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Birds

Short Stint at Long Reef.

On a day when we visited North Curl Curl Beach and Long Reef Headland, we saw a lot of birds, including three species we’d never snapped before.
At North Curl Curl, a Little Black Cormorant was being photogenic in the distance:

Willie Wagtails like to hang around the rocks and the pool at North Curl Curl:

This Australasian Darter was minding his own business when an Australian Raven took exception to his choice of perch:

The Ravens arrived in numbers, and ructions ensued:

The Darter decided it wasn’t worth the hassle:

The usual suspects like New Holland Honeyeaters, Little Wattlebirds, Superb Fairy Wrens, Indian Mynas and Crested Doves were all in evidence.

At Long Reef headland, we saw a Nankeen Kestrel hovering and diving on the wind:

Two Eastern Ospreys were also on the headland, keeping an eye out for fish:

Out on the rock platform, we saw the familiar sight of Sooty Oystercatchers, with those bills that always look to big for them to fly with:

Then Dave Noble, also at Long Reef that day, pointed out to us the Grey-tailed Tattler (Tringa brevipes), the first time we had encountered this handsome migratory shorebird, that nests in Siberian riverbeds and travels to the southern hemisphere for the Northern winter. By all reports, they tend to leave Australian by early to mid-April to return North, so we were probably very lucky to see these in April.

This one foraged closer to the edge of the rock platform, where the chop made for some interesting water shots:

As the shadows began to lengthen, we spotted this string of birds flying low over the platform:

When they alighted we were able to get a few shots. At first we thought they were two parents and some chicks. But we soon realised the size difference was due to the fact they are two separate species that just enjoy each other’s company! This was our first encounter with both species.

The larger of these is the Double-banded Plover (Charadrius bicintus), a migrant from South Island New Zealand who can be found all along the southern and eastern coasts of Australia from February to August. These are in their non-breeding plumage – when breeding they have a double band across the chest, one chestnut one black.

The smaller of these birds is the Red-necked Stint (Calidris ruficollis). Like the Grey-tailed Tattler, they migrate from Siberia too. They are usually identified by being the smallest common bird amongst Australian wader flocks.

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