Sunday, April 17, 2011

Migrating Shorebirds

I went out to Inskip point the other morning. I thought that I was early enough to be the first out there but there was already a vehicle and boat trailer sitting out on the end of the point.
There were lots of birds out on the sand island and enough roosting on the point to make it interesting.
Most of the larger birds such as Bar-tailed Godwits and Eastern Curlews have left and the ones still here are possibly juveniles that will spend the winter here. I had seen very few Grey-tailed Tattlers (Tringa brevipes) when I was last out here a couple of weeks ago but now there were good numbers of them and most were in breeding plumage.
Although some were roosting by themselves at the edge of the water others were in among the Bar-tailed Godwits. This photo shows the considerable size difference between the two species.
This photo shows a Grey-tailed Tattler on the left, a Bar-tailed Godwit in behind and a Great Knot in the front. The Great Knot is in breeding plumage.
I saw a couple of Curlew Sandpipers also in breeding plumage in among the Bar-tailed Godwits. They are not easy to see when they walk in among the much larger birds.
For more bird photos visit the Bird Photography Weekly.


  1. You got some beautiful fellows there!
    It's hard to imagine that you have the same bird species there in some regards that we do (or that I see the 'same' ones like I do in Europe).

    It just boggles my mind.

    I would love to see those Bar-tailed Godwits though :)

  2. The Godwits are very interesting birds! such a bill! :)

  3. Looks like a perfect day there!

  4. I'm impressed, I'm still not a good enough birder to differentiate these similar looking birds. On a recent expedition I could only id half of what I saw.

  5. I love shore birds. Might have something to do with the fact that I'm so devastatingly land locked here. Beautiful post.

  6. Hi Nicole, yes it is interesting that some species seem to be all over and others are localized to a very small area - plus others with the same names have sub-species and different names that don't even show up in a normal bird book. Bar-tailed Godwits are like that with the nominate race plus two others that come out here to Australia

    Hi Texwisgirl I find them interesting too as we see so many of them out here in summer.

    Hi Springman - a bit of bragging about the local area :-) It's supposed to have a perfect climate - it just hasn't lived up to it this season!

    HI Martha, I've learnt my shorebirds pretty well but still get lost with the "bush" birds!

    Hi Tattytiara, I enjoy living on the coast and would not like to live inland at all!

  7. those vaders are so nice. Yesterday I spotted the first one heree. Sadly dnough it was tooo far away to get a shot. :(
    Your shos are so great. :)

  8. Hi NatureFootstep, interesting to hear that you have seen your first shorebird for the season. As ours decrease in numbers I can just imagine you seeing more and more.

  9. Hi Mick
    I get angry when I see those damned 4WD vehicles on the beaches.
    In my opinion beaches belong to walkers and to birds and crabs, etc.
    I doubt Qld will ever fall in line with the rest of the country in that regard.
    Anyway, good to see you are still finding Waders. I didn't realise that some juveniles might overwinter with you.
    Size comparison shots are always interesting.

  10. HI Denis, I always find the size comparison shots helpful. Wish I had had more of them when I was first trying to sort out shorebirds! There are 4 wheel drive vehicles everywhere up here. I can't imagine it changing anytime soon :-( Some places that is the only way to get there but other places I wish they could be controlled better. Inskip Point is an interesting place because if you go there in the middle of the day there are very few shorebirds to be found - but early morning before anyone gets out and about and there are lots! I wonder where they hide out when there are too many people and vehicles? That is still one of the things we are trying to find out.

  11. ...beautiful photos. I love the bills on the Bar-tailed Godwits. I got to see Marbled Godwits this March in Florida and fell in love with them too...

  12. Hi Kelly, I think Godwits are amazing birds with the long distances they fly on migrations. The Marbled Godwits have a little different coloring from the Bar-tailed Godwits and are just a beautiful.

  13. Got to love those shorebirds. Excellent series Mick!

  14. Your photos of these birds are just fantastic and put me to shame with mine. Beautiful view of the ocean too..

  15. Thanks for commenting BirdingMaine and Mumsy

  16. Great shorebird photos Mick. I too, really like the comparison photos. They definitely help with the shorebird learning process.

  17. When you said the birds were spread out on the sand, you really meant it! Must take picture - duh!:) Interesting post and great pics of lovely little shorebirds!

  18. Great post! I sympathise with you. When any species dominates, even a beautiful one, there tends to be trouble. From my admittedly distant perspective it seems that Australia has had it's share of problems in this regard. Don't I recall something about rabbits?
    Your essay is provocative and beautifully illustrated. Great stuff!