Sunday, September 24, 2006

Waders Return

Probably greatly assisted by the gale force winds we've been experiencing in the last several days, many of the migrant waders have returned from their breeding grounds in the sub Arctic. Most began arriving around the end of the week, and there are now, flocks of Red-necked Stint and Curlew Sandpipers in their favoured resorts around the Derwent Estuary. The accompanying shots were taken at Pipeclay Lagoon on a very wind swept Saturday morning. It was interesting to watch the flocks wheeling around at the slightest disturbance, but usually landing by some unsuspecting Red-capped Plover, presumably on the basis that if it was safe for them, it must be OK for us. The Redcaps were about in some numbers. On the small marsh near the oyster sheds, there were at least 12 pairs. Some, by their actions, appear to already have young runners , although I didn't see any. The shots show (top) Red-nacked Stints landing alongside a Red-capped Plover. (Centre) part of a flock of around 250 Red-necked Stint, with 2 Curlew Sandpipers, of about 20 present, (see if you can spot them). (Bottom) Red-necked Stint and a single Curlew Sandpiper, landing back on the beach.
I hesitate to bring up the next subject, but is birding etiquette, in Tasmania, dead? I have been hassled by mini bikes, off road vehicles, dogs, and a whole range of other activities, but on Saturday, I was hassled by another birder. Attempting to photograph the waders you see here--a difficult proposition given that the birds were very nervous and flighty in the high winds-- when, in the distance I noticed an approaching birder, well known to each other--who will remain nameless. I assumed that as this person was obviously aware of my presence, 'they' would stay well away, and observe the birds from a distance--'they' had a scope. But no! Having disturbed one group of waders, 'they' marched on, and disturbed those near me too. So much so that they disappeared from the area completely, leaving about a fifth of the flock. I was not impressed! I spoke very briefly to them. The conversation was short, but not impolite. I'm not sure what the motivation was. I believe 'they' were either counting or more likely looking for possible rarities. Having recently returned from the US were there were often numbers of birders about, I was pleased to see the courtesies they gave each other in similar situations. I would like to think that we might give each other similar courtesies.


Duncan said...

Plain pig ignorant. Sometimes you can be surprised though, one day I was photographing King Parrots from the car window in town when a lady approaching on the footpath stopped, called out to me, then proceeded after I finished and waved her on. Restored my faith in human nature a little.

BirdingTas said...

Yes I think your right and, hopefully, the exception rather than the rule.I've had similar experiences when shooting from a car, but you do have to pick your spots to try it!
For those who may have looked closely at the flock, I think there are possibly 4 Curlew Sands.