water.

Looking in to the sand spit where the shorebirds usually roost the birds were reflected in the water.

A number of Grey-tailed Tattlers and Terek Sandpipers flew off before I could get photos. The Pied Oystercatchers were there - but not the juvenile I saw a month or so ago. There were 8 Greenshanks along the sand spit. These birds are not easy to get close to but I sat very still on the kayak and just drifted in.

After this I kayaked back towards the car park...

...and then up the creek. I really enjoy kayaking on top of clouds reflected in the water.

From a distance I couldn't work out what the white thing was in the water under the mangroves. As I got closer I saw it was a float attached to a crab pot. I hope who-ever put it there actually got a crab when they came to take it out and didn't just find that someone else had helped themselves to whatever it contained!
A little further up the creek there is a low grassy bank but with the height of the tide this morning it was now underwater and I could float in there without moving again. There were a couple of Masked Lapwings and a single Greenshank making use of the shallow water.

For more scenery from around the world visit Our World Tuesday

and for more birds visit Wild Bird Wednesday

Monday, February 9, 2015

City Waterbirds

Lake Alford Park is one of parks in Gympie. It is right beside the Bruce Highway on the south side of the city. The birds there are very much what one expects to see in a place with people all around - but not the birds that I commonly see out here on the coast. On a bright sunny day it looks quite beautiful.

When I was there last week the day was grey and cloudy. The water in the ponds looked a dirty brown color and where the trees and bushes shut out the light it was almost black I never even thought of taking a photo of the landscape - it didn't look at all appealing. I just took a quick walk around to see if there were any birds I wanted to photograph.
The trees on the islands in the center of the ponds were filled with white birds - mainly Egrets and Ibis - but none close enough to want to take photos. Then I saw this one - perched lower down and close enough for photos. It is an Intermediate Egret and one I don't often see out here.

There were the usual ducks and black swans - and lots of  Dusky Moorhens (Gallinula tenebrosa). The Dusky Moorhens all seemed to have young ones around them. I think all baby birds are "cute" but these ones are rather ugly along with it. The feathers all looked sparse and rather spiky and then there is that red patch on the top of the head!

The very tiny ones wanted to stay as close as possible to the parent.

The ones a little bit older wanted to explore on their own.

The older juveniles were a brown color and didn't have the bright red beaks that showed so clearly on the adults.
 Before I could even get back to the car it was raining again - not heavy but enough to stop my photography!

For more scenery from around the world visit Out World Tuesday

and for more birds visit Wild Bird Wednesday