Thursday, 7 June 2018

Fraser Island

Someone once said that real birds eat fish, and that's something I can really relate to. Fish eating birds are generally something special. However in Australia I'd have too beg to differ and say that real birds eat crabs!

I was walking along the beach on Fraser Island today when this stonking beach thick-knee walked out from the vegetation calling. This is a species which in my experience is quite timid and will not allow close approach, however this bird walked towards me and was obviously quite agitated.  I assume that it must have had a nest or chicks nearby, but I didn't dwell too long in the area. Like all beach birds, beach thick-knee is under threat due to its preference for nice sandy beaches which unfortunately also attract people.

This whistling kite was hanging around the jetty at Kingfisher Resort on Fraser Island. It was secure sitting on a post just off the jetty and it allowed really close approach.

There are quite a few species of honeyeater in Australia. This is Lewin's honeyeater.

Best of all I came across a feeding flock of about 50 scarlet honedyeaters. imagine trying to photograph a roving flock of long-tailed tits in the UK, well that's how this was. Stunning birds though.

This is one of the smallest members of the family, brown honeyeater.

And this is one of the more spectacular members, white-cheeked honeyeater. They have a really nice hovering display flight. At first I put them down as the similar New Holland honeyeater, but the big white patch on the cheek gives them away! Come on Colin, get a grip.

These patterns in the sand on most tropical Australian beaches remind me of aboriginal paintings and I like to think that they have given inspiration to the indigenous people when they create their art. The little holes in the center of each pattern give the game away, they are in fact the art work of a little blue crab.

And here he is, the sand bubbler crab.

What a cute little guy. There were hundreds of these running along the tideline on the incoming tide, and they are the reason why the beech stone-curlew has its impressive bill, but also interestingly I watched a couple of gull-billed terns hovering over the beach and swooping down to pick off crabs.

Most of the sand bubblers were about the size of a UK 20p piece or an AUS $2 coin, but some where more then twice the size. I don't know if they are the same species, but the big ones accounted for about 5% of the total.


Sooty oystercatcher.

Striated heron.

These beautiful Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins were just offshore near the ferry terminal.

Apart from the whistling kite, there were several other species of raptor on Fraser Island today, this is a brahminy kite.

Eastern osprey is now considered a different species to the bird which we see in the UK. The only noticeable difference  I could see was that like so many other birds here it was very approachable. I've never been anywhere near this close to an osprey in the UK.

White-bellied sea-eagle. Hopefully I'll get a better photo before the end of the trip but for now I'll have to make do with this.

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