Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Bush Birds and Beach Birds

Yesterday I spent a few hours visiting some of the places close by that I always enjoy. I had friends with me from New Zealand who have been here before and really like these places as well. I think it is always more enjoyable with friends who share your enjoyment.
Seary's Creek picnic spot is along the road to Rainbow Beach. There is a short boardwalk down to a creek. The water in the creek is usually tea colored from the vegetation along the banks.

There are always lots of birds in the area - but they don't often cooperate with photo opportunities. I saw - and nearly got photos of - a Lewin's Honeyeater. When I got home and looked at my photos they were either blurred or only part of the bird was visible in the thick trees. This Silver Eye was high in a tree and against the light but the distinctive eye was clearly visible.

Rainbow Beach is always worth an extra look but there was a cold wind blowing and no-one in the water swimming.

We went up on the cliffs overlooking the beach to enjoy our afternoon tea.

The last stop for the afternoon was over at Carlo Creek. This has a boat ramp and wharf where the off-shore fishing charters start from. Of course there are also lots of small private fishing boats as well and the Pelicans know there is sometimes a free feed of fish given away! The tide was going out and these birds were resting on an exposed sand bank. Pelicans look so graceful swimming on the water but they turn into untidy bunches of feathers when they are resting on land.

There were others waiting around a small boat ramp.

This bird came for a closer look at us. The feet under the water move it along quite fast as seen by the wake behind the bird.

For more scenery from around the world visit Our World Tuesday

and for more birds visit Wild Bird Wednesday.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Palms and Cockatoos

I enjoy all the palms in my backyard. When the wind is blowing the sunlight glints off the fronds in constantly changing patterns. The sound of the wind through the palms is also quite different from wind through any other tree or shrub. These are leaves of the Travelers Palm with some fronds of an Alexandra Palm on the front right.

This is another Alexandra Palm

This is a Golden Cane Palm

Palm fronds first come out tightly curled and sticking straight up. This is when the birds like to cling to them. The other morning a small flock of Sulphur crested Cockatoos flew over and settled in the top of the palms at the bottom of the garden. It was very early before the sun was up so the photos are grey instead of blue and white! When "Cockies" fly in a flock somewhere they all screech as loudly as they can. I guess for them it is a way of communicating - for a human it is just pure noise! They sat up on the top fronds and jostled for the best and highest position.

For more scenery from around the world visit Our World Tuesday

and for more birds visit Wild Bird Wednesday.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Mid-winter feeling like spring

Yesterday was a perfect day - blue sky, bright sunshine, and a temperature of 24 (75F). I went down to the Mullens Picnic area to see what birds were around. At 9:30am the tide was slowly coming in.

I had to go down again three hours later just to take a photo of high tide at the same place.

Friends had told me that there were lots of bush birds around because there were lots of trees and bushes in flower. Where I walked there were lots of the big gum (eucalyptus) trees about to flower (flower buds were orange color) -

- and plenty more in full flower.

The birds were there in hundreds - all calling and shrieking at the tops of their "birdy' voices! Unfortunately, they were up among the blossoms and easier to ID from sound than sight. Way up in the tree tops and against the bright sky they were just black silhouettes. I walked right under the tree and found a good post to rest against while I tipped my head right back to watch. Even then the only ones I could really ID were the Rainbow Lorikeets - it is hard to miss that bright orange front!

While I stood there trying to photograph the birds in the tree tops this little Willie Wagtail came over to investigate me.

For more scenery from around the world visit Our World Tuesday

and for more birds visit Wild Bird Wednesday

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

In My Yard

I have a large house block - 2100 sq M. (which is just over half an acre). When I first came here the immediate need was for a fence that would keep my dog and cat at home with me! The easiest and cheapest was a good high wire fence which I then proceeded to hide with a lot of perimeter plantings. After 12 years here I now have lovely green walls that keep growing. One side is now a hedge of Lilly Pillies (Syzygium smithii) which has to be trimmed regularly! I liked the look of palms and in this climate they grow well. I now have three sides covered with palms. Most have grown well but some few have not survived. When I checked the names of these palms I see that most of them can be grown in pots but they love the outdoors and grow to heights never seen with little pot plantings!
The easiest to grow have been the Golden Cane Palms (Dypsis Lutescens). These are clumping palms and keep on spreading unless you cut back the new small ones. Most of mine are now between 2-3 meters high.

The palm that I like the best is a beautiful silver green color (Bismarkia Noblis). It has a single trunk and can eventually grow to 12 meters. This was the most expensive palm to buy so I only have a few scattered around the garden.

Another palm which has grown very well is the Sabal Palmetto. I planted these among other types of palms to give the effect of a palm grove. It was in this area that some of the other palms did not survive. I think the Sabal Palmettos just choked the growth of the others. However, all the higher growing palms did survive and now give an interesting height variation to this area.

The only problem with palms is that there are few things to attract the birds. The white Cockies (Sulphur Crested Cockatoos) are the exception as they come in and cling to the highest fronds and then proceed to tear them apart!

(If you expected to see some new and exciting bird photos  - go somewhere else! I am going to post some from the archives! It is the story that is new and very different!) 
Blue-faced Honeyeaters are regular visitors in my yard. They are noisy and inquisitive and occasionally quite aggressive. From the time I first came here they have chased -  and ganged up! - on my cat. Late the other afternoon I heard a cat wail! which meant "Come and rescue me". I went out on to the back verandah and discovered the poor cat cringing against the house wall while Blue-faced Honeyeaters swooped at it. Nothing new in that but their loud cries brought all their family and friends to help. They were not worried about me - they just retreated to the guttering and screamed at me! By the time they decided to leave there were at least two dozen of them all lined up just above me and screaming! I have never seen so many of them all together before. Just imagine a line of these birds all eying you with those bright eyes! (Photos from the archives - who would have the presence of mind to grab a camera in a situation like this??)

For more scenery from around the world visit Our World Tuesday

and for more birds visit Wild Bird Wednesday.

Dypsis Lutescens
Dypsis Lutescens
Dypsis Lutescens

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

A Grey Day

The only day I had free last week to go looking for birds the weather was less than perfect.I do like bright sunshine and blue skies! However, there was some interesting lighting over the water. This is Norman Point looking east.

Looking south the sun was shining on the boats moored at that end of the bay.

Norman Point usually has some birds roosting at the end of the sand. The birds had already been disturbed as there were fresh dog paw prints going out on the sand. These birds had returned - a Pelican, a number of Silver Gulls and a Gull-billed Tern with a full black breeding cap.

I drove to the other end of the point and looked out over Snapper Creek. A Pelican and a Little Black Cormorant were sharing this light post.

These two Silver Gulls were resting on the boat ramp. They are juveniles with some brown spots left on their plumage and dark legs, bill and eyes. Have a look at the coloring on the adult in the previous post.

I then drove down to the southern end of Tin Can Bay to Crab Creek. Looking east over the bay.

A small group of Galahs were busily pecking at grass seeds.

For more scenery from around the world visit Our World Tuesday

and for more birds visit Wild Bird Wednesday

Tuesday, June 2, 2015


Last week I showed photos of the beach at Rainbow. The land here becomes quite a narrow peninsular. Just 3 kms west is the bay - part of the Great Sandy Strait. This is a very different environment from the open ocean. It is a safe and usually quiet anchorage. The off-shore charter fishing boats start from here. There is also a boat ramp that is popular for smaller boats. There are also a variety of birds that usually wait around such places.
This is a view from close to the boat ramp. Tin Can Bay is just out of view around the left bank.

The bay is ringed with mangrove trees and even at high tide there are some sand banks for the birds to use. This one had a couple of Pied Oystercatchers, a Silver Gull, and a Little Black Cormorant.

Silver Gulls always make a good photo against a blue sky.

These are Tree Martins which can usually be found here swooping over the water catching insects and perching on any empty fences or mooring ropes.

There was a Great Egret perched on the edge of the bank and watching carefully for any fish that might be down in the water - or any fish that it might be able to take from a couple of people fishing close by on the boat ramp.

 This close view of the bird's head shows the gape of the yellow bill extending beyond the eye. This is one way to distinguish this egret from some of the others. 

I thought that there were no more birds close-by for me to photograph until I looked up! Pelicans often use these big lights to rest on.

For more scenery from around the world visit Our World Tuesday

and for more birds visit Wild Bird Wednesday.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Rainbow Beach

I live very close to the southern end of the Great Sandy Strait and enjoy walking around the beaches on the bay and of course kayaking whenever possible. However, every now and again I want to go and walk on sand and put my feet in ocean water where the nearest land is thousands of kilometers to the east. My nearest ocean beach like this is Rainbow Beach - about 25kms down the road to the north-east. The other morning was perfect for a walk along the sand. It was very close to high tide with almost no wind and a small swell with some nice clean looking waves. There were quite a few surfers taking advantage of the conditions.

The flags were still out to mark the safest place for people to swim but I didn't see too many people swimming. There were quite a few lying out on the sand and working on their tans - but I am pretty sure they were visitors - locals would prefer it a bit warmer!

Way out on the edge of the horizon there was a sail boat moving slowly south.

The coast curves around to the south- east from here and the sand cliffs with the colored sand are what gave this place the name of "Rainbow Beach".

These rocks are just south of the town and are called Mudlo Rocks. Because it was close to high tide most of the rocks had water around them. 

As the waves came in the water splashed over them. These rocks have quite a reputation. The beach is very popular with 4-wheel drive vehicles. At low tide there is a good wide expanse of sand. Every tide changes conditions a little bit and sometimes the rocks are very close to the water even at low tide. There are an astonishing number of people who seem to think that their big expensive vehicles can get them out of any trouble! Just google "Mudlo Rocks" to see photos and videos of any number of vehicles that didn't make it!

I could hear birds way up in the trees on the top of the hill above the beach but nothing was close enough for a photo. I had to go up on the cliff above the beach to see any bird at all!

This is a Spotted Turtle-Dove (Streptopelia chinersis). It is a pretty bird but is not an Australian native. It is common around cities and towns but is now spreading out into natural bushland. When this happens it displaces native species.  I think this one was used to getting a hand-out from tourists.

For more scenery from around the world visit Our World Tuesday

and for more birds visit Wild Bird Wednesday.