Monday, October 15, 2007

Grey-tailed Tattler Revisited

The Grey-tailed Tattler that overwintered in Ralph's Bay at Lauderdale, is still hanging out there. I think it's suffering something of an identity crisis. Some of the time it hangs out with the larger waders, Bar-tailed Godwits and a lone Whimbrel, and at other times with the much smaller,Red-necked Stints. I recently
managed to catch it on its' own as it fed along the edge of the Lauderdale Spit. As always, I was interested in what it was feeding on, and with the benefit of digital photography, all was revealed!
Tattlers behave similarly to their close cousin, the Common Sandpiper. When disturbed, they fly low over the water, wi
th a flicking action of the wings. It also "teeters"--the nervous bobbing of head and tail.
This individual allowed me to follow it closely as
it fed, and I made the most of it, taking several shots, a few are shown here. As you can see in the lower shot, it was feeding on small crabs, in fact, very small crabs. Eventually, I must have got just a little too close, and I watched as it briefly swam away, probably no more than a metre, before resuming feeding. It was time to leave it in peace.

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