Leanne and I took the barge over to Bulwer [NW Moreton Island [27S,
153E] yesterday. There are plenty of holiday units and homes for rent
round Bulwer, which appears to have grown somewhat over the last 10
years. The unit we stayed in was a bit run down [and as an old Italian
lady in Harvey used to say to my wife "the mosqueet ... they go bzzz,
bzzz, bzzz in de night"]. On the positive side, a thickknee was also
wailing in the night.
We had a bit of albatross weather on the 2hr trip over, with a strong
southerly ensuring the waves breaking over the side of the barge gave a
salt bath to all but one of the 4WDs on board. There was a group of
1-2 dozen shearwater-like birds [bigger than a seagull, smaller than a
gannet, choclate brown, mostly pale underneath - not that easy to ID
when you aren't a pelagic expert and the deck is less than stable] on
topdoing their wave top thing about 5 km west of the island.
The weather was rather interesting north-west of Comboyuro Pt - on the
ridge tops and exposed ridgetops, the wind was blowing a gale. Down in
the sheltered 4WD tracks, it was like Perth in summer, with the
reflected heat off the Quindalup-like sand. On the sheltered beaches
the sandflies were a bit of a pain. One thing I found interesting was
the way groups of stint-like birds were gathering in groups behind small
sand mounds that had built-up round bits of vegetation on the
wind-blasted sand patches.
The object of the survey was to atlas the beach thickknees that live in
the casuarina woodlands west of Heath Island. Last time I was in that
part of the world, they were out eating soldier crabs. This time, they
obligingly flew out onto the beach round midday, with little concern
about the 4WDs driving by.
Does anyone know why the alternative moniker for thickknees is
"stone-curlew"? Is is because a beach thickknee on the beach might look
slightly like a curlew from a great distance? [otherwise thickknees
have about as much in common with curlews as parrots have with pigeons].
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