Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Fish Frenzy

Perhaps it would be more correct to call it a fishing frenzy. On a day of gale force winds that made birding difficult, if not almost impossible, I ventured out anyway, although my birding was virtually confined to the car. I drove along the South Arm Neck and found a mixed flock of birds frenzily chasing after what I assume were small 'bait fish' of some sort, only about 20 metres from the shore (and the road). The flock consisted of about 35 Black-faced Cormorants, 20+ Kelp Gulls, some 40 odd Silver Gulls and a small number of Crested Terns. The cormorants appeared to be driving the fish into the shallows--the water would be less than 30cms deep here--and the gulls and terns were hovering in the 40 knot wind and grabbing anything that presented itself. The shot doesn't really do justice to the scene (clicking on the image to enlarge it might help), and shows only a small portion of the action. Nevertheless, it was an exciting 15 minutes. As something of a bonus, I also managed to take a shot of a passing Swamp Harrier, also using the gale force winds to advantage.

3 comments:

Duncan said...

Great action shot of the feeding frenzy, and don't harriers use a stiff breeze to their advantage when checking out terra firma for a meal.

BirdingTas said...

Thanks Duncan,
As I said in the blog, the pix don't do the scene justice. The wind was blowing so hard that I had to hide behind the car taking the pix. All the while the action was moving at faster than walking pace past me along the beach, necessitating moving the car frequently to get back to the action. Coupled with the noise of the wind and the birds, quite exciting!

Denis Charlesworth said...

Hi Alan, I witnessed a similar feeding frenzy at Ralphs Bay on Saturday. The birds feeding were the same as yours but fewer in number. However the action was very close to the shore and as you said, exciting.