Monday, November 17, 2008

Ups and downs at the beach

Day for a sea change. Don't travel out to the coast often. The waders are always too far away and without a hide there's no catching birds unawares.

But hope springs eternal. So when a dead low tide coincides with a promising dawn I head to Taylor's Beach and its wide expanse of tidal sands, channels, and patches of mud and sea grass, fringed in part by giant mangroves.

Hopes quickly unsprung! One Black Butcherbird visible in the mangroves and a few unseen Mangrove Gerygones. A Silver Gull (Larus novaehollaniae) sidles over, mistaking me for a fisher or crabber. Hangs about until it sees I'm no source of a free feed.

Squelch out on the flats thinking something will turn up. Something does. Hunched low on the sea grass, a Striated Heron (Butorides striatus). One of the wariest birds when chanced upon elsewhere unconcerned by me up to about 20 metres. No luck, however, with pictures of the bird snapping up prey.

The gull dropped in close again. But it persisted in moving as I tried for those pool reflection shots we think must be winners - and never are!

But what initially looked a lot of wet sand and almost no birds gradually showed more promise. No flocks of migrants, yet dotted here and there small numbers of resident plovers, dotterels, knots, tattlers, curlews, godwits, whimbrels. All more or less as expected.

Less expected was catching two Bar-tailed Godwits (Limosa lapponica) almost sharp as they whizzed by and finding a usable image of a far-off Grey-tailed Tattler (Heteroscelus brevipes) taking off.
Not all that's expected of a sea change, but not so dusty.


mick said...

Great photos - and all my kinds of birds! The photo of the heron is especially good - I find they are usually very hard to get close to.

Denis Wilson said...

None of those birds occur on my hillside.
Nice shots.
Striated Heron seems to be an Asia-wide species. Not familiar with it.
Nice shots of the Godwits and Tattler.

Mosura said...

Yes we do love to be beside the seaside. I like that shot of the Godwits's.

Duncan said...

The Godwits are nice, but I like the Tattler picture Tony, tells a story.

Tyto Tony said...

Hi Mick: This bird certainly gave me a bit more trust than they often do. I had to walk a semicircle round it to get the light behind me.

Hi Denis; most here call it a Mangrove Heron.

Hi Mosura: I was lucky to get both birds at different wing points yet with heads and tails showing out.

Hi Duncan: Definitely all luck and no art in getting tail fanned for takeoff.

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Tony

I finally caught up with the Striated (Mangrove) Heron at Bermagui last week.
Glad you had posted about it - for that helped me with the ID.

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