Day One: Setting up camp and reef walk

Thursday June 10, 2010

[From the trip Brampton Island June 2010]

We started our Brampton Island experience at the marina in Mackay early on Thursday morning.  It was brisk but not too cold, and beautiful and sunny once the day got on a bit.  We headed out to the island on Wild Cat, the Wild Mob catamaran, on calm seas.  The trip out was pretty quiet - we were a couple of days early for the start of Humback Whale migration, and with Cyclone Ilui in April the region is a little low on seabirds.  The final part of the cruise was the most exciting, with Pied and Sooty Oystercatchers as well as a pair of Beach Stone-curlews waiting for us at the Island as we arrived.  Beach Stone-curlews are, so far, the only endangered bird recorded on the island, so it was great to see a pair so easily.

We arrived at Brampton mid-morning, and set up our campsite and tents fairly quickly.  After a brief lunch we headed out for our first experience on the Island - a reef walk!  For those who have never done one, reef walking isn't quite like it sounds - you aren't out there trampling coral.  Instead we were walking through sandy pools between coral outcrops on the intertidal reef.  We saw many, many different and interesting things in the afternoon.  Jacquie, our marine biologist for the trip, was great, pointing out everything and telling us what it was and why it was interesting.  We had sea cucumbers, soft and hard corals, sponges, sea anemones, fish, crabs and giant clams on our walk.  We even had an enormous blue starfish that looked too beautiful to be real!

At the end of the day we sat down for our dinner and were seranaded by the local Bush Stone-curlews as we ate.  For those unfamiliar with them, these large birds make a call that sounds like a cross between an angry ghost and a woman being murdered.  Despite this fearsome sound, they are beautiful birds and quite shy in most of the places they occur.

Location

Wildlife

Marine Invertebrates 1 species
Blue Sea Star (Linckia laevigata) 1
Butterflies 13 species
Varied Eggfly (Hypolimnas bolina) 1
Marsh Tiger (Danaus affinis) 1
Large Citrus Butterfly, Orchard Butterfly, Orchard Swallowtail (Papilio aegeus) 1
Common Grass-blue (Zizina labradus) 1
Meadow Argus (Junonia villida) 1
Yellow Albatross (Appias paulina) 1
Common Grass-yellow, Large Grass-yellow (Eurema hecabe) 1
Large Purple Line-blue (Nacaduba berenice) 1
Dingy Bush-brown (Mycalesis perseus) 1
Blue Tiger (Tirumala hamata) 1
Small Grass-yellow (Eurema smilax) 1
Purple Crow (Euploea tulliolus) 1
Common Evening-brown (Melanitis leda) 1
Seabirds 2 species
Silver Gull (Chroicocephalus novaehollandiae) 6
Greater Crested Tern (Thalasseus bergii) 1
Land Birds 21 species
Pied Currawong (Strepera graculina) 30
Rainbow Lorikeet (Trichoglossus haematodus) 10
Pacific Reef Heron (Egretta sacra) 8
Torresian Crow (Corvus orru) 5
Sulphur-crested Cockatoo (Cacatua galerita) 5
Welcome Swallow (Hirundo neoxena) 2
Olive-backed Sunbird (Cinnyris jugularis) 2
Beach Stone-curlew (Esacus magnirostris) 2
Sooty Oystercatcher (Haematopus fuliginosus) 2
Eastern Osprey (Pandion cristatus) 2 Building a nest in a nearby Hoop Pine
White-bellied Sea Eagle (Haliaeetus leucogaster) 2
Pied Oystercatcher (Haematopus longirostris) 2
Mistletoebird (Dicaeum hirundinaceum) 1
White-faced Heron (Egretta novaehollandiae) 1
Wedge-tailed Eagle (Aquila audax) 1
Southern Boobook (Ninox boobook) 1 Heard only
Orange-footed Scrubfowl (Megapodius reinwardt) 1 Heard only
Collared Sparrowhawk (Accipiter cirrocephalus) 1
Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus) 1
Bush Stone-curlew (Burhinus grallarius) 1
Leaden Flycatcher (Myiagra rubecula) 1
Dragonflies 2 species
Orthetrum sabina 1
Common Glider (Trapezostigma loewii) 1
Terrestrial Reptiles 1 species
Supralittoral Shinning-skink (Cryptoblepharus litoralis) 1

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Written by

Chris