Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Shorebird Count at Inskip

This post is for World Bird Wednesday

We did a Tern count at Inskip Point the other evening. There was a heavy cloud cover coming in from the west which made it harder and harder to see the Terns as it got darker. We counted 702 birds of which most were Crested Terns. The clouds made a beautiful sunset. At first most of the color was right around where the sun was setting but a little later the color flooded all the western sky.
The next morning we were out again before 7am but this early start did not really help as there was a heavy fog drifting from the south and completely covering the sand island. Even the Point itself was misty. It was more than an hour before the mist lifted and the day turned bright and sunny.
We did not count as many birds as we had found the previous month but it was not a really high tide and there were possibly sand spits exposed in other parts of the Strait where the birds could have been roosting. We counted 9 species and 130 birds.
The Double-banded Plovers (Charadrius bicinctus) were showing lots of bright breeding plumage. There were three of them searching for food among the leaves at the edge of the water. There have been very high winds for the past week and a lot of vegetation must have had leaves stripped off.
This bird turned and faced me and the photo shows how it has been putting on weight ready for the migration back to New Zealand. These birds are 17.5-19cm - a bit over 7 inches - in length. It is a long way across the Tasman ocean to New Zealand - (more than 1500 miles) - and there are no places to stop and rest. The fat the birds put on provides the energy for their long distance flight.

21 comments:

  1. oh, those plovers are beautiful! love that rich caramel banding!

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  2. A beautiful little Plover... Lovely images and a nice read.

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  3. Great close ups!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

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  4. Cute plover and your photos are beautiful. I love the sky shots, very pretty sunset.

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  5. Gorgeous sky and lovely bird!

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  6. What a beautiful bird! And the sunset is amazing too!

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  7. Your double banded plover is a spectacular little fellow and so courageous!

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  8. Hi there - thats a great shot of a DBP are great. It does look nice and fat for its trans-Tasman trip.

    Cheers - Stewart M

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  9. The Plover is a beautiful bird - your captures are wonderful! Your scenic shots are really lovely!

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  10. Thank you for sharing
    This fabulous work with us
    Good creations

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  11. What a cute little bird! It's amazing how long the migratory flights can be, especially for the little guys.

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  12. The plovers are very photogenic. Great poses.

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  13. Fascinating post and gorgeous shots of the sunset and polvers. I did not know the Tasmanian ocean was that wide. Indeed, that is quite a Non-stop flight! Good work on the bird count too!

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  14. That's a lot of birds in my book!

    Love the little plovers :)

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  15. That top DB Plover really has put on some "condition".
    Lovely healthy specimen.
    Terrific sky shots, Mick

    Denis

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  16. Oh, what a pretty little bird that is! I just love it! Beautiful shots all around. The sunset shots look amazing when enlarged!

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  17. I love your shots of the Double-banded Plover, Mick. I admire your persistence in counting the terns, no matter what the conditions.

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  18. Plovers are beautiful birds. They are endangered species here in Oregon (I'm not sure what variety). People erect temp. fencing around their nests when they find them, but it is a worry about kids and dogs before they find them. (Cars are never allowed on Oregon beaches, a fact which I heartily approve of!).

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  19. Those sunset photos are gorgeous!
    You captured some wonderful photos of the plover. I love seeing them dart along the beaches.
    Oh my, that's a lot of miles. Unbelievable almost that they could fly that far.

    Thanks for your visit this week.

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