This post is for World Bird Wednesday.
Holidays are great but it's also great to get home again! My return home was in time to see some of the shorebirds before they took off on their northern migration. This is the time when the birds look their best in bright new breeding colors.
I was out at Inskip Point very early in the morning on a high tide and was able to photograph some of the birds in a very large flock that was roosting there. I could have spent a lot more time photographing the birds but 4 wheel drive vehicles came out and soon the whole flock disturbed and flew off. It is legal for vehicles to drive out there - but - the roosting birds must find it a great nuisance to be disturbed.
As usual Bar-tailed Godwits made up most of the flock.
When I got close enough I could see that there were all shades of color amongst the flock.
Some were without any breeding colors. A bird looking like this will possibly be a young one and won't migrate this season.
This one had good bright color and from this back view you can see just how much fat they put on before migration.
The color was very patchy on some birds.
The birds with the brightest color seemed to want to hide amongst the flock. This bird had the brightest color of all that I photographed.
When the Godwits leave here they fly non-stop to the Yellow Sea area. This is a distance of approx. 10,300 Kms. They rest there for a month to 6 weeks and then make another non-stop flight to Alaska - a further distance of 6,500 Kms. They breed in Alaska and won't return here until September. This is another long flight of 11,700 Kms. and is also non-stop. These amazing flights were first documented in 2007 when birds were satellite tagged by scientists from New Zealand, Australia and the USGS. Details can be found here.