At home again and Queensland is rapidly receding into memory.
Of course, photographs are a wonderful aid to memory, and yesterday I made a lot of images. We went to Coochiemudlo Island at the Southern end of Moreton Bay. It is accessed by a ferry that runs a half-hourly service to and from Victoria Point in Redland. It is just over an hour’s drive from Brisbane through very pleasant country, though the farmland is under pressure from growing suburbia. The first thing you see on the island is a classic tropical island white and beach. Yesterday’s weather was perfect for this.
The locals seem friendly and offered a lot of helpful, though not always accurate advice about where to find birds. I was looking for the Bush Stone Curlew (of which, more later) but one old gentleman suggested that if I went up this street and along that street until I found the blue house and then looked for a certain tree, we would see a Sea Eagle nesting. We followed the instructions and indeed found a handsome raptor nesting in the tree. However, according to the field guide, this bird is the Brahminy Kite (Haliastur indus). She had a substantial nest and like the osprey from a few days earlier, was defending it from lesser birds.
We resumed our walk around the island in pursuit of the curlews, but I was side-tracked again by the proliferation of honeyeaters of various sorts. The first I saw was a Black-chinned honey eater (Melithreptus gularis) sitting on the fruit of a Pandanus tree.
On a nearby suburban street (on this remote tropical island) we next encountered the Blue faced honey eater (Entomyzon cyanotis) extracting honey from the flowers of garden shrubs.
Soon we found ourselves in the Melaleuca wetlands on the North East corner of the island and the bush there was full of birdsong, though the birds remained cleverly hidden.
Around the corner, facing North, there were nice views back in the direction of the city which may have excused me from seeing the very birds I was hoping to meet. Fortunately, David has younger and sharper eyes than mine, and he spotted a group of three. By means a forceful whispers and urgent hand signals, he indicated that he had seen something, so I did my twinkle-toed pink panther imitation back to where he was pointing. Oh great joy, there were three birds. The mainly nocturnal Bush Stone-curlew (Burhinus grallarius) is reportedly secretive by day, and hard to find. And there were three of them in plain sight. Their defense mechanism is to stay perfectly still if they sense danger. This may be the cause of their rarity except in the far North of Australia. I speculate that what we saw was a cock bird guarding two hens on the nest.
In the end as we walked the island, we encountered no fewer than seven of them, and as a photographer, I was delighted that their defense mechanism posed them perfectly.
Sadly, a problem at home meant we had to curtail our walk and head back towards the mainland. Never mind, what we had seen already was a delight. My last shot of the day was of the Gardens Point vicinity as we came back through the city on our way back to the North side. As you can see, there is no shortage of construction in this city.
And so to bed.