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

6 comments:

  1. It's surprising (maybe!) that there is so much variation in the amount of breeding plumage within each species, so it would be interesting to know if it affected their breeding success!

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    1. Yes, this would be an interesting global study but imagine the logistics of trying to track individual birds from Australia to Siberia/Alaska. Now if I could only get funding... :-)

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  2. Wonderful series of photographs of these shorebirds. You must have been a happy birder after this excursion.

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    1. Hi David,
      Thanks four you comments...and yes, it was a wonderful few hours on the beach :-)
      Cheers, Ian

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  3. Second comment: I just noticed your tribute to Eric Hosking. What an amazing bird photographer he was and what a varied and interesting life he led. I have most of what he published.

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    Replies
    1. I can only imagine the dedication, time and effort he and other wildlife photography pioneers spent considering the equipment they were using in comparison with today's digital technology.

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