|Short-tailed Shearwaters are washing up in Hervey Bay|
This month, we’ve had a few questions from curious guests, who have ventured over to the eastern beach and noticed a lot of exhausted and dying birds on the waterline. Short-tailed Shearwaters or Mutton Birds (Puffinus tenuirostris - see above left) migrate annually from Siberia to rookeries as far south as Tasmania and run into trouble when they encounter strong winds and storms out to sea. Exhausted, they drop to the water and are washed to shore by the current providing a good food source for baby Dingoes (Canis lupis dingo) who are just out of their dens and for Raptors like the White-belled Sea Eagles (Haliaeetus leucogaster), and so, the cycle of life continues.
|The aerial acrobatics of a White-bellied Sea Eagel|
White-belled Sea Eagles (Haliaeetus leucogaster) have a wingspan that can measure between 1.5 and 2 metres and their wings form a shallow V in flight. If you have the eyes of a Hawk, you may be lucky enough to spot the nest of one of these feathered giants, which can be situated up to 30 metres high in the tree line.
DID YOU KNOW True Eagles have their legs covered entirely in feathers? On Fraser, our Sea Eagles (despite their name) are in fact a large species of Kite.
|A Brahminy Kite is the skies above Fraser Island|
We often spot Brahminy Kites scanning the coastline and preying on small fish species such as Southern Blue Whiting (Micromesistius Australis) and Australian Herring (Arripis georgianus) as well as carrion (dead animals like the Mutton Birds we mentioned earlier) and small invertebrates such as Soldier Crabs (Mictyris Longicarpus) and insects.
|Wing tips like fingers - the Whistling Kite in action|
Well our non-feathered friends, it’s time for us to fly. Stay tuned for next month’s edition of our blog, but until then, soar you later! Ranger Luke.