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Bird Log August 28th 2008

Bird Species List - Stockton Sandspit

Caspian Tern

caspian tern
Camera settings were : 1/1600 second, f/8, ISO400 with a 400 mm lens. The camera was a Canon 40D.

The Caspian Tern has a scientific name of Sterna caspia. They are the largest tern in the world and they dive for their prey in rivers and lakes and the seashore. They mainly feed on fish and plunge into the water after hovering, then folding their wings in and diving in to the water, emerging instantly. Their distinctive features are their size and their huge red bill. Non breeding caspian terns like the bird above, have a motley black cap instead of the dark black cap of the breeding bird. Caspian Terns are distributed throughout Australia, Northern America, Eurasia and Africa.

Eastern Curlew

eastern curlew
Camera settings were : 1/4000 second, f/8, ISO400 with a 400 mm lens.

The Eastern Curlew has a scientific name of Numenius madagascariensis. They breed in the northern hemisphere at Siberia during the northern summer and migrate south to Australia and New Zealand about September each year. The Eastern Curlew will migrate up to ten thousand kilometers and will hop from a chain of wetlands on their massive journey. A bizarre fact is that the young will travel south after the adults have left and it is a mystery how they find their way to places like the Stockton Sandspit in Newcastle. Do they have an instinctive memory of the earth's magnetic fields or is it a combination of alignments of the sun, the moon, or stars?

Pied Oystercatcher

pied oystercatcher
Camera settings were : 1/1000 second, f/11, ISO400 with a 400 mm lens.

The Pied Oystercatcher has a scientific name of Haematopus longirostris. They are an unmistakable bird with bright red beak and eyes. And also are a contrasting black and white as opposed to the sooty oystercatcher which is all black. The pied oystercatcher is distributed all around Australia and most common in coastal Tasmania. They like to feed in intertidal flats, beaches, and estuaries. They like to eat molluscs, worms, crabs and small fish. The chisel shaped beak is used to break open oysters and other shell fish. They are on the threatened species list and their eggs and chicks are under threat from feral animals such as foxes, dogs, and cats, as well as ravens and various raptors.