Another year has passed again but only a short break for our Wild Mob team. We were back at work again in the Capricornia Cays, beginning the start of another busy year. Bill, Derek and Amanda started in Mackay bringing the Wild Cat to Yeppoon and meeting the 12 volunteers ready to get started on our Capricornia Cays Seabird Survey Project.
It was an early start on the 8th Jan with a 7 hour trip out to North West Island, 54nm east of Yeppoon, it was still dark when we left. We reached North West with the weather still picture perfect which would promise to be the only time the volunteers would see the Island like this.
The group was out there to team up with Queensland Parks and Wildlife and the Australasian Seabird Group to conduct the annual seabird survey of the Capricornia Cays. The Cays are unique as they support Pisonia forests, an endangered ecosystem and the Capricornia Cays is where you can find the majority of what remains. Because of this the area has some of the largest Wedge Tailed Shearwater and Black Noddy breeding populations in the world.
Each day groups would go out to specific locations and count Noddy nests and conduct an occupancy survey of the shearwater burrows. This was done by carefully placing your hand down the burrow and if it was occupied then this would count as a pair of shearwaters breeding. Our volunteers did a fantastic job helping us conduct the survey in the summer hear and were always keen and ready to do more.
In the down time we were kept busy watching the hundreds of Green Turtles coming up to lay on the beach at the front of camp. Also spotting the odd hatchlings and guiding them to the sea. There was enough time to do two snorkelling trips off the edge of the reef where we could see the other wildlife that called the island and its reef home. We went on a day trip to Masthead Island to help Parks survey the second largest Island in the Cays. This was a testing day with rough seas both ways but everyone managed take their mind off the weather with lots of jokes and laughter.
We made it back to Yeppoon in some very large swell but running with it didn’t trouble anyone and we all enjoyed a BBQ on the back of the boat on the long journey home. The volunteers were all fantastic and worked extremely hard and without their help the survey would not have taken place and we would not have had such and enjoyable week.
Thanks to all involved.