The Mullens shorebird roost is always beautiful on a big high tide. As I kayaked around into the bay the other morning I could see the larger shorebirds spread out along the edge of the bay. (All photos can be enlarged by clicking on them.) All of the bay is very shallow and at low tide there is no water and the saltmarsh vegetation is uncovered. I knew that where I could see the larger birds roosting there was not enough water for me to get in close in the kayak so instead I let the tide drift me in to the head of the bay where I knew the smaller shorebirds would be roosting. When I ran aground I got out and walked slowly in behind a large flock of mixed Red-capped Plovers (Charadrius ruficapillus) and Red-necked Stints (Calidris ruficollis). These little birds can usually be found roosting together. The Red-capped Plover is an Australian bird and stays here all year. It is approx. 15cm. and weighs 37gms. The Red-necked Stint is the smallest migratory shorebird that comes down to Australia. It breeds up in northern Siberia and Alaska. It is approximately the same size and weighs about 25gms. It looks smaller than the Red-capped Plover as it is usually hunched over a little. The little Red-capped Plover is always curious and will often walk closer to get a better look at you, while the Red-necked Stint simply gets on with the very important business of finding food. In the next photo the Red-capped Plover is on the right of the photo and the Red-necked Stint on the left.
I walked closer very slowly and made no sudden movements. The birds let me get very close indeed without showing any signs of disturbance. You can tell that they are not disturbed when your photos show most birds with their eyes closed or half closed!
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