Sunday, January 23, 2011

Shorebirds and Tides

A friend told me a few days ago that they had been up to Boonooroo and seen good numbers of shorebirds roosting there right in front of the houses on the shoreline. I decided to go up and see for myself this morning. However, I had forgotten just how little shoreline is left when the tides are high. I went to the places where I had previously seen the shorebirds and all I saw were huge flocks of birds flying elsewhere.
I don't know this area well so I drove down every road that I could find that went towards the shoreline. Eventually I found the birds. They were roosting right in front of some houses. The water was a little shallower and the grass at the edge was low enough that the birds could get up on to it. There was a huge flock packed tightly together.
Most of the flock was made up of Bar-tailed Godwits (Limosa lapponica baueri) but there were some Eastern Curlews (Numenius madagascariensis) standing further out in the water on a sandbank. The water was not too deep for the Curlews but the few Godwits with them were not comfortable with the water depth and soon flew off.
Even close to the shoreline the Godwits looked almost as if they were swimming.
There were a number of Great Knots (Calidris tenuirostris) also packed in tightly with the Godwits. Great Knots look only a little shorter than the Godwits but the plumage color is slightly different and their beaks are straight and black.
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  1. wow, that´s a lot of birds. :) I hope some of them will come my way the coming season. Great shots.
    About Costa Rica I don´t know really what to expect, have no idéa if tehy are there now, but I´ll find out. :)

  2. It is a lot easier to bird when you know the territory but it's only when we venture out that we are likely to find something new to us.
    I like these shots and am glad you kept going until you found them.

  3. Hi NatureFootstep, it was so interesting to see a huge flock like that packed into such a small area. I'm sure you will have a great time in Costa Rica and will come back with some fantastic photos.

    Hi Martha, I'll certainly go up that way again but will make sure the tide is lower when I do so.

  4. Great shots! I hope they keep those sharp-looking beaks away from their neighbors.

  5. Hi Mike, I've never seen them use them that way. The beaks are long and slender to probe deeply in the mud for food.

  6. They are gorgeous - and sooo many!

  7. Looks like you found a good spot there Mick - one to go back to, there's always so much happening at wader roosts.

  8. Hi Nicole and Phil as the tide got higher I could see more birds flying out from other sites but I could not see where they were going. Very high tides - such as that day - mean the shorebirds have to leave even preferred sites.