Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Grey-tailed Tattlers

This post is for World Bird Wednesday.


I went out to Inskip Point early on Friday morning to see whatever shorebirds were around.  There are always birds to see out there but if you want to see greater numbers then you have to be out there on a high tide and when there are few people around.  This means either early morning or last thing in the evening.  I was out there early morning before any 4 wheel drive vehicles had driven around on the sand and before any fishermen had walked around.  This photo is taken looking diagonally across the point to the car ferry which takes vehicles across to Fraser Island.  The birds were spread out all along the waterline on the south of the Point.
When I was out there a couple of weeks ago there were huge numbers of Bar-tailed Godwits - many of them in breeding plumage.  This time the Godwits had apparently left on migration because the ones I saw were in non-breeding plumage.  These were possibly young birds that will spend the winter here.  This time there were almost more Grey-tailed Tattlers than Godwits.  Grey-tailed Tattlers around here usually roost in mangrove trees.  This time they were standing on the sand in nearly full breeding plumage and looking very plump.  I had not previously photographed Tattlers with this amount of breeding plumage so I was anxious not to disturb the birds but to get as close as possible.  It takes lots of patience and very slow movements - sometimes standing still for several minutes before again slowly moving forward a few feet.  If you watch the birds closely you can see when they start getting agitated prior to them taking flight.  Then you stop and stand absolutely still!  I started taking photos at one end of the flock and then was able to very slowly move right down to the other end - well almost!  A raptor flew over and put every bird up at one stage but most of them came down again and roosted very close to where I was standing.  You can tell how well I did at not disturbing the birds because most photos had some birds with their eyes closed and/or their beaks tucked back under their wings. 
Three Tattlers and one Great Knot
(Above - I am not finding this new version of blogger easy! It hasn't let me put my photos where I want them!)  Tattlers standing among Godwits - a useful photo for size comparison. 
These two Tattlers were standing a little distance away from the others and I have cropped the photo to show just these two and the colors in the water and some leaves.  The leaves have dropped off mangrove trees.
Two days later some friends went out at a similar time in the morning to also see the Tattlers and they were all gone!  Apparently they had left on their northern migration sometime in those two days. 

I was asked last week about my camera gear.  I am using a Pentax K5 and this particular morning had on my Sigma 150-500 lens.  I have been told by friends (and have also read) that this lens on a Canon Camera is not very sharp when zoomed all the way out.  On my Pentax camera it does a good job and is as sharp as my other smaller lenses.  The lens is heavy!  I find it most convenient to use a monopod when I know I will be photographing for some time.  There is good lighting early in the morning at Inskip when the birds are roosting on the southern side of the point so I have only cropped and re-sized these photos.


22 comments:

  1. these are beautiful shots, mick. i admire your ability to i.d. these shorebirds.

    ReplyDelete
  2. You really do have some fantastic shore birds Mick..
    I would love to live on the coast.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Great shots!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Great images. Yes, the birds are on the move and the winter species have mostly gone from my area as well.
    I, too, am frustrated with the new blogger.

    ReplyDelete
  5. pretty shore birds and i like the green ferry boat in the first shot!! that's a great image!!

    i have been having "issues" with blogger also, mostly in spacing. i have to add 5 spaces between pictures just to get one space. i have been able to do most other things as usual, i just wonder why they feel the need to change things. no one is happy with it!!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Shorebirds confuse me. Very nice shots!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Some good tips about using fieldcraft Mick which resulted in some fine photograpps. Wish all birders were as careful or considerate.

    ReplyDelete
  8. They certainly are pretty little birds. I do like the shot that gives the size comparison. The pic before that they looked almost the same size.
    Great shots!

    Does anybody like the new blogger interface? :)
    I thought you could click on the picture and move it up or down in sequence. I'll have to experiment on my next post.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Beautiful birds and fantastic photos. I especially likes the last one :)

    ReplyDelete
  10. Beautiful shots, love to see your shorebirds.
    Mette

    ReplyDelete
  11. Great shots as usual!!!Lucky you could capture them before they were gone:)

    Have a great day!!
    Shantana

    ReplyDelete
  12. Beautiful birds!
    The pictures are perfect.

    Greetings from Norway

    ReplyDelete
  13. What a great set of pictures - the mixed species shots are splendid.

    Stewart M - Melbourne

    ReplyDelete
  14. You are so lucky! Great post, - perfect for WBW. Lovely pictures!
    Happy World Bird Wednesday to you!

    ReplyDelete
  15. don´t think I have seen this one before. Thanks for sharing the info and shots. :)

    ReplyDelete
  16. Great shots and your timing seems to have been perfect too.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I love to watch shorebirds, but have so much trouble with IDing them -- your photo with the size comparison would be helpful. If I could remember. But also I am not sure we have tattlers here -- at least I don't recognize them. That was great timing for you to catch them, wow!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Wonderful images here. It's worth it to beat the crowds in the morning...but not always easy. :)

    ReplyDelete
  19. Beautiful birds, and beautiful colors :)

    ReplyDelete
  20. Wonderful shots of those birds, Mick. Sounds like they decided you were safe.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Lovely birds, Mick, great job you've done photographing them!

    ReplyDelete