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.