21 August, 2011

I see red! I see red! I see red!

Thursday, I had a few spare hours so decided to head back to Tait's Point and Barwon Heads to see if I could manage any more success with the camera than I did on Tuesday.
Immature Pacific Gull
At Tait's Point I saw the falcons circling, heard the kites, saw the parrots and rosellas between the leaves but once again couldn't get a clear shot of anything. So, back in the car and off to Barwon Heads. I parked near the bridge and decided to walk across to the opposite side to take a few shots of the Heads from that direction. I was pleased to discover a pair of immature Pacific Gulls wading in the shallows of the incoming tide. As I approached, they kept their distance, but remained close enough that I could get some decent shots. As I snapped away, one disappeared only to return a few minutes later with a late lunch in the form of a small fish in its beak. Very cute, but not for the fish, I'm guessing.
Also cute were the flock of tiny wading birds which I discovered scurrying in and out of the shallows ahead of the incoming tide, constantly moving, looking for food. Reasonably unconcerned by my presence, they also let me snap away at will. Occasionally, they would fly up as a flock and then quickly settle again a little further along the shoreline, never too far away and always looking to see what the tide had delivered them.
Red-necked Stint
I hadn't seen them before so had no idea what they were. Initially I assumed they were all variations of the same species. They moved together as a flock, were similar in size and colouring and clearly fed the same way. All had white underparts and the majority had mottled brown backs. Some however, had red caps, brown backs and a black eye stripe extending from their beaks past their eyes.
It was not until I took my "catch" home and uploaded it then did a little research that I discovered that I was actually looking at two different species of birds. One - the mottled brown type - was I discovered the Red-necked Stint. The other with the red cap was in fact a Red-capped Plover.
Red-capped Plover
The stints had arrived from the Arctic regions of Siberia and Alaska where they breed during our winter months before travelling thousands of kilometres south, arriving - right on cue - in late August. The Plovers are wading birds like the stints, however by contrast, they are non-migratory, living here year-round throughout the country.
Either way, on this occasion, both species appeared to be foraging happily together in the shallows of the Barwon as they allowed me to take my shots.

No comments:

Post a Comment