Yesterday morning was beautiful and it was even more beautiful out at Inskip Point. The hint of frost on the dry grass in my yard was nowhere to be found out on the sea coast. It was sunny and very still - and because I was out early there were not too many people around to frighten off the birds.
As usual there were lots of boats around. This one looked as if it had been anchored on the other side of the sand island all night.
The Coast Guard boat was going out along the channel at quite a speed.
The barge to Fraser Island had already made one trip over to the island.
There was very still water over at Bullock Point and the barge and other boats anchored over there seemed to almost float on air.
As I walked out along the sand I only saw some pelicans and terns roosting right out at the end. However, a 4 wheel drive vehicle was going out towards the barge and it disturbed some little shorebirds that I had not even seen until they flew up. I watched carefully to see where they landed - it is a very big expanse of sand and these little birds have a habit of hiding down in car wheel marks.
At first the only ones I saw were Double Banded Plovers that are getting ready to migrate back to New Zealand at the end of our winter. Some were already showing quite a lot of breeding plumage.
A second vehicle going towards the barge made an even bigger flock of little shorebirds fly up and along the sand at the edge of the water. At this time of the year a flock like this will usually include Red-capped Plovers and Red-necked Stints as well as the Double-banded Plovers. They all seem to flock quite happily together and I have to look carefully to ID them all. Red-capped Plovers are year round residents in Australia. Red-necked Stints migrate to Siberia and northern Asia to breed in the northern summer. The ones here now will be juveniles not yet old enough to migrate.
The birds in the front of this photo are all Double-banded Plovers. There are 3 Red-necked Stints out of focus in the middle back.
Two Double-banded Plovers in the front of this photo and two Red-necked Stints behind them.
Another two Double-banded Plovers and two Red-capped plovers with them - a male and a female.
Walking back to the car park it was not quite 8:30am and the sun was still low enough to wash the sea with silver and to turn the fisherman at the edge of the channel into a silhouette.