Friday, April 28, 2006

Sandspit Sortie

Journeyed up to the Sandspit River, just South of Rheban, earlier this week. I haven't visited the area in several years and I was quite surprised at the changes to the river mouth. If anyone has any doubts about global warming and the effects that is having, here might be a good place to start. The dunes on the South side have all but disappeared and much of the bank edging Earlham Farm has been undermined. While I was there an inhabitant of the small coastal village was placing rock on the shore to at least slow the erosion of his property. But you may ask, what about the birds!
On the approach to the small coastal community, through the Earlham property, there was many Eastern Rosellas, and a few Green Rosellas, numerous Musk Lorikeets, a flock of Welcome Swallows hawking the paddocks, White-faced Herons and the usual Magpies, Miners and Butcherbirds. At the river mouth there were several Red-necked Stint (only one showing any "colour"), 4 Double-banded Plover, c.25 Red-capped Plover and a pair of Hooded Plover (pictured). I found only 3 Pied Oystercatcher, who spent most of their time playing chase, a few Pacific Gulls and a flock of around 30 Crested Tern (some pictured), of which at least 5 were carrying bands.
I spent sometime watching the Hoodies among the many Soldier Crabs,(see top pic) mainly because I have seen them eat them in the past. Obviously Soldier Crabs are low on their list of preferred food, as after watching for 30 minutes or so, they didn't show any interest in them at all. Presumably these crabs shed their 'skin', and go through a 'soft' shell stage, at which time they might be more appealing!

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