Mirrapool Atlas [Needletails]

Subject: Mirrapool Atlas [Needletails]
From: Laurie & Leanne Knight <>
Date: Sun, 28 Oct 2001 18:24:12 +1000
Yesterday morning, Leanne and I met Brian and Julie Moore and caught the
Moreton Venturer across to Tangalooma on Moreton Island.  We then hopped
in a 'cab' [run by the people who manage Moreton Moorings and tend an
oyster farm at Kooringal] and had a lift down the eastern beach to
Mirrapool [27 20, 153 26].  There were a pod of whales about 150 metres
out to sea - the locals were of the opinion that they were sperm whales
[certainly seemed to have a different shaped back to the southern

As you might expect on a sand island, the configuration of Mirrapool had
changed somewhat since I was last there in March.  The waders were more
concentrated at the northern end this time, and not there in large
numbers.  However, we did see a few golden plovers, sharp tailed and
curlew sandpipers, red necked stints ruddy turnstones and the odd godwit
along with the usual red capped and spur winged plovers, pied oyster
catchers and black winged stilts.  There were quite a few chestnut teal
on the water, a lone pelican, lone needletail and a night heron.  As you
would expect on Moreton, there was also an osprey, sea eagle, brahminy
and whistling kites, mangrove honeyeaters, rainbow bee eaters and a few
gull billed terns.

We then wandered up to our campsite below the little sandhills where we
sighted a few beach thick knees.  There were plenty of cuckoos calling -
brush, coucal, koel & channel billed.  There was a noisy friarbird
lurking on its nest, and golden cistacolas and tawny grass birds calling
from the frontal dunes.

Friday's rain meant there was a fair bit of firm sand up on the sand
hills, which made for pleasant walking.  The views from the crests [100m
alt] were great [as usual].  There were plenty of pipits hanging around
on the sand, and some of the local crows were in the habit of sitting on
the crest of the sand hills.

There were nice views of the lights round Pt Lookout on north stradbroke
island last night and the thick knees were out with their relatively
subdued calls.  

A flock of [up to a dozen] needletails zipped through while we spent a
final half hour on the sand hills this morning, and then it was down to
the beach for our return lift.  

Here we had the opportunity to look at some pied oystercatcher diggings
which hadn't been washed away by the waves [perhaps the tide was still
falling].  There were a few narrow ~5 cm slits in the sand, and a few cm
down one, there was a mussel that had been partly prised open and
dispatched - clearly the mussel had been sitting join up and the
oystercatcher had used the sand as a vice to hold the mussel while it
hammered on the edge where the shells joined.

Tangalooma was very busy when we got back for a smooth sail home on the
1pm barge.

Regards, Laurie.
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