Sunday, July 18, 2010

Beach Stone-Curlew

The other day while I was out at Inskip Point the resident pair of Beach Stone-Curlew (Esacus neglectus) walked out of the bush and out onto the sand. Although I go out to Inskip quite often it is some time since I have seen these birds. They are listed as 'vulnerable' in Queensland and 'threatened' in New South Wales. Since they are said to occur on undisturbed beaches it always amazes me that this pair stays at Inskip which is certainly neither quiet nor undisturbed. The Queensland Government web site says that they "...are threatened by loss of habitat and pollution due to residential and industrial development. Feral cats, dogs and pigs are also a threat due to predation of adults, chicks and eggs. Boats, off-road vehicles and beach-combing can also severely impact on the natural behaviour of beach stone-curlews." There is not a lot of habitat at Inskip for them, dogs are allowed at Inskip if kept on leashes, and there are certainly any number of vehicles driving all over the beach - yet this pair has lived there for a number of years and a couple of years ago even raised a young one.
The birds were some distance away when I first saw them walk out on the sand.I walked along the side of the beach and they let me approach quite closely without being disturbed. They are quite large birds (56cm). A little Willie Wagtail flew out onto the sand beside them and although I was not quick enough to get a full photo of it this clipped photo gives an idea of the size difference.For more bird photos visit the Bird Photography Weekly.

15 comments:

  1. I suspect if anything happened to your Thick-knees (name reverted in latest lists) no others would take up territory, so over time the species loses out to invaders.

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  2. Hi Tony, I didn't realize the name had changed back. And you're possibly right about no others ever coming in to live in a place like Inskip. It's easier to loose species than to get them back.

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  3. Wow Mick, what n incredible find! Plus you got some awesome photos of that beauty! I hope they breed faster than they disappear. We have already lost too many species.

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  4. Hi Larry, No they don't breed all that fast unfortunately. All our coastal areas have more and more people using them and there are fewer undisturbed places.

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  5. Great pictures Mick. What a shame that the species is threatened like you describe.

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  6. The head reminds me a bit of the black-crowned nightheron - the general shape and color, nothing more specific. Thanks for including the wagtail, too - I was way off on the size in my mental picture.

    It's sad to read of another species threatened, but bringing it down to one "couple" is especially poignant.

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  7. Thanks for your comments Phil, Wren and Dreamfalcon. It's nice to know these birds are still managing to survive out at Inskip but it would be better if we had more of them.

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  8. Excellent photos of a beautiful bird Mick! Wonderful series!

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  9. Thanks for commenting Rob and BirdingMaine

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  10. What a neat bird, with long wetland legs and a not-so-wetland bill. Nice images, even the glimpse of the wagtail.

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  11. Thanks Vickie, that strong bill is used to peck all sorts of things out of the sand.

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  12. One of my favorite birds Mick. By the way they were uoped to critically endangered in New South Wales this year. See http://www.threatenedspecies.environment.nsw.gov.au/tsprofile/profile.aspx?id=10280
    Tony is on the ball as usual and once this pair go I doubt they will be replaced.

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  13. Hi Russell, IMO all the birds at Inskip are at risk from the increasing numbers of tourists - and especially the vehicles driving on the beach. It's hard to see how you can pack that number of people into one spot and have the birds stay around too. Thanks for the info re the bird's status in NSW.

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