Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Too Much Wind

Yesterday looked like a perfect day for kayaking - early high tide, no rain around, and not too much wind - or that's the way it looked at my house! When I got down to the bay I found that the wind was much higher than I had expected - or that the early forecasts had predicted. It would have been very unpleasant if I had any great distance to paddle. I decided to check on the "airport roost" and leave the rest for another day. This roost is the closest to all the activity at the picnic area and I wanted to see how the birds had managed with all the Christmas and New Year holiday makers.
I have been kayaking passed this roost for a number of years but never made an effort to count the birds I saw - it was enough to just watch them, photograph them, and enjoy them. However, I realized that without count data no-one else would know the importance of this roost,  so for the last couple of years I have made an effort to count what I saw and then pass the data on to the Queensland Wader Study Group. 
Shorebirds favor this roost as an early morning high tide roost and it was no different yesterday. I counted 60 Bar-tailed Godwits, 15 Eastern Curlews, 16 Grey-tailed Tattlers, 9 Pacific Golden Plovers, 4 Greenshanks, 4 Little Egrets, and 2 Pied Oystercatchers and 1 Red-capped Plover.
The wind was quite strong out along this exposed stretch of sand - it was NOT the kind of weather to take my camera out of the water-proof case while I was out on the water! I drifted into the shoreline and climbed out to walk back towards where the birds were roosting. A lot of foam had been whipped up by the wind.

A fisherman went out to the other side of the bay in his "tinny" (which is the name given to small aluminium boats). I could hear the slapping sound as it hit the waves even from the far side of the bay.

The only birds that let me get close enough for any photos were the Pied Oystercatchers and the Pacific Golden Plovers.

This is only a distant photo so I am including a photo I took of the Pacific Golden Plovers when I was out here last time. It was a calm morning with almost no wind and I was able to drift close to shore and get quite close to the birds without disturbing them. They just walked a little further along the shore away from me.

For more scenery from around the world visit Our World Tuesday

and for more birds visit Wild Bird Wednesday.

Monday, January 6, 2014


...in Reverse!  I know that hibernation describes escaping the extreme cold - but I wonder if there's a word for escaping the extreme heat! The last couple of weeks have been very hot - mid to high 30's and once even tipping over 40 (40 degrees is 104 F).  Add to this the humidity from living on the coast! I did not grow up with heat like this so I retreat into my house and turn on the air conditioning! If/When these temperatures abate I hope to resume my normal lifestyle.
I think even the birds dislike these extreme temperatures. They are active early in the morning and then make lots of noise as it cools down in the late afternoon. In between they find somewhere to sit it out! One of their favorite places is this tree in my back yard. Right now it is in flower but I haven't seen birds at the flowers so I don't think there is much nectar available.

This is a Leopard Tree (Caesalpinea ferrea) which I planted 10 years ago. The trunk and branches reach high and then there is quite a dense canopy of small leaves. The birds sit right up high just underneath the leaves. It must be lovely up there - sheltered from the sun and catching any breeze that comes by. I can hear the birds up there but only see them as shadows against the light when they move. The trunk of the tree always has this pattern of dark and light.

The other morning a flock of small birds flew over the house. (I was sitting beside an open door with a good cross draft.) Their call was not one that I usually hear around the yard so I watched to see where they went. Most flew into the Leopard Tree but one sat on a branch of another tree where I could get a good view of it. A Tuckeroo tree (Cupaniopsis anacardioides) which has not grown so tallIt was still early in the morning (6:30) and the sky had that washed out color. The birds were White-cheeked Honeyeaters (Phylidonyris nigra). I have only seen them in my yard one other time and they didn't stay around long.

For more scenery from around the world visit Our World Tuesday 

and for more birds visit Wild Bird Wednesday

Update: The hot and dry weather broke last night in spectacular fashion! - a BIG storm with lots of thunder and lightning and 50mm (2inches) of rain!  That is the most rain we have had for more than 5 months so it is very welcome. The weather bureau is predicting several days where the temperature is not going above 30 degrees (86F). What bliss!!