Tuesday, April 11, 2006
Made a quick trip down to Marion Bay on Monday. I had expected to see huge quantities of seaweed washed up on the main beach, after the storms, attracting birds. As it happened the beach was as clean as I have seen it, although there was substantial amounts on the 'inside' shore, but apparently of no interest to birds. I thought I had made a reasonably early start, but met 2 birders (who live locally) just leaving! We had all stopped to watch the 5 Little Egrets feeding in the creek on the North side of the causeway (see pic). We talked a while (hard to stop birders talking!) and they told me they had seen 2 Fairy Terns--a fairly late date--but I failed to find them. In Blackman Bay there were around 30 Bartails, 12 Greenshank, 30 odd Pelicans and numerous Pied Oystercatcher. On the ocean beach, there was precious little, except a flock of around 300 gulls, mainly Kelp and a few Pacific, nearly all adult birds. (They seem to flight between there and a waterhole along the road to Dunalley, where they wash and brush up, before loafing in an adjacent paddock, which they were sharing with c 40 Wood Duck.) There were a few waders, around 20 Red-necked Stint and c12 Double-banded Plover, all very flighty, but I managed to photograph this solitary Red-necked Stint in fairly advanced breeding plumage. As I returned along the track, I noticed 2 Welcome Swallows sitting on the fence, all fluffed up to preserve body temperature, as you can see. They were hawking 'robin' style, watching for insects on the ground and pouncing, before returning to their wire perch. If they're to survive the Winter here, as many do, they will need to perfect that skill!
On the debit side, there was evidence of recent activity by an ATV, several dogs and a pacing sulky. I also "chatted" a dirt bike rider, who assured me he wouldn't go on the beach. I saw him later, returning along the Dunalley road, apparently unregistered, and therefore, presumably uninsured!