Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Inskip - Smaller Shorebirds

This post is for World Bird Wednesday.

As well as extra high tides at the end of last week there were also extra low tides. It is only on the very low tides that I can walk out around the sand island at Inskip Point. I hoped that I might get some views of small shorebirds on the far side of the island - where I often find them. But - one can never be absolutely sure where shorebirds will go and there were none where I expected them. So I slowly walked back across the sand flats and looked for movement. These sand flats are huge and the birds are very small so when there is movement I slowly walk in that direction. With the sun behind me it is possible to get some good clear photos. All these photos are full crops. The water in the photos is only a few mm deep (possibly half an inch or less) but the sun at that angle makes a nice background.
This is a female Red-capped Plover. The bird book gives its size as approx. 15cm bill to tail. This bird is an Australian shorebird and stays here all year round.
This is a Red-necked Stint. The size is approx. 15cm bill to tail. However, it never appears quite as tall as the Red-capped Plover as it is usually moving over the sand with its head down looking for food. The Red-necked Stint is the smallest of the migratory shorebird. Its weight is approx.25gm.
This is the Lesser Sand-Plover. Its size is approx. 19-20cms. It is not easy to immediately tell the Lesser Sand-Plover from the Greater Sand-Plover since there is not a lot of difference in their sizes. Also a large female Lesser SP may be quite similar in size to a small male Greater SP. (As with many of the shorebirds the females are larger than the males.) The Greater SP has a longer bill than the Lesser. In non-breeding plumage the plumage colours are very similar. We never see as many Greater SP as Lesser SP and I did not see any that afternoon.
This is a Sanderling. Its size is approx. 20cm. This photo is not quite as clear as the others as I could not get into a position where the sun was directly behind me.
This is a Ruddy Turnstone. its size is approx. 23cm. These birds feast on the little crabs that are all over the flats. This bird has a bit of crab in its bill and is about to take pieces out of what is left of the crab in front of it.

18 comments:

  1. Great shots Mick. This is a species that I always have trouble ID'ing.

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  2. Great series and good close ups. Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

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  3. You have some beautiful waders on your patch Mick and you have captured them so well.

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  4. As always Mick, excellent images to help us see the differences in these small waders.

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  5. Mick, Wonderful series on the shorebirds. The last two are ones I am familiar with.

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  6. Great to see small waders. They have great behaviour and always busying themselves and something about them that makes them different from the larger wading birds. I only know two of your species here... Sanderling and Turnstone.

    The Turnstone are very confiding birds, sanderling are allways on the go... non stop, unlesss you catch them napping... with one eye open of course.

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  7. Those are wonderful shorebirds! I am really impressed that you could get those little guys so well because they skitter along so quickly. Lovely post -- beautiful seacoast too!

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  8. Nice job with the ID's- they all look so similar!

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  9. Nice birds - keep an eye on my other blog for the next post - loys of pictures of godwits and such like.

    I end up banding far more stints than a really care for in some years!!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

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  10. Beautiful shots of these Beauties.
    Well done with being at the right angles :)

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  11. Great school Mick. It must be fun watching you stalk these tiny birds! I agree getting the the sun and the subject to cooperate is the great hidden challenge of bird photography. Awesome collection and fantastic descriptions!

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  12. I love shore birds...these photos are terrific!!

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  13. very good portraits today Mick. I love it and the info that comes with them.

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  14. Excellent shots of the shore birds. they are hard to ID as to me they all look so similar. Don't you just love extreme low tides. MB

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  15. Wonderful shots, Mick -- My favorite subjects to go out looking for!

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  16. They are lovely! My knowledge of birds is very limited but I think we have them all here too.

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