Saturday, June 21, 2008

Island Birds

The island had many Noddy Terns; a few are pictured above waiting out the storm in a tree. The storm was bad enough that a few days they stayed in the trees rather than going out to search for food. One sat on a branch outside my tent for at least six hours in the rain one afternoon.

There were also several ground birds called Rails, or "Rats" by the locals as they scavenge for food. One is pictured here - they have an interesting striped tummy and spotty back. Wilson Island is a protected National Park and the birds there have never been fed so they are not aggressive, just hopeful, but obtain food naturally in the wild. In contrast, on nearby Heron Island there was a turtle factory and now a resort. The rails there enter the restaurant, scavenge, and beg. I liked the spunky little guys.

Naturally there were also seagulls. There were mutton birds as well, which burrow underground. A park sign advised that some trees on the island have roots which are sticky and trap birds to use as fertilizer. (Wow!) I also saw two small songbirds and a kingfisher. One day after a raging night of storm two wild ducks appeared on the island as well.

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