Sunday, 16 March 2014

13th Beach Waders Revisited

It's getting close to the departure time for our migratory waders so I returned to 13th Beach to check on the Red-necked Stint and Pacific Golden Plover captured last time.

Immediately I hit the beach a large flock of Red-necked Stint was found feeding among the seaweed (a mixture of kelp and seagrass).

Red-necked Stint, 13th Beach

It was just after high tide when I arrived. This makes it easy to see the birds because they are higher up the shore but they are also much more easily disturbed by people walking along the beach.

Red-necked Stint, 13th Beach

This did give me the chance to move a little closer to the piles of weed and the birds soon returned to continue their feast.

Red-necked Stint, 13th Beach

Some were starting to get their breeding plumage--darker and more brightly coloured wing feathers and the characteristic red neck

Red-necked Stint

Several Ruddy Turnstone were skulking among the stints.

Ruddy Turnstone + Red-necked Stint, 13th Beach
Ruddy Turnstone, 13th Beach

I could sit and watch Stints and Turnstones all day but I was particularly interested in finding the Pacific Golden Plover found last time so I extracted myself as carefully as possible from my observation point close to the seaweed and walked westward up the beach to the rocks where the PGPs are usually found.

As I approached the rocks, the flock of PGPs flushed but soon settled closeby on the outer rocks.

Pacific Golden Plover, 13th Beach

It's a bit of a challenge crawling over rocks to get closer but I was reasonably successful,

Pacific Golden Plover, 13th Beach

getting close enough to capture several birds with different stages of breeding plumage development.

Pacific Golden Plover, 13th Beach

Monday, 10 March 2014

Waders of 13th Beach

Probably the best place on the Bellarine Peninsula to see a variety of small waders is the Black Rocks end of 13th Beach.

I arrived there this morning near low tide but right at the top of the beach, just in front of the dunes, was a flock of approximately 20 White-fronted Chat feeding on invertebrates in the sand and piles of seaweed. Chats are actually related to honeyeaters but White-fronted Chats can frequently be found feeding along the shore at this beach.

White-fronted Chat (female), 13th Beach

White-fronted Chat (male), 13th Beach

There were also several Red-necked Stint among the chats.

Red-necked Stint, 13th Beach

As I moved off to see if I could find the Hooded Plovers that are breeding further down the beach, a flock of noisy Masked Lapwing flew overhead.

Masked Lapwing, 13th Beach

There is an area of beach and dunes roped off where the pair of Hoodies is breeding so I walked past close to the water to try and avoid disturbing the birds but I found them at the water's edge. I knelt down amongst the piles of seaweed a took a few photographs.

Hooded Plover, 13th Beach

According to the signs on the path to the beach this pair has a chick so I didn't stay long, leaving the pair to resume their parenting duties.

There were several mixed flocks of small waders among the rocks at the western end of the beach.

Red-necked Stint, Red-capped Plover, Double-banded Plover,
13th Beach 
Red-necked Stint, Red-capped Plover,
13th Beach

It was difficult to get close to these birds as the rocky terrain means you cannot easily stay low when approaching but I did manage a few shots.

Double-banded Plover, 13th Beach
Red-capped Plover, 13th Beach
Red-capped Plover (with Red-necked Stints in background),
13th Beach

This site is also the most reliable place on the Peninsula to find Pacific Golden Plover and I managed to find them this morning along with a few Ruddy Turnstone

Pacific Golden Plover, Ruddy Turnstone, 13th Beach
Pacific Golden Plover, 13th Beach

but they were easily spooked...

Pacific Golden Plover, Ruddy Turnstone, 13th Beach

As I left the beach, the chats gave me a last look as they exploited the signs as preening roosts.

White-fronted Chat, 13th Beach

Seven species of waders and a smattering of chats made for a great morning.

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Begola Wetlands

Last stop on my quicky tour of the Bellarine Peninsula (see previous post for other sites visited) was at Begola Wetlands in Ocean Grove. I counted 28 species of birds in a one hour walk around the wetlands. This Spotted Turtle-Dove may be introduced but made a pretty subject in the late afternoon light.

Spotted Turtle-Dove, Begola Wetlands, Ocean Grove

I've seen a few Common Greenshank at this site before but this is the first time I've managed to photograph one (albeit badly).

Common Greenshank, Begola Wetlands, Ocean Grove

For once I remembered to switch over to video to capture this bird feeding along with a Red-kneed Dotterel.

The highlight of the day was a juvenile Royal Spoonbill chasing an adult and begging for food.

Royal Spoonbill, Begola Wetlands, Ocean Grove

And on video...

They then took to the air and flew over me

Royal Spoonbill, Begola Wetlands, Ocean Grove

before landing back on the lake bed.

Royal Spoonbill, Begola Wetlands, Ocean Grove

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