Great Billed Heron - Little Tern, Blacks Beach, Mackay

Subject: Great Billed Heron - Little Tern, Blacks Beach, Mackay
From: "desley williams" <>
Date: Fri, 04 May 2001 03:13:16 -0000
On 26 April a friend (a Turtle Researcher, who assists me with atlassing in the Mackay Northern Beaches) and I were atlassing one of the remaining wilderness areas in North Mackay: namely McCready's Creek Blacks Beach.   Whilst searching for Beach Curlews we saw an imm. Great Billed Heron on the opposite side at the junction of McCready's and Apsley Creeks.  We watched it for about 7 minutes: it was stalking  something in the water; then collected some food (crabs/mudskipper etc.) from the mud and walked back into the mangroves.   An hour later we returned after having seen 2 Bush and 2 Beach Curlews at the mouth of McCready's Creek, we could not see the Heron, but it  flew out  when disturbed by a fisherman loading his boat; and proceeded further upstream.   We had excellent views of the bird, this being my 6th sighting of GBH.  Being an imm. perhaps they are breeding in the quiet creek system because on April 6 2000, my friend and I discovered an adult GBH about 1.5km further upstream, resting on a sandbar.     Despite several return visits we had not seen this adult bird since, but a fisherman friend told me he had seen a very large dark Heron in Apsley and McCready's Creeks on occasions.     We only hope that this wilderness area is preserved (with rumours of future development); the protected sand dunes being an important valuable wader roost, the bird list contains some threatened/rare species: Beach S/Curlew (raised chicks in 1999/2000); Bush S/Curlew (may be breeding); Little Kingfisher; Little Tern; and an important nesting site for the Flatback Turtle.     The latest subdivision app. 1.5km away, destroyed valuable nesting trees, and mature trees are still dying.  Some nesting birds  have already abandoned the area.     
May 3rd:   At the McCready's Creek estuary we  saw a pair of Osprey, one of which had collected a large SNAKE presumably from the water and whilst we were following the Osprey to watch it devour its meal; a flock of terns flew in which we identified as Little Terns in non-breeding plumage totalling 170-180.       Regards Desley Williams

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