Friday, October 27, 2006

Orielton Waders

There was a time when Orielton Lagoon was at the top of many local birders list of birding venues. Two decades on from those 'halcyon' days, it doesn't register on many birders radar at all. In mitigation, it must be said there have been many changes in that time. The lagoon is now semi tidal, and largely salt water, this to accommodate the local sewage works. There is a burgeoning Kelp Gull colony, and the march of housing development, has crept ever closer. Despite all those negatives, it's still worth a visit, but it's at its' best at high tide.
My visit earlier this week, was primarily to photograph a Greenshank, a species I have so far failed to get. Unfortunately, the Bartails and the Greenshank were roosting together, so I knew it would be fraught, and it was! I approached the flock with some care, but they took flight. I managed to get a few shots before they settled again some metres away. At this point I decided against trying again, I felt they get enough disturbance without my adding further to it. The flock consisted of around 80 Bar-tailed Godwit, c.20 Greenshank and 10 Curlew Sandpiper. The Red-necked Stint prefer the Sorell side of the lagoon where there were approx. 700 stint with 2 Pacific Golden Plover. The GPs were surprisingly easy to approach, and I managed a few shots. The plover seem to prefer the open ground near the golf course, where they sometimes number over a hundred birds. Orielton Lagoon is still worth a visit.

Images: Upper left, Pacific Golden Plover; lower left, Curlew Sandpiper; upper right, Bar-tailed Godwit; lower right, Greenshank (and a solitary Bartail).

2 comments:

Denis Charlesworth said...

Hello Alan, I was interested to read your account of Orielton sightings.I also visited Orielton (on Thursday 26th ) As well as the species that you mentioned, I saw Little Egret (2) and Intermediate Egret(1). Other sightings were much as you saw. Interestingly there was one Godwit hanging out with the Greenshanks as shown in one of your photos. Perhaps it is having an identity crisis. I counted 21 Pacific Golden Plover near the golf course ( and retrieved 4 golf balls which I gave to a passing golfer ) I didn't see all of the Stints that you saw on Friday, counting only 385 at Cemetery Point. One was still in breeding plumage. I counted 13 Curlew Sandpiper mixed with Greenshank (17) at Greenshank Point. At Waterview Sanctuary I ran into Geoff Blakers who told me that he had just seen a large flock of Eastern Curlew at 5-Mile Beach. You're right, Orielton is still worth a visit.

BirdingTas said...

Thanks Denis. I'm sorry I missed out on the Intermadiate Egret, I haven't seen one for some years. The Eastern Curlew normally seem to roost at 5 Mile Beach these days, standing in the water, just to the North of the beach access. I don't like disturbing them there, because it is about all they've got left! The Curlew flock usually numbers around 70 or so, down from the 200+ of years gone by. The decline is Australia wide I believe. I must confess to collecting many golf balls too over the years, and using them myself on the rare occasions I've graced the golf course. I didn't mind losing them!