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.
Friday, December 12, 2008
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.