Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Bush and Beach

The road from Cooloola Cove to Rainbow Beach cuts through the northern portion of the Great Sandy National Park. The road is a about 20kms, well-made and sealed but narrow. There are only a couple of good places to pass and most of the time the road verges are narrow or non-existent. There are lots of interesting places for birds but mostly they are along 4 wheel drive tracks. The Searys Creek Picnic Place is part way along this road and the one place it is easy to get into the bush and see some birds. A board walk leads from the parking area down to the creek and then follows along beside  the creek a little further.

The creek crosses under the road in a culvert and there is a series of small rapids.

The water is stained with the tannin from the vegetation around and in the creek. The light shining on the water turns the brown color into shades of red.

There are always birds calling in the thick vegetation but it takes patience to find them among the leaves and even greater patience to get good photos of them.

I photographed a lot of pelicans roosting on the sand island at Inskip Point a few days ago.These are the only kind of pelicans found in Australia - Pelecanus conspicillatus. There are a couple of Pied Oystercatchers standing on the right of the Pelicans. They look small by comparison.

With numbers like this at the major roost sites there are also small groups of Pelicans in most places around the bay. I photographed these ones at Carlo boat launch.

Three was definitely a crowd and two birds swam off together leaving one by itself.

For more photos from around the world visit Our World Tuesday

and for more bird photos visit Wild Bird Wednesday.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Early Morning at Inskip Point

The weather bureau predicted a clear morning so I set off for Inskip Point before sunrise. Very early morning is beautiful beside the sea and I am always trying for photos which show that early morning light on the water - I haven't quite got what I want yet but I have fun trying.

The barge was waiting at the point by the time I got there and the birds were spread out along the sand on the southern side.

Although the huge flocks have left for the northern hemisphere there were still a lot of birds to see. 

When I got close enough to see individual birds I saw a few Eastern Curlews, also some Bar-tailed Godwits and large numbers of Grey-tailed Tattlers. Most of them were going into breeding plumage and looked all fat and ready for migration. (The larger birds in all the photos are Godwits.)

While scanning down the lines of birds I saw this one with its back to me. When it moved I saw it was a Curlew Sandpiper in partial breeding plumage.

Another bird that stood out as different among all the Tattlers was this Pacific Golden Plover. It kept behind the other birds so I couldn't get full photos showing all its breeding plumage. The black outlined with white is so dramatic and such a change from the non-breeding plumage of white down the front and grey-brown and golden on the back.

For more photos from around the world visit Our World Tuesday 

and for more bird photos visit Wild Bird Wednesday.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Birds on the Sand Flats

All these photos were taken earlier this week on a perfect morning down along the bay at Cooloola Cove. It was early in the morning and the tide was well out but slowly coming in.

At first the only birds that I saw were some pelicans way out where there was still some water.

The gradient is so low in the bay that it doesn't take too long for water to slowly seep in on the incoming tide. As it did there were more birds to see - but all a good distance away. There is no chance of getting close-up photos of birds out on the sand flats. Birds see you long before you see them! I heard Grey-tailed Tattlers and when I followed the sound I saw these two birds hunting for food in a puddle of water.

I saw and heard more Tattlers than any other bird that morning. Many of the other shorebirds have already left on their northern migration.

The next bird that I saw was a Double-banded Plover. These birds breed on the braided river channels in south New Zealand and come here for our winter. Of course the Queensland winter is a lot warmer than winter in south New Zealand.I saw quite a number of these birds a good distance away.

There were lots more birds further away which it was difficult to ID. I saw a few Bar-tailed Godwits but most Godwits have already left. I heard an Eastern Curlew but it was too far away to see properly. Most of the birds I saw were smaller shorebirds. Of course there were numbers of Red-capped Plovers (local shorebirds). When I looked at my photos at home I saw a couple of Lesser Sand Plovers with the red splash of color across their front which is their breeding plumage.

Being out on the sand flats when the tide is coming in does give some indication of how many shorebirds are still around but it is definitely not the right place to try for good close photos of any of the birds.

For more photos from around the world visit Our World Tuesday

and for more birds from around the world visit Wild Bird Wednesday.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

A Piece of Paradise

This is my friends' backyard and it's a beautiful and peaceful place. (You really need to read my previous post to understand the implications of this title!) The only creatures here that could be thought to detract from this lovely environment would be the mosquitoes - and they are around everywhere after the rain!

We were sitting out under this sun shade the other morning and enjoying a "cuppa" together. I had not intended to stay long so had not brought my camera. What a mistake!

There were a number of Sulphur-crested Cockatoos sitting up in this big Scribbly Gum and popping in and out of one of the holes. We all assumed they are about to use it as a nesting hole.

I asked Sarah if I could come back the next morning and just wander around for a while and get some photos of the birds. Cockies - like all parrots - are clever! They were at the hole when I first arrived but as soon as I got the camera out they flew up into the tree and sat and watched me. It felt like they were laughing at me! Then they even had the audacity to invite their "birdy" friends (a couple of Rainbow Lorikeets) to come and share the joke!

I was a strange person wandering around in their place and they did not trust me! It was only after Sarah and Graham came out and sat down under the sunshade with me that the birds came down and briefly went to the nesting hole. I managed a couple of photos before they flew high into the tree again. Hopefully when they do start nesting and have young demanding food I can go and get some better photos.

 For more bird photos from around the world visit Wild Bird Wednesday.

Monday, April 8, 2013

A Serpent in Paradise

I always wake up early and as soon as I stir inside the house my animals - a dog and a cat - let me know they expect me to come out and say "good morning" and give them some food. So the other morning it was just after 5am when I switched on the outside light and went along to the pen where the cat is usually penned at night. She had refused to come in the previous night but was frisking along at my heels this morning. When we were almost at the pen the dog jumped sharply back and I took a second look at what was ahead. Part way up the side of the pen and along a cross piece was a snake!

I don't like snakes - in fact I am frightened of them! I grew up in New Zealand where there are no "nasties" like snakes and I have never got used to them up close. At that hour of the morning what was I to do? I waited until nearly 6:30 and the snake hadn't moved. I phoned friends that I know are early risers and talked to my friend's husband. He asked what color and shape it was and told me I didn't have to worry because it was only a python of some kind - not poisonous and not dangerous! I had already worked that one out! (Isn't google wonderful at ID-ing strange creatures!) When I told him I was still frightened he told me he would come around in a while - and he did!  This is Graham, Sarah's husband. and as you can see he was not at all worried by the snake - and as you can see by the grin on his face he thought I was quite funny! Anyway he put the snake in a bag and took it away and released it well away from houses.

Sarah suggested the title for this post. She is an artist and I appreciate how her view of the world makes me take a second look at things and see them from a different perspective. We often go kayaking or hiking. While I watch and photograph the birds moving around and am delighted with their color and pattern she goes looking at vegetation and comes back with detailed photos of small and delicate plants - with a bleached bone sheltered underneath the foliage! I think she would like me to find the things that are less than perfect as well as the very beautiful things around where we live.

For more photos from around the world visit Our World Tuesday

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Floods and Fairy-Wrens

These first two photos were taken during one of the big floods we had at the end of January and into February. This water is running into Carland Creek and a few hours before this had been over the road. There had been a fire go through the area a while ago and the burnt bushes are Hakea. In the second photo I focused my camera on the bushes and seed pods which made an interesting pattern in front of the flooded gully.

I see Fairy-Wrens quite frequently but like most wrens they seldom sit still to have their photos taken! I saw these Red-backed Fairy-wrens (Malurus melanocephalus) beside the road out at Inskip Point very early in the morning. The male is all black down the front. It looked as if he had been ruffling the feathers on top of her head.

 They didn't stay sitting still together for long. The female flew off deeper among the branches where I couldn't see clearly enough to photograph her again but the male flew around from branch to branch. First he had a good preen then he gave me good views of his colorful side and back feathers. I am always intrigued by how the red on his back shows different shades in different light.

For more photos from around the world visit Our World Tuesday 

and for more bird photos visit Wild Bird Wednesday.