May 20, 2015

May's Migrants Make All Kinds Of Tracks To Our Island

Now here’s something to tweet about!   Our winter migrants are on their way and our resident Ranger Twitchers and Whale Watchers are ready to welcome them with open arms to Fraser island’s sandy shores.  
Putting the WOW into whale watching. Whale Watching officially starts from1 August.
Hervey Bay's famous Humpback whales (Megatera novaengliae) are on the move - slightly earlier than usual – with just over two months until we start our official whale watching season from Kingfisher Bay Resort.  Meanwhile, if you’re headed our way over the next few months, you’re likely to see surface behaviours - like breaching and tail slapping - beyond the shorebreak on 75-Mile Beach. 

Here at the resort, we Rangers think Fraser Island’s sea and shorebirds are a fabulous feature of any island stay – they occupy a range of habitats in and around our creeks, estuaries and island foreshores - and all just a stone’s throw from Kingfisher Bay. If you're a bird nut, like us, feel free to join us on our regular Ranger-guided early morning bird walks - you'll find all the details in our What's On Guide.

Far Eastern Curlew  (Numenius madagascariensis)
This month we're talking birds because May 10 marked World Migratory Bird Day so it’s a great time to chat about our wonderful bird life on island.  The theme for this year’s World Migratory Bird Day was all about energy and how to make it bird-friendly. Habitat loss, electrocution and collisions with infrastructure are just some of the man-made problems that threaten migratory bird species.

You may not be aware, but Fraser Island acts as a transition zone between tropical and sub-tropical areas.  In fact, the Great Sandy Strait—from Dayman Point – Sandy Point (near Hervey Bay) to Tin Can Bay in the south—is a RAMSAR wetland of international importance. It has been declared a shorebird designated area within the marine park to protect resting migratory shorebirds.

DID YOU KNOW that long distance migratory birds must gain significant weight – for their annual migration?  All sea and shorebirds must rest and feed to replenish their energy levels.  Please given them a wide berth if you see them whilst you’re out and about on island.

Spotted! A Wallum Rocket Frog on Fraser Island.
The resort grounds are also home to specially adapted frogs – like the Wallum Rocket Frog (Litoria freycineti) that reside in the wallum heath at the front of the resort’s hotel wings and Centre Complex and are able to tolerate the mildly acidic waters.  For those that can’t identify their “ribbits” from their “croaks” in the cloak of darkness, we’ve got a great solution for you.

In recent ‘ribbiting’ news for nature lovers, James Cook University scientists have developed a frog-spotting smart phone app that can identify a frog by its individual call.  The eGuide app also gives the user descriptions of the amphibians, location maps and photographs.  And best of all, nearly all 238 of Australia’s known frog species are included!  Happy spotting!  

Well, it’s been an action-packed May with wildlife galore and the promise of more migrating holidaymakers over the coming months. Please remember to give our migratory birds their resting space and enjoy your time on the world’s biggest sand island.  Catch you next time, tree huggers.

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