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.