Thursday, March 26, 2009

Crab Creek

Yesterday was a great day - after nearly two months I got out in the kayak again. I paddled to the roost at South Crab Creek to see what shorebirds were still here. There was a little too much wind and the clouds came up and made everything quite dark before I left - but it was great to be out watching the birds like this again!
Numbers were well down from the huge numbers I had counted in December. This roost usually has hundreds of Bar-tailed Godwits but by now most of these have left on their northern migration. Some of the ones left are showing no signs of breeding plumage - these are possibly juveniles that will spend the winter here in the southern hemisphere. Others were nearly covered with the lovely brick-red breeding plumage on the front.
I decided to post this photo taken last season to show breeding color covering the male. The female on the left has not started changing plumage yet.
There were a surprising number of Whimbrels roosting in the mangrove trees lining the creek. I can't find records of these numbers this late in the season last year. It is almost impossible to see these birds at all until you are so close to them that some at least fly off. Whimbrels don't change color for their breeding plumage but do become darker and more heavily patterned.
There were small numbers of Grey-tailed Tattlers also roosting in mangrove trees. I noticed last year that these birds leave quite late in the season. Some were showing quite heavy breeding pattern on their fronts.
I also saw small numbers of Eastern Curlew, and Pacific Golden Plovers, and of course lots of Red-capped Plovers. These last are here all year round.


  1. Hi Mick
    Good that you are back in the boat, again. That sense of freedom must be wonderful for you after being grounded for so long.
    Nice images of the coloured Godwits. I have only ever seen them in their drab plumage.

  2. Hi Denis, its absolutely wonderful to be out on the water again. I'm just sorry that I have missed seeing most of the godwits this year.