Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Beach Stone-curlews

This post is for World Bird Wednesday.

Yesterday afternoon I went out to Inskip Point with a couple of friends to do a count of the shorebirds and seabirds. There are always quite large numbers of Terns but if you want a full count of terns you must be there as they fly in at dusk. Even then many of them can still be heard coming in after dark when it is impossible to count numbers any more. We did not count as many as we expected to as there were storms all around and we left early.
I saw the most exciting birds for the evening right at the edge of the road as it goes out on to the sand. There were three Beach Stone-curlews (Esacus neglectus). This bird is listed as vulnerable in Queensland and in many places it is only just surviving. There have been two of these birds at Inskip for quite a few years but it was quite unexpected to see three of them. I have taken better photos of these birds when it was bright and sunny but I was delighted to get any sort of photo last night in poor light - and all three birds in the one photo!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Hole in the Beach!

The local TV news media last night had a story about a "sink hole" that had claimed part of the Inskip peninsular area. This I had to see!
Well it is spectacular but not as extensive as some of the stories were suggesting.
I parked in the parking area at the end and took the track directly opposite towards the channel and Fraser Island. This is where the wash-out has occurred. Previously there was quite a stretch of sand here. Now all the sand has gone and some of the shrubs and small trees have fallen in. This is what it looks like. (There was very little blue sky around.) All images enlarge when clicked on.
I then walked out to the end of the peninsular. There were four barges working. It is the beginning of school holidays.
This is what it looks like as I walked east back towards the area that has washed out.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Try Again...

Some Other Time.
I frequently see Fantails around here but have yet to get a good photo of one. However, when Gouldiae showed great photos and said that they "frequently almost pose for a picture" I decided it was time to try again! Well, it didn't work any better this time! The one I was watching came down close but flew off into the tops of the trees again immediately. The best I could manage was a distant photo with the tail spread - way up in the top of the tree.
While I was waiting with as much patience as I could manage, another little bird came down close and really did sit and wait for its photo to be taken! It was a Striated Pardalote (Pardalotus striatus).
Some of my friends call this the "chip-chip" bird because of its distinctive two note call. It's a very cute little bird and I was glad to get some more photos - BUT - I still want at least one good photo of a Fantail!
For more bird photos visit the Bird Photography Weekly.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Inskip Point

This post is for World Bird Wednesday.

It was a beautiful morning at Inskip Point yesterday - bright sunshine and enough wind to make the boats with sails move along quickly.
Because it is winter here now I don't expect to see many shorebirds and the only ones I saw yesterday were a small flock of Red-capped Plovers roosting in the tire tracks on the dry sand.
Crested Terns are here all year round and there were about 50 of them roosting together at the edge of the water. They were in all stages of moult and it was quite difficult to pick the adults from the juveniles.
While some were sitting and sleeping and others were preening their plumage there were a few that decided they needed a bath and were splashing around in the shallows. They really made the water fly - then when they were finished, with one quick shake of the wings, they flew off onto the sand again.
The surprise of the morning came as a I walked off the sand to the track through the bush. There were three Sacred Kingfishers on the sand. I have seen Kingfishers catch small crabs at other times so assume that's what these ones were doing - although they were just sitting still when I saw them.

Sunday, June 19, 2011


For more bird photos visit the Bird Photography Weekly.

The bayside looks and sounds so very empty during the winter. During the summer there are groups of shorebirds feeding at the edge of the tide as it comes in. When I was walking down at Mullens the other morning I didn't see any migratory shorebirds at all out on the sand.
The only bird I saw was a White-faced Heron which kept moving ahead of me as I walked along. Eventually it stopped out on a little rocky island and I was able to get close enough for a photo.
This photo of a White-faced Heron was taken some time ago. This one had become used to fishermen at a boat ramp and allowed me to get quite close.

Thursday, June 16, 2011


Did anyone else from this area watch the moon eclipse this morning? I naturally wake up early most mornings so it wasn't too much of an effort to wake a bit earlier and peer out the window as soon as I woke. I didn't stay outside too long - it was too cold even for Queensland! - but it was worth going out every little while to see the progress of the eclipse as the moon got less visible. The dark part really did get that red glow that the scientists were predicting. Unfortunately my old 'point and shoot' camera was just not good enough to get good photos. This one was taken at 5:16 am.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Norman Point

This post is for World Bird Wednesday.

Yesterday morning I drove along the Tin Can Bay foreshore to Norman Point. The tide was high so it all looked very beautiful but there are seldom any shorebirds to see except right at the point.
As I looked east I could see that the sandbank right at the end of the point was almost under water but there was still a group of birds roosting there. As usual there were numbers of Silver Gulls, but also a small group of Gull-billed Terns and about 10 or 12 Bar-tailed Godwits.

Another small group of Godwits flew by but continued north to find a better roosting place. The Godwits here now are birds that are too young to have made the migration north to breed this year. Usually birds from the point will move just a short distance to the sand directly south of the point but there were two boats anchored there yesterday so the birds were not going anywhere near that area. One was a houseboat so it is possible they have taken up semi-permanent residence. People and shorebirds don't mix well.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Sunrise and Birds

This post is for World Bird Wednesday

Usually when I am out with the camera I am focused on birds and the scenery is part of the background. Sometimes, however, the background is so beautiful that the birds just become a delightful extra!
The last few days we have had several spectacular sunrises. Of course the day has been overcast afterwards, but it's certainly a delightful start to the day. These photos were taken from my back veranda looking towards the Grevillea trees. The Rainbow Lorikeets are usually the first birds to visit the yard and they drop in on the grevilleas with their usual noisy cries. The morning - and the sunrise - wouldn't be the same if they didn't come by.
A photo of a Rainbow Lorikeet taken a while ago - in better light.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Mischief Intended?

Those Wicked White Ones - i.e. Sulphur-crested Cockatoos - have been demolishing my half ripe Passionfruit again. So, when I saw this one sitting in a tree close to the Passionfruit vine I went down to watch. The Cockatoo just sat and watched me for a while, then flew off.
There were also a number of them sitting in the pine tree next door. There must have been several juveniles there because there was quite a fuss going on with the juveniles giving their harsh begging cries. They flew off before I could get close enough to work out which ones were making the begging noises and this was the only one left. I wonder if it is a juvenile?
Update: My friend with the Brown Honeyeater's nest in her yard phoned on Friday to say that she was watching out her window and had just seen two baby fledglings leaving the nest.
Update 2: Have you noticed that the photos in the last few posts have not been quite as sharp and clear as I would want them? My DSLR is away getting 'fixed' and I am back using my old Canon S2. What a difference! Hope I get the DSLR back soon!

For more bird photos visit the Bird Photography Weekly.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Masked Lapwing

This post is for World Bird Wednesday.

Masked Lapwings (Vanellus miles) are very common around here. There are numbers of them living on the empty house blocks. I have also seen them around the bay in among the shorebirds. They prefer places where the grass is not too tall and make a nest by simply finding a grass clump and sitting down on it.
They used to be called Spur-winged Plovers because of the bony spur on their wings. They are most aggressive birds and swoop down on predators and use the spur on their wings to drive them off. Unfortunately, when they have a nest or young ones they see anything that moves close to them as a threat and dive in to attack. It is impossible to walk safely along the road if a pair of them are nesting close by.
Because they are so aggressive I let my dog chase them out of my yard. However, they know that the dog is safely tied up at night so a pair of them flies in just as it is getting dark and stays for the night. The empty house blocks are open to roaming cats and dogs at night and they obviously prefer the safety of my yard.