Saturday, January 27, 2007

Mini Cold Snap

With a light covering of snow first thing this morning on Mount Wellington, and condition less than conducive for birding, or photography for that matter, I decided on a drive round the local coastline. I was hoping to get a few action shots of gulls, but even they seemed to have taken shelter elsewhere. A quick scan of the River Derwent did reveal one interesting sighting, two Arctic Skuas flying up river towards the City, definitely too far away to photograph however. I used to regularly see them as far up the river as Rosny Point, but in recent years you're more likely to see them at the mouth of the river. I moved on to the base of the Tasman Bridge, again to scan the river. As I pulled up, I noted a number of birds roosting in a she oak next to the road. There were probably around 50 or so birds, mostly 'puffed up' against the wind, but looking at them against the sky, made them difficult to ID. Moving the car to a better vantage point, revealed a mixed flock of Silvereyes, Greenfinches, a few Starlings, and around 20 Tree Martins--one pictured. Although the conditions were poor for photography, I just had to try for the Tree Martins as, up to now, they had proved photographically elusive. They're quite common around the bridge, as they nest in the construction holes. Well I managed to get a few, less than satisfactory shots, before something spooked them. They dived out with much 'twittering' and quickly disappeared from view. Ah well, maybe next time!


Duncan said...

Not only photographically elusive Alan, identification elusive too. They've had me grinding my teeth waiting for one to pause for long enough for me to see if its a Tree or Fairy Martin ;-)

BirdingTas said...

Well Duncan, it's much easier in Tassie, as the Fairy Martin is sufficiently rare to not have to consider it. Conversely, it's unfortunate that we rarely get them. I have enough trouble sorting the immature "trees" from "welcomes", in some situations. Just take pity on me when I was confronted by 5 species of swallow,in the US,and most of them immatures. And not familiar with any of them.