Tuesday, August 22, 2006
Sanderling are probably winging their way to Tasmanian shores as I write. Favouring sandy beaches, they are usually to be found on the North East and West coasts of Tasmania, although they also find their way to the South East in small numbers. Over the years, I have seen flocks of up to a hundred or so birds on beaches from Eddystone Point south to Scamander and on Strahan Beach south of the Henty River. From a distance they could be confused with the somewhat smaller Red-necked Stint, but their habit of feeding by "chasing the waves" back and forth to feed is a give away. The images shown here are of birds photographed yesterday at Illinois Beach State Park in the USA, on the shores of Lake Michigan, and show birds still substantially in breeding plumage, a plumage that is infrequently seen in Tasmania. These birds, and a few Semipalmated Sandpiper, approached to within a few metres of us, as my son and I, sat on the beach photographing them. If only all waders were that co-operative!