Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Stockton Breakwater

I arrived in Newcastle, NSW, this afternoon in readiness for a 'long weekend' of bird photography and workshops with Birdlife Photography. With a range of outings scheduled at a variety of locations and habitats over the next five days, I tried to find a different location for a quick trip this afternoon. One place I had not been to in the Newcastle area was Stockton Breakwater so it seemed as good a place as any. The breakwater forms the northern side of the entrance to the Hunter River and extends about 800 metres into the ocean providing good views of the beach, harbour and ocean.

A handful of juvenile Australian Ravens were foraging amongst the seaweed on the beach...not your typical beach birds but a good start to the afternoon...

Australian Raven (juvenile), Stockton Breakwater
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8 x2 adaptor, ISO 400, f/8 1/250

Several storms passed by to the south-west so the light varied from bright sunshine (as above) to quite dull. The dull light made it a challenge to try and identify and photograph the terns flying past and plunging into the water. Subsequent examination of the photographs indicates they were Common Terns.

Common Tern, Stockton Breakwater
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8 x2 adaptor, ISO 400, f/8 1/3200

They were fishing more than 100 metres away which made it tough trying to catch the action but I was pleased with this one...

Common Tern, Stockton Breakwater
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8 x2 adaptor, ISO 400, f/11 1/500

As I was watching the terns, an Australasian Darter surfaced right in front of me.

Australasian Darter, Stockton Breakwater
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8 x2 adaptor, ISO 400, f/8 1/800

and climbed out onto the breakwater

Australasian Darter, Stockton Breakwater
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8 x2 adaptor, ISO 400, f/10 1/500

to 'hang out the washing'.

Australasian Darter, Stockton Breakwater
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8 x2 adaptor, ISO 400, f/10 1/1600

I reached the end of the breakwater and watched a steady stream of shearwaters fly past, too far away to identify, until the weather finally caught up with me when a storm declined to pass by to the south and headed directly towards Stockton. I retreated back to the beach and managed to photograph some of the terns sheltering amongst the seaweed

Little Tern, Stockton Breakwater
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8 x2 adaptor, ISO 400, f/8 1/160

Common Tern + Little Tern, Stockton Breakwater
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8 x2 adaptor, ISO 400, f/5.6 1/500

and this Australian Pelican posing on a power pole,

Australian Pelican, Stockton Breakwater
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8 x2 adaptor, ISO 400, f/8 1/500

and managed to get back to the car just as the deluge hit.

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