Sunday, 4 January 2015

Kerang Lakes - Part 3 Back to Lake Tutchewop

After searching for the 'alleged' Long-billed Dowitcher at Lake Tutchewop this morning then spending some time at Reedy Lakes, I returned to Lake Tutchewop late this afternoon for one more attempt at the Dowitcher.

The water level had dropped even further this afternoon but there were still lots of birds to be photographed including Australian Pelicans, Australian Shelduck, Caspian Tern, Silver Gulls and several species of small waders hanging around at the water's edge.

Australian Pelican, Australian Shelduck, Caspian Tern, Sharp-tailed Sandpiper, Red-capped Plover, Red-necked Stint
Lake Tutchewop, Kerang
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8, ISO 400, f/32 1/100
Australian Shelduck + Sharp-tailed Sandpiper, Lake Tutchewop, Kerang
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8, ISO 400, f/16 1/125
Australian Pelican, Lake Tutchewop, Kerang
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/22, ISO 400, f/22 1/200
Masked Lapwing, Lake Tutchewop, Kerang
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/22, ISO 400, f/16 1/125
Sharp-tailed Sandpiper + Silver Gull, Lake Tutchewop, Kerang
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/22, ISO 400, f/16 1/100

Nothing close to shore though...and no Dowitcher! There were several other people at the site also Dowitcher hunting. They were a little more gung-ho than I am (well, a lot really) about searching the vegetated areas (two of them walked straight through the waist high vegetation) so if the bird was there it was definitely not going to show itself. Rather than get into an argument over habitat destruction, flushing birds and the dangers of snake-bite, I decided it was time to leave. Not quite willing to give up yet, I drove to nearby Lake Kelly, the only other lake in the area with wader-suitable shallows around the lake shore. A slow scan of the shore line from two vantage points found nothing resembling a Dowitcher but I did get the chance to get reasonably close to a feeding Red-necked Avocet. There were several of them feeding along the shore with Banded Stilts but getting any closer to the others would have meant walking along the lake shore with no cover and I didn't want to chance disturbing the birds just for another shot.

Red-necked Avocet, Lake Kelly, Kerang
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/22, ISO 400, f/5.6 1/2000

As I was driving out, a Nankeen Kestrel flew into a tree by the roadside so first a shot from the car window...

Nankeen Kestrel (female), Lake Kelly, Kerang
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8, ISO 400, f/5.6 1/2000

then out of the car for a closer look/shot.

Nankeen Kestrel (female), Lake Kelly, Kerang
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/22, ISO 400, f/5.6 1/4000

So, I dipped on the Long-billed Dowitcher but I am confident I gave it my best shot on the day. I have seen this species before (in North America) so I was was not too devastated to have missed it but it may be the only chance I get to add it to my Australian list. Overall, though, happy with a great day of birding.

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