Sunday, December 5, 2010

Shorebirds at Mullens

Once again the tides are great for kayaking and seeing the shorebirds and the weather is terrible! We've had 50mm (2 inches) of rain in the last 36 hours. This is certainly not as much as some areas are getting but I won't take my camera out in it.
Last Thursday I dodged the showers and walked out to Mullens. It rained just before I got down there and then rained again just after I reached the car to drive home. In between I saw some interesting birds.
The bigger shorebirds were on the far side of the bay and inaccessible for photos. However, as I walked out onto the saltmarsh flats I saw some small birds and a few terns on my side of the bay.
Gull-billed Terns (Sterna nilotica) nest inland where it is wet but spend the rest of the time out here on the coast. Birds in breeding plumage have a full dark cap and those in non-breeding plumage have only a black patch around the eye. Both of these birds in non-breeding plumage still show some dark pin-feathers on their heads.
There was a large flock of Lesser Sand-Plovers (Charadrius mongolus) roosting with the Terns at the edge of the water.
Further around the bay were flocks of mixed Red-capped Plovers and Red-necked Stints. I photographed one Red-necked Stint (Caladris ruficollis) standing with the Lesser Sand-Plovers. The Stint looked very small standing next to the Plovers.
I also photographed one Little Tern (Sterna albifrons) standing with the Lesser Sand-Plovers. This is one of the migratory terns which come down here from Asia during our summer.
For more bird photos visit the Bird Photography Weekly.

11 comments:

  1. You've been catching a bit of rain lately, mick! It's been heavy but patchy up here.

    That stint makes the plovers look like giants. Probably grateful (s)he's not standing next to a godwit.

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  2. Cool series - shorebirds are just so nice!

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  3. Hi Snail, I wouldn't mind if it would rain and clear up but it seems like we have had weeks and weeks of grey skies. The shorebirds tend to roost in separate groups unless there are only a few of a species and then they go where ever they can.

    Thanks Dreamfalcon. I am always fascinated by shorebirds.

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  4. I wonder why bird always looks the same way. Something with the wind or what? It always amazes me. Great shots as always Mick.

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  5. Hi NatureFootstep - the birds usually face towards the deeper water which is where the tide is coming in from. When it's really windy they will often choose a part of the bay where they can shelter from the wind or face into it - but always towards the water.

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  6. Great series of photos Mick.

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  7. Thanks Neil - but oh how I wish for some bright sunny weather to make a much nicer background for the birds!

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  8. Seems strange Mick that Sterna albifrons also occurs here but not with those bigger terns

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  9. That's interesting Phil. When the migratory terns come down to Australia for our summer they seem to go wherever the smaller fish stocks are plentiful - and there is certainly enough very small stuff in the bay for the Little Terns.

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  10. Great set of images. I love watching terns.

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  11. Beautiful shots as always Mick. I love those Terns and that Stint looks like a midget next to the Plovers.

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