Friday, November 24, 2006

South Arm Odds and Ends

I had a call from Bill Wakefield recently, telling me about a sighting of an unidentified wader near the mouth of the Clarence Plains Rivulet at Rokeby. The consensus was that it was probably a Common Sandpiper, a less than 'common' wader in Tasmania. Since then I've made a number of visits of short duration to the site with nil results. Of course it could be anywhere along this rocky coastline, from the rivulet to Howrah. In the past Common Sandpipers were regularly seen on the rocks at Bellerive Bluff, but with increased disturbance, that is not likely these days. At the rivulet there is often a roost of Pied and Sooty Oystercatchers, Pacific and Kelp Gulls, and occasionally White-faced Herons. They're somewhat inured to human disturbance--the road is only a few metres away-- and the birds are often very approachable. The White-faced Heron (at top), flew over me as I approached, and landed a short way up the beach, returning as I left. With increasing cloud cover and the threat of rain ( which rarely seems to eventuate these days), I moved on to Pipeclay Lagoon. While watching a pair of Pied Oystercatchers with 2 well grown young hurriedly moving them into a nearby paddock, I heard the unmistakable call of Fairy Terns. On further investigation I found the 2 birds at right, presumably a pair, fishing in the lagoon. These terns are occaisonally seen here, but usually later in the Summer, post breeding. Strangely, I couldn't find the usual flock of waders (Curlew Sandpiper and Red-necked Stint), but with recent very high tides, they may be roosting on the dry bed of nearby Calvert's Lagoon.

4 comments:

John & Shirley Tongue said...

We've been helping with wader counts at Ralph's Bay, and there are pretty consistently (at least at high tide) up to 15 or 20 White-faced Herons hang round the very bottom end (sounthern) of the bay, in amongst the saltbush, etc. Very 'stately' birds, except when they 'croak'!

We also called at the mouth of Clarence Plains Rvt yesterday - didn't see any common Sandpipers, but we did check that the Sooty Oystercatchers were still hanging around, for when we need to 'tick' them off in our attempt at "The Great Tassie Twitch" in January. They're not rare, but nowhere near as easy to find as the Pied.

BirdingTas said...

Clarence Plains Rivulet is probably the most consistent place during Summer to see Sooty Oystercatchers in the South, although the numbers do fluctuate. High tides the best time--very approachable for anyone wishing to take photographs.

Duncan said...

Good luck with the Uncommon Sandpiper, I'll be waiting for the picture. The last one I saw was on the rock beaching at the local sewerage treatment plant, they seem to love rocks.

BirdingTas said...

Don't hold your breath Duncan! There's a couple of kilometres of rocky 'beach' it might be on, and I have no intention of walking it. It was hoped that on a high tide it might appear at the rivulet mouth. It's been a while since I've seen a Common Sandpiper, but have recently seen and photographed, the American equivalent, the Spotted Sandpiper. There's a thought, perhaps I could do a substitution, doubt that most could pick the difference.