Sunday, 6 February 2011

Low Tide at Point Impossible

Had another attempt at wading birds at Point Impossible (view map) this morning and was not disappointed. There were several flocks of small waders feeding on the exposed sand flats around the mouth of Thompson Creek and sheltering among the weed higher on the beach.

Mostly Red-necked Stint

Red-necked Stint, Pt Impossible
but a few Red-capped Plover and a single Double-banded Plover in intermediate plumage.

Double-banded Plover, Pt Impossible

Double-banded Plover, Pt Impossible

There were lots of Pacific Gull, Silver Gull and Crested Tern flying around and resting on rocks and sand flats but this immature Pacific Gull seemed intrigued by my presence, walking in a large circle around me while I knelt in the shallow water photographing the stints and plovers.

Pacific Gull (immature, year 2), Pt Impossible

My main interest here was in finding Hooded Plover. Another birdo and I thought we spotted one on the other side of the creek so waded across for a closer look but no luck finding it. With increasing canine and human activity on the beach at the creek mouth, I decided to try my luck around the point and walked west towards Torquay. Just at the "Nude Beach" sign (fortunately no nudists today - it can be awkward walking along here with a camera and binoculars!) I spotted one Hoody at the bottom of the dunes.

Hooded Plover, Pt Impossible
 For anyone interested, it was banded and tagged:


The weather was turning for the worse with rain approaching from the west but I couldn't resist trying for the Great Cormorant sitting on the reef about 200 metres offshore. Getting close enough meant either walking out along the reef, which would have scared away the bird (I find this species to be the most flighty of the cormorants and usually struggle to get closer than 30-40 metres) or wading directly out towards the reef. So, footwear removed, off I went into the water and managed to get close enough for this shot just after a second bird landed immediately behind the one I was stalking. 

Great Cormorant, Pt Impossible
The light was gone and drizzly rain started so I made my way back to shore, found my sandals (now covered in damp sand blown down the beach) and hiked it back to the car, wet from above and below but thrilled with two hours well spent at one of my favourite wader spots :-)

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