Friday, July 24, 2009

Birds and Habitat

These vehicle tracks were made on a part of the sand banks that is supposed to be closed to all traffic. A variety of small shorebirds use this area and need cover to be safe. Without any other cover these Double-banded Plovers were crouched down in the wheel tracks until I came by. I did not even see them until they started moving. (Click on the images to see a larger size where the birds can be seen hidden down on the sand.)
I moved away and then came in from a different angle. With the sun behind me I hoped to get some closer photos but there were too many people around. Double-banded Plovers breed on braided river channels in South New Zealand and spend the winter here in Eastern Australia.
When the person walking down beside the water got too close they flew off. As they lifted off I got a couple of blurred photos of some in flight. When I have disturbed them before they have just run off and I do not remember seeing them in flight up close like this. The wings seem so small to take them on a return journey from New Zealand to Australia every year.


  1. Last shot is a cracker.
    Top wing, underwing view, plus adult and immature birds all in the one frame.
    How good is that?
    People who drive on closed beaches (well, any beaches, in my view) just make me really mad. They seem to have no idea of the damage they do - just by scaring off the birds.
    At least these guys are not breeding here.
    I understand that the 4WD mob out on Fraser Island have scared off nearly all of the Beach Stone Curlews. (Forget the Thick Knee stuff). Little Terns are also threatened by idiots in cars.

  2. Thanks Denis. I was very pleased to see an in-flight shot. re the beach driving - it's promoted as a sport with little apparent notice taken of the ecological damage being done. IMO even fun things need to be limited when they do damage. This area usually has lots of Red-capped Plovers and they do breed here or close-by. However, we only saw a couple on this count. Don't know why or where they might have gone.

  3. Doesn't it make you mad when people think rules are only for others.

  4. Hi John, it certainly does!

  5. G'day Mick,
    Despite the 'driving on the beach' issue, nice shots. Love the way they've utilized the wheel tracks - see, being in a rut is not all that bad!

  6. Oh Gouldiae, I do like your 'being in a rut' comment!

  7. Mick you got some really great shots there! Nice going.
    Re. your question, the ruin and Jonquils are right on my farm. The ruin is on the worst possible site as it is built on a saline winter spring. It must hsvr brrn shocking with salt damp. When we first bought the place we planted a cherry orchard there thinking it would be deep fertile soil. In less than two years they were all dead!

  8. Thanks Arija. That's really interesting about the old ruin. It's fascinating to have that right on your own place - but sad to think how wrong those early settlers were about soils and water.

  9. I will echo comments from Denis - I cannot understand why people feel the need to drive on beaches and it infuriates me when they do. Being in a rut is only okay for a limited time!
    Great photos Mick.

  10. Well Double-banded plovers are new to me but lovely little birds it seems.

    Frustrating when people don't obey the rules, but it did give the Plovers some cover after all :)

  11. Hi Barbara and Tricia, thanks for commenting. The annoying thing about this bit of beach and the vehicles that drive on it is that it is only a few hundred meters from where the signs say no vehicles beyond this point. In other words it is not a matter of no access at all! Beach goers should be able to walk those last few meters!