Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Perfect Weather For Kayaking

Not every morning is perfect for kayaking and photographing birds but if you wait one is sure to come along! Last week I got one of those lucky ones - sunny, no wind, and a morning high tide - and no one else to be seen on the whole of the bay! As I was taking my kayak off the car I heard a dog barking out on the water. The dog was on a boat that had been in the same place for some time. I kayaked out to the bird roost and then saw that the boat was slowly moving down the bay.

When I looked at it closely I could see the dog standing out on the front. The boat looked to be very comfortably set up with a solar panel also on the front and an extra cover over the back to shield from too much sun. Because there was no wind the boat was being moved with a motor.

It looked very peaceful - but rather slow as was obvious when someone else in a ' tinny' with a good fast motor went passed.

All the usual shorebirds were at the roost but even though I was still quite a long way out on the bay they disturbed and flew. I paddled in a little closer and looked for any movement. Pretty soon I realized that there were Pacific Golden Plovers along the shoreline but these birds are really good at finding cover that hides them as long as they don't move. That red bill is a Pied Oystercatcher - also well hidden!

There were more birds a little further along standing on mangrove roots and here there were Grey-tailed Tattlers with them.

Another small group of birds was a little further along the beach. There were more Grey-tailed  Tattlers with the Pacific Golden Plovers and the birds were again using the vegetation to hide in rather than simply fly off.
One of the Pacific Golden Plovers was still showing a little bit of breeding plumage down the front.

For more scenery from around the world visit Our World Tuesday 

and for more birds visit Wild Bird Wednesday.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Half Tide at Mullens

Mullens foreshore is a great place for a walk if you don't have much time. These photos were taken a couple of weeks apart but on a similar tide. I did not see any birds on the first walk so saved the photos for later when I did see birds!

These are commonly called Soldier Crabs and there can be thousands of them walking over the sand. I hadn't seen any for some time - I guess crabs must also have seasons or cycles? They are very quick at moving away if they hear/feel steps close by. Sometimes they just head for the nearest puddle of water and quickly disappear. It's really surprising how quickly they can 'sink' under the sand.

These photos were taken a day ago. The morning was overcast and as I left home there was a quick shower of rain. Down on the foreshore it had cleared a little. Looking north-east there was blue sky and sunny patches.

Looking south it was very dark. There were a number of Gull-billed Terns swooping down and picking up food from the sand or shallow pools of water.

There was quite a strong wind blowing and shorebirds usually find a sheltered area to rest or feed . Apart from the Terns this was the only bird I saw. From a distance I thought it might be a Red-necked Stint but as I got closer I could see it wasn't quite the right size or shape. It was against the light which made ID harder.

I moved away a little and tried to get the light shining on the bird - but I had only one quick chance before it flew off. I managed one photo with it partly obscured by a small mangrove plant and one more photo as it was stretched out just before it flew. It was a juvenile Sharp-tailed Sandpiper which is not a species I usually see here on the foreshore. 

For more scenery from around the world visit Our World Tuesday

and for more birds visit Wild Bird Wednesday.

Monday, October 6, 2014

More Backyard Sights

The 'net is a wonderful invention - it sends text, photos, sounds, and video - but so far! - no smells. So please use your imagination on this post.
These Banksia roses have been blooming outside my kitchen window for a few weeks. There are some dead blooms but plenty more buds still to come out. The perfume is delightful - especially in the early morning and late afternoon.

Down the back corner of the yard I have citrus trees planted. This tree is a very large one - a Pomelo (citrus maxima) - and in full blossom right now. Pomelos are the largest of all citrus fruit - 15-25cms in diameter(5.9-9.8 inches) and weighing 1-2 kms (2.2-4.4 lbs). The fruit is usually a white color and tastes like a mild sweet grapefruit but without any of the bitterness of a grapefruit. It was originally grown in southern and south-eastern Asia.  I love the smell of citrus blossoms and so do the bees!

Next to the Pomelo tree is a Macadamia Tree. The flowers smell like very sweet honey and are attracting bees and bugs of all kinds. Macadamias used to be called Queensland Nuts and were originally from Australia. Macadamias were planted as a commercial crop in Hawaii from the 1920s and are now grown in a number of places around the world.

Occasionally rather unusual birds come through my backyard. I am lucky if I am around to see them but this time it was easy! A couple of little Willy Wagtails were making a big fuss and scolding something that had come too close. When I went out to see I found this Pheasant Coucal (Centropus phasianinus).  This is only the third time I have seen this bird in my area - or at least around town. The photos are not good! They were taken against the sun and then in deep shade under some palms. Although the Coucal is classed as a cuckoo it does not have the nasty habit of nest parasitism but builds a nest for itself in long grass. It is usually seen running across the ground and when it does fly it almost seems too heavy to get up!

For more scenery from around the world visit Our World Tuesday

and for more birds visit Wild Bird Wednesday.