Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Broome 2017 _ Wave The Waders Goodbye _ Day 07

Day 07

My flight back to Melbourne via Perth left at 6pm so I had the day around the BBO ...

... to lounge in the newly constructed Kitchen, walk a track or two and then do some serious wader watching on an incoming tide. My only bird image of the morning walk was a White-throated Gerygone.

White-throated Gerygone Gerygone olivacea

The plan for the wader watching was simple. Take a low chair, sit a hundred metres out from shore, in the mud, and wait for the tide to “drive” the waders towards me. Nigel Jackett, BBO Warden, has some fabulous images of birds obtained with a similar but way more serious technique of lying on a boogie board in the mud. Being at eye-level with the birds is best but I didn’t have a wetsuit so decided a low chair was the nearest I wanted to manage. Here are the results in Christian Name alphabetical order.

Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica

This Barwit has GGT and GrK friends with him.

Great Knot Calidris tenuirostris

Grey-tailed Tattler Tringa brevipes

Lesser Crested Tern Sterna Thalasseus bengalensis

Little Tern Sternula albifrons 

Marsh Sandpiper Tringa stagnatilis

Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres

Terek Sandpiper Xenus cinereus

Whiskered Tern Chlidonias hybrida Non-breeding adult.

So now that you have seen heaps of waders, here are two wide-angle shots. See if you can identify the birds. My answers in the next post.

Monday, 18 September 2017

Broome 2017 _ Wave The Waders Goodbye _ Day 06

Day 06

This was the last day of the course. Our excursion today was to visit the sites and sights around Broome itself. Birds seen included Red-headed Honeyeater, Little Curlew, Striated Pardalote at the Water Treatment Plant but no Semi-palmated Plover, Ruddy Turnstones and Pacific Golden Plovers within sight of nesting Ospreys on the docks and the obligatory Tawny Frogmouth in a tree in the Woolworth’s car park. It was in the same tree as in November last year at Ashmore Reef Pelagic time.

Eastern Osprey  Pandion cristatus

Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres

Striated Pardalote Pardalotus striatus substriatus

Tawny Frogmouth Podargus strigoides

Back at base it was Wader Watch time. I went down to the cliff top a bit earlier. Whimbrel, Ruddy Turnstones, Marsh Sandpiper featured for me. The others arrived and we concentrated on watching waders looking to see if they were lining up on the mud, listening to the calls. Sometimes there would be false take offs where birds would lift off, sometimes quite high [5-700 metres] and in good numbers [50-100] and you would reckon, “That’s it. They’re off”, but, no, suddenly they would all come back down. It was as if no one individual bird felt competent or ready enough to lead off heading north with the setting sun on its left shoulder. Another day done.

Here are views of the bay at low tide. The guys in the boat just had to wait for the incoming tide. It was a ten metre difference between low and high tide!

The birds are well spread out at low tide. Just a few Eastern Curlew in view. These would have been 500 metres away.

We wondered if an Eurasian Curlew may have been present. At these distances, the only distinguishing mark would be  a clean white rump for the Eurasian so plenty of flight shots were taken. No Eurasian Curlew detected.

Eastern Curlew Numenius madagascariensis

But some birds do come closer.

Marsh Sandpiper Tringa stagnatilis
These need to be differentiated from Common Greenshank. The Marsh is quite a bit smaller and has a white rump and wedge up the back (see image 3). Q. What are the two birds at the back?

Brown Goshawk Accipiter fasciatus