Monday, May 8, 2017

Lookng Back

  Looking forward - one would hope for a sustainable future for all these long distance migrants but it is not a very hopeful outlook. As I said in my last post Eastern Curlews have just been declared Critically Endangered. So this is a partial record of my sightings of Eastern Curlews over the past 10 years or so since I have lived here.
I first identified Eastern Curlews in places like this - way out on the sand flats - such a distinctive looking bird with that huge down-bent beak. There is never any chance of sneaking up closer they are just so 'flighty'. A friend suggested to me that behavior may have been bred into them through generations when their size made them desirable food additions all up and down the flyway.
Eastern Curlews are some of the first migrants to return in the spring. This photo was taken in September out at Inskip Point.My own observations suggest that a lot of birds stop in at this place before moving on to other roosts either further south or in other places around the Straits.  A lot of the birds are seen sleeping - despite the people walking all around the area - not to mention the vehicle traffic! Also see the half-closed eyes on some of the birds.
I have seen Eastern Curlews in most of the roost sites around the bay but often there are only one or two together. However, the Mullens roost site usually has a larger number together. They are always at the back of other migratory birds or else further back on the roost. This was a lower tide with more sand and salt marsh exposed but the Curlews were well back behind other birds.
Eastern Curlews look especially beautiful in photos where their under wings can be seen.

I have never thought that birds with mainly brown and tan colors looked their best against a background of brown vegetation . There is only one place on this roost where the birds can be seen with water in front and behind them.  It took me years to find cooperative birds, the right tide height and nice sunny conditions. This photo is the result.

For more scenery  from around the world visit Our World Tuesday

and for more birds visit Wild Bird Wednesday

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Autumn in Cooloola

The very early part of the day is always the best for me. I like to sit in front of my big window that faces out over my yard towards the north east and just watch as the day dawns and the sun slowly comes up. The other morning this is what it looked like. A few hours later all the cloud had blown away and we had another sunny dry day.
A few days later this is what it was like - but an equally nice day followed..
I had hoped to post on this blog more regularly but "things" happen unfortunately.
Start with a visit to my eye specialist! I am still grateful for his abilities - but that does not mean that I like the treatments!! Then I finally decided that I would not put up with the computer monitor I had been using so had to make a decision about what to replace it with. To finish everything off my Kindle "packed it in"!! I find it so much easier to be able to enlarge the print and to make it brighter that I am getting nearly all my new reading matter on that. When I went to order another one on Amazon a little message popped up saying they no longer shipped that out to Australia. 
OH well, I guess everything is relative - the worst news of the week came in with some birding promotional material in the mail. Eastern Curlews are now listed as Critically Endangered. I jumped in the car and drove around the waterfront to see what migratory shorebirds I could see but I am a bit late - they all seem to have left for the northern hemisphere. So now it is a matter of waiting for next spring and seeing what turns up
I also intend to go back over my photo archives and  show curlews and places I have seen them regularly over the years.
These were the only shorebirds I saw anywhere - and even these did not give me a look at their eyes - which are blue and the prettiest part of them I think. They are Little Black Cormorants and often sit up on these light poles. There have been attempts made to keep them off the poles but it looks to me as if the weather and maybe birds pecking at the bits have gradually taken off the extra bits on the poles.
There was also one bird down on the boat ramp that popped back into the water and swam for a few moments before it disappeared under the water.

For more scenery  from around the world visit Our World Tuesday

and for more birds visit Wild Bird Wednesday

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Close to Home

Yesterday I had a look around the Mullens picnic area. This is the closest part of the bay from where I live. The tide was good and high and there was almost no wind. It would have been a perfect day for a kayak. (Maybe sometime I will be able to get out there again!) The one thing I had forgotten was how bad the small biting insects are after some rain!
The sky was grey towards the east so the sea was also grey in that direction.

I went around to the boat ramp where the creek goes west and such a difference!

I hoped to see some birds in my own backyard but they were not around. I got up very early this morning hoping to catch some as they flew over at that time.
The light was beautiful and as the sun rose there were even more beautiful patterns on the palm leaves.
Unfortunately, this was one morning when the birds had decided to fly over elsewhere. The only ones I saw flocks of where Rainbow Lorikeets but they are too fast to get good in-flight photos I find. Some came down and roosted in the pine tree next door but I only got glimpses of the color up high.

This Kookaburra saved the morning for me. It sat up on the electricity wires and blinked at me but the early morning sun made its plumage very beautiful.

For more scenery  from around the world visit Our World Tuesday

and for more birds visit Wild Bird Wednesday.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Back to a Routine

Before I start on my personal tale of woe I want to thank all of you who keep blogging and write such interesting posts! You are much appreciated even though I have not commented on your posts for quite a while 😊
It has been hot, hot, hot! I have lived up here for more than 13 years but I don't ever remember it being quite this hot before. It was often quite pleasant before sun-rise but soon after that even sitting at the computer would make the sweat start dipping and the clothes unpleasantly damp. I put in a couple of wall mounted air-conditioners when I had the house built but they are noisy and I found I could not live comfortably with them on all day. Added to all that I am still having trouble with my eyes. I am very grateful that my vision has been saved but constant head-aches are not easy to put up with! It has finally cooled down and we missed the extreme weather brought in by cyclone Debbie!
Here are some good things in my yard over the last couple of months. Some of the trees flowered more prolifically than they have for several years. This is an Ivory Curl Tree (Buckinghamia celissima). The flowers have quite a strong perfume.
This the top of my Leopard Tree(Caesalpinea ferrea).This year it had more flowers than it usually has and there must have been a  good amount of nectar because the birds came over in flocks and perched up in the top. Unfortunately the tree is now so tall that the birds up in the top are well hidden and I didn't get any good photos.
The flowers I am most pleased about are the Gymea Lilies. There are more of them flowering than ever before. However, they are very slow to come into flower and I have been waiting for months for some of them to come right out in flowers. This is one of the smaller plants and the flower stem is only a couple of meters tall. That green top will eventually come out in a spectacular red bloom.
The really tall ones are up in the tops of the palms - I am guessing 3-4 meters tall.This year the big flowers are not quite as red.
I wonder if they will get a darker color as they come out more.
There are always birds around somewhere. In the worst of the heat even the birds disappeared a couple of hours after sunrise. Crows can look quite beautiful against a bright sky.
I heard a bit of noise from the local birds one morning and counted 20 of these Common Myna. They are not native birds and are quite aggressive and can eventually displace many of the native species. I knew they had come into this district a couple of years ago and I have seen a couple at a time. But with a group this big they must have been breeding locally. 

For more scenery  from around the world visit Our World Tuesday

and for more birds visit Wild Bird Wednesday.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Very High Tide

Which did not happen!
I should have posted this more than a week ago but I have been hibernating! - which for a Queenslander has meant staying out of the extreme heat! Here in the SE of the state the temperatures went up to 38 degrees C (about 100F)and stayed up there for more than 4 days. Then we had a respite when the temperature fell a couple of degrees - and now it is going up again but not quite so high - only 35 or 36. Of course it could be worse but with high humidity as well it is not comfortable so I have been stating inside with the air-con going!
Now about that very high tide. Every New Year there are some every high tides. Often the news media will make quite a story out of them because they can be very eye catching at times. However, just as frequently, the extreme tides just don't happen. The Bureau of Meteorology always gives predicted tide heights - but these are also not always accurate. I understand about monthly tide heights but these extreme tides are a bit more difficult and can be changed by systems of high or low pressure lying off the coast and other systems that don't always show up on the charts I consult. Each year I go out to take photos - sometimes it is worth it and other times it is a waste of time! This year was one of those wastes!  Here is the photo from that place at Crab Creek that I usually photograph and the water is no where near the concrete walkway.

 I posted about it back in 2013 Here and also showed a series of high tides taken from the same place. Anyway it was a beautiful summer day and there were lots of people out and enjoying the sunshine and the water. This photo is at the Mullens Picnic place and
here is the water just coming over on to the sand
and also flooding the track down to the boat launch

I thought I could just go out in my back yard to get some bird photos but I guess the birds aren't silly and it has been too hot for anything - including birds - to be out if they don't have to!The only birds I could find down close enough to photograph were some Masked Lapwings.
These are not my favorite birds! They can be very aggressive and want to take over the yard for their own purposes and chase me right out.  When I had my little dog she loved them! She knew they were the one kind of bird I didn't mind her chasing and she took full advantage of it!
For more scenery  from around the world visit Our World Tuesday
and for more birds visit Wild Bird Wednesday.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Carlo and Rainbow

I decided the easiest way to see different birds from those I see in my backyard was to go to a different environment. I can usually find something different at Carlo on the other side of the bay or at Rainbow Beach which is right on the coast. Both are interesting places. There are boats of all kinds for rent at Carlo, plus interesting ones used as charter boats to take people up the Strait or out deep sea fishing.

Usually I see Pelicans somewhere there but not this time! I saw few birds around anywhere until I realized there were numbers of swallows swooping around. There is one piece of fence where they usually come and rest but when I didn't see any there I walked over close and just waited. Because I was very still they eventually flew in and perched in their usual place and I was closer than ever before to them These are Tree Martins.
There is a very large caravan park with some cabins for rent right at Carlo. During school holidays it is 'packed out'! - but that will be a few weeks yet. I was going very slowly past and thought I caught a glimpse of a Bush Stone Curlew. I found parking 50 meters of so down the road and then slowly walked back. Both birds had simply disappeared! However, there was still a little brown 'bump' on the ground among the leaf litter. I walked slowly and carefully closer - and the bird never moved! It was only when I looked at the photos at home that I realized the big eye had been watching me closely all the time. I backed off and there was still no movement. The second bird was a little way off and all I got was a blurred image at a distance. When I went closer that bird had disappeared also. It must have been hiding among the leaf litter as well.
A few kilometers away at Rainbow Beach it is a fery different environment - still lots of tourists but rather different activities!
Often there are birds just behind the beach in the plantings on the sand hills - but not this time. I went up the hill where the shops and rental apartments look over another picnic place and a great view over the sea. The trees planted beside the road are some kind of native fig and the fruit was just perfect for birds.
So many of them flew into the tree close beside me but the birds took one look at me and immediately disappeared in the leaves. These birds are female Fig Birds - and they too  moved out of sight very quickly.

For more scenery from around the would visit Our World Tuesday

and for more birds visit Wild Bird Wednesday

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Backyard Views

Last post I said that the big storm that passed through here had only blown down an old bird's nest. However, a few days later while sitting in my favorite chair and looking towards the back I saw a pretty orange color on some leaves. That wasn't supposed to be there! When I wet down and investigated I found that the storm had blown out one of the trees and the leaves were gradually changing color as the tree died. I planted this tree years ago. It was well over 20 feet tall and had been blown over.
Summer time where I live means that it is now getting light just after 4am. It is very pleasant to lie in bed and listen to the bird song. One of the first birds to start calling is the little Willie Wagtail. This bird has two distinct calls.- There is a quite pleasant song and also a very scratchy sound. At this time of year when the birds are nesting the more common sound is the scratchy one and it is used to frighten away anything the Willie doesn't like. They are quite fearless. Over the last few weeks I have seen these quite small birds chasing off even Magpies. . Like lots of small birds they rarely seem to sit still and I have trouble getting good photos.  Too often they perch high in the trees or even up on the electricity wires.
When they do come down within reach it is often a rear view.
  The exception was this one up on the house roof when the birds was more interested in my cat standing beside me.
Finally I gave up and went down the back to where a White Cockie was perched far up on one of those tall bamboo shoots. I had the Cockie in focus and ignored the Willie which had now come down here. I kept my finger on the auto button - and sometimes you just get lucky! First the Willie did a dive bombing swoop and then the Cockie nearly lost balance moving to avoid the Willie.

For more scenery from around the world visit Our World Tuesday

and for more birds visit Wild Bird Wednesday