TOUR OF THE WEEK
It may not be bird season (September – April) but that does not mean that you can’t have fantastic bird encounters. On our bird walk in just 45 minutes you can see at least 10 different species of land and sea birds and it’s the bigger species of birds that are getting all the attention. At the moment there are 3 White Bellied Sea Eagles (Haliaeetus leucogaster) that are patrolling our skies eyeing off various prey ranging from fish, birds, sea snakes and any opportunistic meal that washes upon the shoreline. One of the guests was lucky to get this amazing shot of the eagle - well done Basile. This particular one was gliding along the front beach back and forth no doubt scouting for its next meal. As we moved up around the north end a bird that is not often seen around Lady Elliot was spotted, a Beach Stone Curlew (Esacus giganteus). They are commonly found at Fraser Island but rarely seen here.
Just as the tour was finishing up, we heard the unmistakable call of the Red Tailed Tropic Bird (Phaethon rubicunda) and sure enough there were 2 soaring above our heads. As if that was not enough they both curled around a tree before landing just underneath some octopus bushes (Argusia argentea) only metres away from us…epic.
To see these 3 magnificent birds on one quick tour was a fantastic treat.
DIVE OF THE WEEK
AMAZING is the only way to describe this dive. It may have been choppy on the surface and quite dull in the skies but underneath in the deep blue was like a dream. It was a short boat trip to the site 3 Pyramids where the 6 divers descended; the visibility was roughly 15m with a very light current. On the bottom a Cow-tail ray (Pastinachus atrus) sat resting on the bottom, 10 minutes of the dive was spent investigating the bommies until a majestic Manta Ray (Manta birostris) glided past much to the delight of the divers. As the group drifted south you could here the song of the Humpback whale (Megaptera nocaeangiliae) made by males. it really is an incredible experience to listen to them as you move along. Just 100m from Lighthouse bommies a common Octopus (Octopus cyanea) was seen moving before resting back on the bottom on some coral. The 6 divers knelt on the bottom as it moved slowly changing colour to match the backdrop, absolutely remarkable. It changed from white to maroon to green to blue then back to maroon, outstanding. Meanwhile there were more Green turtles (Chelonia mydas) than you could poke a stick at (not that you would) including ‘buddy’ our resident turtle who seeks you out for a scratch rather than the other way round. It the most curious and interactive turtle I have ever seen. He seems to have a personality similar to a Golden Retriever or Labrador, very playful inquisitive and happy go lucky. As if that wasn’t enough to make a great dive we drifted further to Lighthouse where one Manta Ray was being cleaned and another three were involved in a mating train (a line of Mantas following each other)
Project manta have joined us again to continue their research of the mysterious Manta Rays
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE WEEK:
Manta mating trains,Humpback whales cruising & Dolphins!!