Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Waders--Marion & Barilla Bays.

A trip to Marion Bay this morning found modest numbers of waders. At the spit end was a small mixed flock of 7 Knot and 15 Bar-tailed Godwit (photo at bottom) They seemed pretty determined to feed on the rising tide, but were still pretty wary of close approach. Although Knot are reasonably common in Tasmania, numbers seem to have declined in recent years and the 7 recorded here, is the largest flock I've seen in recent times, (photo of 3 of the Knot at top). As I walked back along the outer side of the bay, I heard the soft piping call of Hooded Plovers and was just quick enough to see a flock of 7 pass me by as they flew off towards the spit. I walked on, thinking that the beach was near empty of birds and perhaps I should have walked back along the inside beach, when another unmistakable call , this time Fairy Terns, brought me out of my 'trance'. This flock of 5 adults, noisily passed by and landed on the beach some 50 metres or more away. I then realised that I really had been walking in a trance. They had alighted amomg a flock of 20 or so Red-necked Stint feeding on the sea's edge, which I must have passed unseen. Further scanning through my binoculars, produced a total of around 150 stint along the shore--I really must concentrate more! On the drive back along the track, I was pleased to see several Striated Field Wrens, the first I've seen in this area for sometime, although I suspect they're quite common here, if the habitat is any gauge.
While I was writing this, Bill Wakefield rang. He too had been "wadering", with more success than I had. He had seen a Little Stint and a few Pectoral Sandpipers with Sharptails, at the Northern end of Barilla Bay. So if I get a chance, guess where I'm heading!


Anonymous said...

We saw about 35 Sharp-tailed Sandpiper on a large farm dam at Woodbury the other day, but haven't seen any Pectorals for some time. We might have to head to Barilla Bay shortly, too!

Anonymous said...

Once you find the Little Stint you can contribute to the discussion at http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?p=746526
about what are the distinguishing marks for one at this time of year. Judging by the photos on that page, 'not many' seems the answer.