Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Airport Roost

This post is for World Bird Wednesday.

The other morning I kayaked around to the roost on the south side of Mullens Creek. It is not far from all the activity at the picnic ground but too far for anyone to reach it unless they have water transport. This roost is also close to the small grass airport for private planes - hence its name. A good variety of shorebirds uses this roost with the right tide height and the right time of day. I counted well over 200 shorebirds the other morning. If you want to count the shorebirds you need to be out on the bay where you can see the whole of the sandy beach. If you want good photos you have a better chance of creeping up closer to the birds without disturbing them if you come in behind the sandspit. Unfortunately there's not much chance of doing both on the same tide so I had to opt for a count the other morning and only got what photos I could while sitting in the kayak while it rocked slightly on the water. I am not taking my new camera or long lens out on the kayak and can certainly notice the difference in the photos.
The birds were spread out along the length of the sandy beach. I saw Pied Oystercatchers, Little Egrets, Eastern Curlew, Whimbrels, Bar-tailed Godwits, Pacific Golden Plovers, Grey-tailed Tattlers, Terek Sandpipers and Common Greenshanks.
The Eastern Curlews were standing off by themselves but the others were in a mixed flock. I took numbers of photos from one end of the beach to the other so I could check my ID and counts after I got home and looked at the photos on the computer. The Whimbrels were on the beach behind where most of the Godwits were roosting. Later in the season I commonly see Whimbrels roosting in the mangroves and not on sandy beaches.
There were only 3 Pacific Golden Plovers but they were in different stages of moult out of their breeding plumage.
This is the only roost on the southern end of the Strait were we see Terek Sandpipers. They always roost with Grey-tailed Tattlers and it is not easy to tell them apart. Some of the Tattlers also showed remnants of their breeding plumage.

15 comments:

  1. Your shorebirds are lovely to see...

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great post on youu shorebirds. I love the Plover and the Whimbrels. I need to learn to creep up closer, most times the birds see me and take off before I can even get close. Great photos and Happy Birding!

    ReplyDelete
  3. i would be so nervous to kayak with any camera!! your photo's of the shore birds are wonderful, i have always enjoed taking pictures of these birds!!

    thanks for the visit and the very kind comment!!

    ReplyDelete
  4. It looks like shorebirds rule at this time of year! we saw quite a few on Plum Island in Massachusetts this past weekend.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Your photos are fantastic. I have such a hard time staying steady enough to look through my bins sometimes when kayaking - let alone take pictures! :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. This looks like a great place for shorebirds Mick. I am sure looking forward to getting myself a kayak. It has to be the best way to photograph waterfowl. I love your shot of the Pacific Golden Plovers.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Nice to see your back in the kayak. Regrettably kayak season is fast coming to a close around these parts. My kayak has a fairly flat bottom and is very stable on the river so I chance it and take my A+ gear along. So far no mishaps. But if I thought there was a micro-chance of going for a swim I would play it safe too!
    Cheers to you Mick!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Such a variety of shorebirds! I am really envious, Mick. I'd have a travel widely to approximate that number of species. Very enjoyable post.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I love the first shot, with all the birds spread out along the shore! Birding from a kayak sounds ideal.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I clicked on the photos to see them enlarged. Wonderful shots!!!

    ReplyDelete
  11. I think your shorebirds are lovely! And your "kayakable" camera did just fine -- I wouldn't want to take an expensive one out there either, just in case.

    Having a kayak is on my bucket list.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hi there - great set of pictures and story. I think I know what you mean about cameras and boats! Although I suppose that's what insurance is for!

    Cheers - Stewart M

    ReplyDelete
  13. Really nice post about those decorative birds, thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Great shots to see Mick. Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I'm with you on not taking new cameras out into Kayaks! Looks like a very nice roost there.

    ReplyDelete