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Bird Log 30th July 2008

I had a very interesting day today when I went to the Stockton Sandspit on the Hunter River Estuary, near Newcastle, Australia. The Stockton Sandspit is at the northern end of the Stockton Bridge which you cannot miss. I met a guy that was doing research on the feeding of the wader birds. He was digging up samples of the worms and crabs etc that were living in the mud flats where the wader birds were feeding. He told me that Red-necked avocets have upturned bills because they feed on micro-organisms on the top of the water and they use their bills to scoop them up. That is why they are always wading in a little bit of water. I also took some photos of an Australian White Ibis catching a little crab and eating it. They generally feed on aquatic invertebrates, mostly crayfish and mussels. I also saw a male superb fairy-wren but failed to get a photo of it as I did not have my camera in my hand when i saw it. doh!

Bird Species List

Masked Lapwing

masked lapwing
Camera settings were : 1/1250 second, f/8, ISO200 with a 400 mm lens. The camera was a Canon 40D.

The Masked Lapwing has a scientific name of Vanellus miles. Masked Lapwings feed on insects and their larvae, and earthworms. The habitat of the Masked Lapwing is mainly swamps, mud-flats, beaches, and grasslands. Adults have a black crown head, white underneath, and particularly distinctive yellow mask that hangs down between the bill and the eyes. During breeding, they lay three to four eggs in a shallow ground nest from June to October in the south and from November to May in the northern regions.

Eastern Curlew

eastern curlew
Camera settings were : 1/1250 second, f/8, ISO200 with a 400 mm lens.

The Eastern Curlew has a scientific name of Numenius madagascariensis. They breed in Siberia and fly along the East Asian Australasian Flyway to wetlands as far south as New Zealand. The Eastern Curlew is the largest of the migratory wading birds. Their size is from 60 to 66 centimetres. Their long elegantly curved bill is designed for probing in mud-flats for worms and crustaceans. Their long olive-grey legs allow them to wade in boggy areas. In Queensland the Eastern Curlew is listed as rare.