Birds of a feather stick together!
Whether we are sailing along, hanging out at anchor or picnicking on a tropical beach, we’ve been visited by lots of birds! Here’s a few:
Birds of Prey
White-bellied sea eagle, Haliaeetus leucogaster. We’ve had overwatch by pairs of white-bellied sea-eagles in most anchorages so far. They are majestic in-flight, and fierce when they swoop on prey. A particularly impressive moment was a pair swooping in to steal our recently discarded crab-pot bait just metres away from us at Ungowa (Fraser Island).
Brahminy kite, Haliastur indus. They are bit smaller than the sea-eagles, but just as prevalent in the various anchorages up the east coast of Australia. Their beautiful chestnut plumage glows in the early morning sun.
Eastern osprey, Pandit cristatus
*At Thomas Island, we witnessed a sea-eagle chasing a cockatoo!
Parrots & Cockatoos
Sulphur-crested cockatoo, Cacatua galerita. We had a cheeky pair of cockatoos visit us in Nara Inlet in search of food. Read post here.
Black cockatoo, Calyptorhynchus banksii. We saw (and heard) lots of black cockatoos terrorising downtown Yeppoon.
Laughing kookaburra, Dacelo novaeguineae. As the sun is rising or setting, you’ll often hear the laugh of the kookaburra. It was especially poignant to hear during the minute silence on Anzac Day in Mackay.
Gannets & Boobies
Brown booby, Sula leucogaster. These guys hang out around reefs and rocky islets. We had our first encounter at Lady Musgrave Island, when we had one stowaway for a bit, and they also came to check us out while we were sailing into Mackay.
Gulls & Terns
Seagulls are just like they are depicted in Finding Nemo. Persistent and sometimes annoying! (I’m not sure what species these are)
White terns, Gygis alba. We accidentally invoked the wrath of a few nesting white terns when we walked around Lady Musgrave Island. We retreated once they started swooping!
Crested terns, Thalasseus (Sterna) bergii.
Australian Pelican, Pelicans conspicillatus.
Sooty Oyster-catchers, Haemotopus fuliginosus. Distinctly coloured but skittish birds. Usually spotted in pairs, but at Shaw Island in the Whitsundays, I witnessed a bit of a threesome…
Beach stone-curlew, Esacus magnirostris. Capt Cook and his crew mistook stone-curlews for bustards in 1770 when they named Bustard Head….but they turned out to be a different bird altogether. We’ve seen them in Pancake Creek, Curlew Island and Hill Inlet. They are pretty shy and do a little head-bounce when you get close.
Masked Lapwing (aka plover), Vanillas miles. I don’t know how lapwings (which I’ve always called plovers) survived evolution. They lay their eggs in the middle of median strips and football ovals. They also like to hang out on lots of east coast beaches.
I think this is some kind of heron??? This guy was catching little fish in Scarborough marina.