Thursday, April 2, 2009

Ready to Migrate

I was out at Inskip Point the other day at high tide. It wasn't the highest tide of the cycle and I was interested to see that a small part of the sand island out from the point was out of the water.
I could see some of the larger waders and terns clustered out on the island, but since there was a large flock of small waders and terns right on the point there could not have been much room out there. There wasn't much room on the Point either as there were vehicles driving to the end of the Point to catch the barge to Fraser Island as well as several car-loads of people fishing.
The flock of small waders was made up of Red-capped Plovers and Red-necked Stints. Most of the Stints were showing some signs of breeding plumage. My birding books say that the amount of rufous color varies greatly with some showing very little but all getting a necklace of dark streaks across the lower breast. To see photos of non-breeding birds refer to my post of January 14
There were also a number of Little Terns roosting with the small waders. These look so very small but their wings certainly are not! Some of them were in breeding plumage and some in non-breeding. I am not sure if these non-breeding birds were from the northern hemisphere flock or from the birds that breed down in south-eastern and southern Australia and then come northwards for the winter. The bill in breeding birds is yellow with a black tip.

8 comments:

  1. Lovely wing stretch. Are you getting ready to wave bye-bye to some of your flock?

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  2. Yes Tony, it does get rather quite around here with most of the migrants gone. I'm planning to get to know the bush birds much better!

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  3. Thanks for an interesting entry on your sea birds 'down under'. Well done on capturing the wing stretch. It is always fascinating watching the seemingly effortless way sea birds use every small breeze and thermal when flying and those long wings certainly help in the process.

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  4. Thanks John for your comments. I am fascinated by the small waders and seabirds and the huge distances they migrate.

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  5. Great shot of Little Tern Mick. Was it wing stretch or a threat display?

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  6. Hi EB - it was just a wing stretch. I have noticed that after terns have been roosting on the sand for a while they frequently stretch the wings up like that - then fold them - and then sometimes fly off.

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  7. Fantastic shot of the Tern stretching - and I love the other photos of all those tiny birds fattened up and prepared to fly such enormous distances. Your descriptions along with the photos are very helpful.
    cheers
    Barbara

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