Friday, December 12, 2008

Shorebird Count

I do a monthly count of shorebirds at one of the roosting sites around the bay for the Queensland Wader Study Group. However, the count numbers over the last few months have not been as I would have expected them from counts over the last few years. I have been wondering if it was because the counts have not been scheduled on the very highest tides. This bay is very shallow and although shorebirds do like to roost at regular roost sites there are always a few that stay where they are if they are comfortable and not disturbed there. My counts thus far this season have been less than 400 birds. In previous years I have counted around 1000 birds. To test my idea about the tide height I kayaked over to the site this morning on a very high tide and did a complete count. This morning I counted between 800 to 900 birds. The largest portion of the flock was over 500 Bar-tailed Godwits. There were also good numbers of Eastern Curlews, Whimbrels, and smaller numbers of Common Greenshanks, Pacific Golden Plovers, Grey-tailed Tattlers, and Red-capped Plovers. This is great as it appears that so far, at least in this area, we are not experiencing the drop in shorebird numbers that has been predicted. Here are a couple of photos of the main flock and also a portion of that flock.
Clicking on the images below will bring up very much larger images as I wanted to give a good idea of the size of these huge flocks of shorebirds.


  1. Nice panoramas, Mick. They show the large flocks well.
    Good that your bird numbers are doing well.

  2. Reassuring to hear that the birds numbers haven't dropped and well done on the detective work Mick!

    And what a selection of birds you have there..

  3. Hi Denis, it was a very enjoyable morning and we hope to get out tomorrow to another site and do another count while the tide is high.

  4. Hi Tricia, Yes, I'm pleased to know that the great numbers of shorebirds have survived another migration. There continues to be such a loss of habitation that it is not at all certain in the long term.

  5. That's a lot of birds. Spectacular! Great photography too.

  6. It's always so nice to hear a good news, Mick!
    Thanks for posting those big files. It's such a treat to see so many birds. And it is so nice to see them photographed from the water too :)

  7. Hi Tilcheff, I think seeing them from the water is the best way! But then I always enjoy kayaking!

  8. Terrific photo and great observation. Looks like a wonderful multi-purpose opportunity to get out.

  9. G'day Mick,
    It's all been said above, wow!