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Bird Log September 11th 2008

Today was an exciting day at the Stockton Sandspit on the Hunter River Estuary. I took a few photos of a bird that was banded and sent it away to the bird tracking people over at Broome , Western Australia. It seems that it was a Bar-tailed Godwit and had been tagged at the Yalu Jiang National Nature Reserve near Dandong in China. But I am getting ahead of myself. I started off across the river at the Kooragang Dykes. There were very few birds around except some egrets sitting at the entrance to the dyke fishing for little fish. So I went over the river to the Stockton Sandspit and saw the usual red-necked avocets and a few new birds that I had not seen before. Some of them I have had trouble identifying due to my noobishness but there may have been red-necked stints, a single grey plover, and a few other birds. Below is my full list.

Bird Species List

Bar-tailed Godwit

bar-tailed godwit
Camera settings were : 1/1600 second, f/5.6, ISO400 with a 400 mm lens. The camera was a Canon 40D. Aperture Priority

The Bar-tailed Godwit has a scientific name of Limosa lapponica. This migratory bird has a long slightly upturned bill, with a pink base. The Bar-tailed Godwit migrates from the far East of Siberia (around Yakutia) or the north-west of Alaska. Satellite tracking has found that some bar-tailed godwits fly direct from Alaska to New Zealand non-stop. Don't ask me how far that is but it is a long long way. They seem to go back via China and Siberia. Some Bar-tailed Godwits go to the area around Broome in Western Australia and are being tracked by researchers in that area. I sent this picture to the Global Flyway Network are received a response that this bird had been tagged at the Yalu Jiang National Nature Reserve, near Dandong in China. They responded : " The bird is a Bar-tailed Godwit and looks like a female from the size of the bill. This is a bird that has been banded in Yalu Jiang National Nature Reserve in the northern Yellow Sea in China (just across the border from North Korea)."
yalu jiang bird site
The location of the Yalu Jiang National Nature Reserve near the border of China and North KOrea.
Click here to download the Google Earth file of the satellite tagged Bar-tailed godwits.

Red Knot

red knot
Camera settings were : 1/1000 second, f/5.6, ISO400.

The Red Knot has a scientific name of Calidris canutus. They are a dumpy bird with a 3 centimeter bill. Their habitat is tidal sands and mudflats. They breed high up in the Arctic Circle and migrate between August and September to Indonesia, Australia and New Zealand. They return north in March or April. They seem to migrate in a couple of long hops and have staging areas in estuaries along the way.

Black-winged Stilt

black-winged stilt
Camera settings were : 1/1250 second, f/5.6, ISO400.

The Black-winged Stilt has a scientific name of Himantopus himantopus and has unusual long legs and black wings, hence the name, doh! The black-winged stilt feeds on molluscs, flies, aquatic insects, diatomaceous organisms, and brine shrimps. They breed from August to December and their nest is a depression in the mud or at the water's edge. They have four eggs and are incubated by both parent birds for 22 to 25 days.

Grey Plover

grey plover
Camera settings were : 1/800 second, f/5.6, ISO400.

The Grey Plover has a scientific name of Pluvialis squatarola. These migratory birds come from the breeding grounds of the Arctic tundra during the northern winter and return before the southern autumn. On their migratory route they have been seen during May at places like Osaka, Japan. In Australia the grey plover inhabits tidal sand and mud flats of coastal estuaries. They feed on crustaceans, marine worms and other invertebrates. They breed in Northern Russia, Alaska and Canada from June to July and have four grey-brown eggs.

Red-Necked Stint

The Red-necked Stint has a scientific name of Calidris ruficollis and are a migratory bird from the Arctic. The leave eastern Siberia in August and fly south through Mongolia, China, Japan, South-east Asia to Australia. Red-necked stints were spotted at Southern Hokkaido, near Hakodate, japan in early September this year. They breed from June to July in the Arctic and have four yellowish eggs with browny spots.