Steve Happ Photography Ramblings and dissertations

November 27, 2009

Stockton Sandspit 091127

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Stockton Sandspit Bird Photography

27th November, 2009

This morning I actually got out of bed and went birding. I know, its monumental. I got there about 6:30am and walked towards the northern end of the sandspit and there was this Black-shouldered Kite sitting on a low bush branch. I am not sure if he is a juvenile or not, it seems to me that he might be. Please comment if you know.

Black-shouldered Kite
Black-shouldered Kite (Elanus axillaris)

There were quite a few Black-tailed Godwits and Bar-tailed Godwits inside the lagoon when I first arrived and they moved onto the beach. I timed it really well because the tide was just starting to go out. That is the best time to go there. About two hours after high tide. There was a big flock of Eastern Curlews on the grass as well. The area has signs out warning to not go close to the lagoon section because the Pied Oystercatchers are trying to breed. Down on the beach I spotted this Gull-billed Tern flying around looking for some dinner. This one is in non-breeding plumage.

Gull-billed Tern
Gull-billed Tern (Sterna nilotica)

Every now and again, the Eastern Curlews get spooked and up they go. They fly around in a circle and then come back down. When they first come from Siberia they are usually a bit nervous. This one is half way round his lap. ha ha.

Eastern Curlew
Eastern Curlew (Numenius madagascariensis)

There were a couple of Little Terns who were feeding just in front of all the waders who were parked on the mudflat. These ones were in breeding plumage and you could quite clearly see the yellow beak and yellow legs, as well as the white patch on the forehead. They are classified as a Threatened Species in New South Wales due to nesting at flood-prone locations and predation of eggs and chicks by feral animals. So please keep your cat inside at night and keep your dog on a leash when going for a walk in the bush or along the beach.

Little Tern
Little Tern (Sterna albifrons)

There was a couple of Red-capped Plovers who were feeding along the edge of the beach. The Red-capped Plovers are resident at Stockton Sandspit and usually breed up on the island each year. Check out his head, its the same colour as the brick behind him. Too funny. And also note the size of the mangrove tree seed/ling beside him. That will give you some indication of the size of these little blighters. 🙂

Red-capped Plover
Red-capped Plover (Charadrius ruficapillus)

There were about half a dozen Red-necked Stints who were walking around behind the Red-capped Plover. It took me a while to work out the ID for this one, so thanks to Mark. 🙂

Red-necked Stint
Red-necked Stint (Calidris ruficollis)

There were a few Curlew Sandpipers who were hanging out around the back of the Bar-tailed Godwit pack. I almost forgot to mention the thousands of Red-necked Avocets.

Stockton Sandspit bird list 27/11/09

Rock Dove
Magpie-lark
Common Starling
Common Myna
White-faced Heron
Black-winged Stilt
Gull-billed Tern
Little Tern
Chestnut Teal
Eastern Curlew
Pied Oystercatcher
Superb Fairy-wren
Intermediate Egret
Black-shouldered Kite
Masked Lapwing
Bar-tailed Godwit
Black-tailed Godwit
Red-necked Avocet
Australian Pelican
Red-capped Plover
Curlew Sandpiper
Red-necked Stint

Recommended Resource

Field Guide to the Birds of Australia (Helm Field Guides)

November 25, 2009

Bicycle Birding along the Fernleigh Track

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Bicycle Birding along the Fernleigh Track

25th November, 2009.

The new section of the Fernleigh Track has just opened in Newcastle. It goes from Adamstown to Redhead at the moment. It follows the old train line that went from Newcastle to Belmont, my old home. It is meant for bike riders and walkers and goes through some glorious bush at the edge of Glenrock Nature Reserve and the bush from Whitebridge to Redhead is absolutely sublime. Anyway, enough of this gushing and on with the show.

I started off just after 6am. I wanted to get an early start so that it wouldn’t be too hot. It was an overcast day so that was good. Going up the hill at Adamstown I saw a few Rainbow Lorikeet and Australian Magpies. Then I spotted a juvenile Blue-faced Honeyeater. I was very pleased about this because it was the first time I had seen one. It did not have the blue face yet as it was only a young one. I am guessing it was between being a fledgling and a juvenile.

Blue-faced Honeyeater
Blue-faced Honeyeater (Entomyzon cyanotis)

There were quite a few other birds in the trees around the houses and the road – Galah, White-faced Heron, Grey Butcherbird, Australian Raven and Noisy Miner. After the tunnel that goes under the highway at Highfields, I saw a few Little Wattlebirds and this happy looking Laughing Kookaburra. They always look like they are having a good time.

Laughing Kookaburra
Laughing Kookaburra (Dacelo Novaeguineae)

I crossed the road at Kahibah and headed down towards Whitebridge. There were a few Crested Pigeons and Spotted Turtle-doves as well as this fantastic Bar-shouldered Dove.

Bar-shouldered Dove
Bar-shouldered Dove (Geopelia humeralis)

There was a noisy colony of Bell Miners along the track between Whitebridge and Redhead. I think this section of the track was the best section for bird watching and I spotted quite a few different good quality birds such as Eastern Spinebill, Golden Whistler, Spotted Pardalote, White-cheeked Honeyater, Red-browed Finch, Superb Fairy-wren and Dusky Woodswallow. I was also stoked to get another tick for the day with a White-throated Needletail. I thought it was a woodswallow until I had a good look at the photos. Unfortunately none of them were sharp enough but I am very happy nonetheless.

The lucky last bird for today was my personal favourite, the Rufous Whistler. They always seem to sing these lovely songs for me and sit up nice and close and pose for me. I reckon they listen to the camera shutter as well and cock their heads when they hear the camera going off.

Rufous Whistler
Rufous Whistler (Pachycephal rufiventris)

Fernleigh Track Bird List 25/11/09

Rainbow Lorikeet
Austrlian Magpie
Blue-faced Honeyeater
Galah
White-faced Heron
Grey Butcherbird
Australian Raven
Noisy Miner
Common Myna
Sulphur-crested Cockatoo
Little Wattlebird
Laughing Kookaburra
Crested Pigeon
Spotted Turtle-dove
Eastern Spinebill
Brown Thornbill
Bell Miner
Golden Whistler
Bar-shouldered Dove
Spotted Pardalote
Eastern Whipbird (H)
Dusky Woodswallow
White-throated Needletail
White-cheeked Honeyeater
Rufous Whistler
Red-browed Finch
Superb Fairy-wren

Recommended Resource

Field Guide to the Birds of Australia (Helm Field Guides)

November 21, 2009

Budderoo National Park Bird Photography 091119

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Budderoo National Park Bird Photography – 19th November 2009.

Barren Grounds
Barren Grounds Nature Reserve is situated on a plateau that is part of the Illawarra escarpment on the South Coast of New South Wales. It is composed mainly of dense heath and scattered woodlands. I started off by walking along the Griffiths Trail towards the Natural Stone Bridge. After a few hundred metres I heard this chirping and looked to the side of the track and there were at least three Southern Emu-wren. There were two males at least, possibly three. I hurriedly got the camera working and took a few photographs. I tried to get a bit closer but they moved away deeper into the heath.

Southern Emu-wren
Southern Emu-wren (Stipiturus malachurus)

I carried on down the track but did not see much more. There were heaps of White-browed Scrubwren, a Willy Wagtail or two, an Eastern Yellow Robin(of course, the posers). Do you notice that Eastern Yellow Robins always fly right in front of you and pose dramatically on the nearest branch. They are like those hideous amateur child actors – “Look at me, look at me, look at me, take my photo”. Ahem, now seriously where was I? Oh yeah, birds. There were some Superb Fairy-wrens and I heard an Eastern Whipbird, and a New Holland Honeyeater. And that was about it. Lame.

Minamurra Rainforest Centre
I went back down the mountain to the Minamurra Rainforest Centre after Barren Grounds Nature Reserve. It does not open until 9am. What is that? That is too late, that is what it is. Anyway, I went in and walked around the boardwalk which is great. There were Superb Lyrebirds scratching around near the centre but not much else. I saw lots of White-browed Scrubwren again, the same Eastern Yellow Robin flew down the mountain to get his photo taken, a Brown Cuckoo-dove and I heard an Eastern Whipbird and a Green Catbird.

I even did the mammoth trek up to the waterfall. The walk is really steep and tests your fitness. I had to rest quite a few times. It was tough going but I was glad I did it. I sweated about ten litres so that was good. The only photo I kept from here was one of a Water Dragon but that was even out of focus. 🙁

Carrington Falls
Carrington Falls is on the top of the plateau and is just past Barren Grounds going towards Robertson. It is not far from the road so it is easy to get to. The trail is reasonably short so it is a nice quick walk. The Carrington Falls themselves are quite spectacular and drop a really long way. Too bad there were hardly any birds around. I saw a Pied Currawong, a kookaburra, White-browed Scrubwren and an Eastern Spinebill. And that was it. pfft..

Budderoo National Park bird list 19/11/09

Southern Emu-wren
White-browed Scrubwren
Willy Wagtail
Eastern Whipbird (H)
Green Catbird (H)
Eastern Yellow Robin
Superb Fairy-wren
New Holland Honeyeater
Superb Lyrebird
Brown Cuckoo-dove
Pied Currawong
Laughing Kookaburra
Eastern Spinebill

Resources:

Field Guide to the Birds of Australia (Helm Field Guides)

Australia: An Ecotraveler’s Guide

November 20, 2009

Shoalhaven Heads Bird Photography 091118

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Shoalhaven Heads Bird Photography – 18th November 2009.

Shoalhaven Heads is just east of Nowra on the South Coast of New South Wales. It is the mouth of the Shoalhaven River but it does not run into the ocean but is blocked off with sand hills. There is a wide section of mud flats and sandy islands which are perfect for migrating waders. There were quite a few Bar-tailed Godwits so I was able to get quite a few photographs of them. Here is a shot that shows the under wing pattern in flight.

Bar-tailed Godwit
Bar-tailed Godwit (Limosa lapponica)

Here is a photo of the Bar-tailed Godwit showing the upper wing pattern. Notice also the slightly upturned bill.

Bar-tailed Godwit

Here is a photo of a Bar-tailed Godwit digging into the sand with its long bill. I noticed that the inside of the bill at the top is rather serrated. I had never noticed that before and have not been able to find any references to this online. If you have any further information about these serrations please comment on this post.

Bar-tailed Godwit

And here is a nice big close up that shows the feathering as well as the holes in the nostril or top of the bill. It also gives a good view of the feet and legs.

Bar-tailed Godwit

I noticed a few other water birds such as Australian Pelican, Silver Gull, Black Swan, Little Pied Cormorant, Masked Lapwing. I went for a walk along the river bank and saw a Great Egrets having a feed on what might have been snails right next to this rather excusive house. There were some Red Wattlebirds who were feeding this whinging fledgling. They were hunting in the long grass for what looked to be slugs or snails.

Red Wattlebird
Red Wattlebird fledgling (Anthochaera carunculata)

I then went along the front of the river flat and went around the island at the mouth of the river. There were a few trees on it and these New Holland Honeyeaters were having a great time flying around and chirping away merrily.

New Holland Honeyeater
New Holland Honeyeater (Phylidonyris novaehollandiae)

What else did I see? That’s right – a huge White-bellied Sea-eagle came flying over and all the birds scattered. She was massive and quite a sight. There were also two Whimbrels and a single Pacific Golden Plover. To sum up the afternoon, I got some really good close up shots of the Bar-tailed Godwits which I was really happy with because they have usually been a long way off.

Shoalhaven Heads bird list 18/11/09

Australian Pelican
Silver Gull
Black Swan
Little Pied Cormorant
Bar-tailed Godwit
Masked Lapwing
Australian Magpie
Spotted Turtle-dove
Red Wattlebird
Great Egret
Galah
White-bellied Sea-eagle
Australian Raven
New Holland Honeyeater
Fan-tailed Cuckoo (H)
Whimbrel
Australian White Ibis
Pacific Golden Plover
Yellow-tailed Black-cockatoo

Resources:

Field Guide to the Birds of Australia (Helm Field Guides)

Australia: An Ecotraveler’s Guide

November 18, 2009

Nowra Creek Bird Photography 091118

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Nowra Creek Bird Photography – 18th November 2009.

I was looking for another nature reserve and ended up at Depot Farm at the end of Depot Road in Nowra. It turned out to be the Nowra Creek walk and went to Picnic Point which is at the juncture of the Nowra Creek and the Shoalhaven River. It must be salty water right up here at Nowra because there were mangroves on the side of the creek. But I am far from being an expert on these matters and I was not going to taste the water.

I walked north from the Depot Farm picnic area along the banks of the Nowra Creek and met another guy bird watching who told me that there was a suspension bridge ahead which went over the creek and there was a track on the other side. At this stage all I had seen was a Yellow Thornbill and a few Superb Fairy-wrens. A Channel-billed Cuckoo was being harassed by some magpies on the hill and then I saw the weirdest thing. This Eastern Yellow Robin had an eye in its bill! It took me a while to work out what it was. I thought it had a mutation or something. A three-eyed Yellow Robin!

Eastern Yellow Robin
Eastern Yellow Robin eating an eye

I had crossed over the creek and was heading along the Shoalhaven River by this time. There were a few young Goannas sunbaking on the path as well as a Rufous Whistler and some White-browed Scrubwren. I saw a pair of Yellow-tufted Honeyeaters and they perched right close to me but I had the camera on the wrong setting and they turned out too dark! ( Should I really advertise my mistakes like this? )

Goanna
Goanna

There were a few notable birds after this – a female Satin Bowerbird, a pair of Dollarbirds, a Black-faced Monarch and a Red-browed Finch on the way back to the van. All in all I think it has great potential this spot because I did not get there until 10am which is way late in my opinion, and I was still seeing birds around mid-day. So I would have to give this place a big thumbs up.

rufous Whistler
Rufous Whistler singing

Nowra Creek Bird List 18/11/09

Yellow-tufted Honeyeater
Black-faced Monarch
Eastern Whipbird (H)
Yellow Thornbill
Eastern Yellow Robin
Channel-billed Cuckoo
Laughing Kookaburra
Grey Fantail
Chestnut Teal
White-browed Scrubwren
Lewin’s Honeyeater
Rufous Whistler
Yellow-faced Honeyeater
Sacred Kingfisher
Satin Bowerbird
Dollarbird
Red-browed Finch
Willy Wagtail

Resources:

Field Guide to the Birds of Australia (Helm Field Guides)

Australia: An Ecotraveler’s Guide

Conjola NP Bird Photography 091118

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Conjola National Park Bird Photgraphy, 18th November 2009.

Conjola National Park is on the South Coast of New South Wales between Ulladulla and Jervis Bay. I camped at Bendalong overnight and then drove down to North Bendalong when I woke up at 5am! I had breakfast while the Rainbow Lorikeets were also having their breakfast on the blackbutt blossoms above me. There were a few fights with the Noisy Friarbirds which did not go down well with my morning cuppa. Finally I was ready and set off down the track north towards Monument Beach.

blackbutt blossoms
Some blackbutt blossoms

The first birds I saw were some Yellow-tailed Black-cockatoos who flew past over head. An Eastern Spinebill came to sticky beak at me and scolded me for being around so early. In the tree tops a Channel-billed Cuckoo was being chased by a bunch of what I thought were magpies. I am sure that magpies are too smart to get sucked into looking after one of their eggs. A Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike posed for me demurely. I did a few over-the-shoulder shots but the light was really bad and they did not turn out too well.

I made it to Monument Beach which is named after a monument that was put up by people because a ship was wrecked there in 1870. I then headed up Cedar Road where a lot of flowering blackbutts were being raided by Red Wattlebirds, Little Wattlebirds and Noisy Friarbirds. I heard an Eastern Whipbird and finally saw him crossing the road and perched on one side. Unfortunately he was behind a lot of branches and I could not get a clear photograph of him.

On the way back I saw some Great Cormorants taking off from Nerrindillah Lake and a White-faced Heron was looking for a feed on the shore. I was surprised at how dead the lake was – these were the only birds that I saw on it.

Conjola NP bird list 18/11/09

Yellow-tailed Black-cockatoo
Noisy Friarbird
Rainbow Lorikeet
Eastern Spinebill
Channel-billed Cuckoo
Australian Raven
Superb Fairy-wren
Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike
Grey Fantail
White-browed Scrubwren
Red Wattlebird
Yellow-faced Honeyeater
Laughing Kookaburra
Little Wattlebird
Eastern Whipbird
Great Cormorant
White-faced Heron

Resources:

Field Guide to the Birds of Australia (Helm Field Guides)

Australia: An Ecotraveler’s Guide

November 17, 2009

Cullendulla Creek Nature Reserve 091117

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Cullendulla Creek Nature Reserve – 17th November 2009.

7000 years of past shoreline events are preserved in the uncommon chenier dune complex at Cullendulla Creek Nature Reserve. It is a place of outstanding scientific interest and has been studied by scientists from around the world. Cheniers are ridges of sand that form parallel to a retreating shoreline. Scientists believe these ridges are formed by the subtle action of low-energy wave wash.

Rufous Whistler
Rufous Whistler (Pachycephala rufiventris)

The Cullendulla Creek Nature Reserve is on the northern side of Batemans Bay which is on the South Coast of New South Wales. It starts along the edge of Surfside Beach and continues along the Cullendulla Creek. I followed the beach for a while where I found a few Yellow Thornbills and Superb Fairy-wrens who were flittering around in the Swamp Oak trees. These Swamp Oaks (Casuarina glauca) grow in dense stands just inland from the mangroves of Cullendulla Creek. They protect the creek banks where brackish and fresh water meet.

Great Cormorant
Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo)

On the sand bars there were a few Black Swans going for a surf and a single Pied Oystercatcher had the sand flats all to himself. There were more Black Swans in the creek with a couple of Little Pied Cormorants and Little Black Cormorants. Further up the creek some Great Cormorants were drying their wings. Around the trees I saw a Rufous Whistler and a male Mistletoebird. Some Galahs, Sulphur-crested Cockatoos and Yellow-tailed Black-cockatoos flew past at various times. Near the car park a few Rainbow Lorikeets and a mangy looking White-headed Pigeon were feeding at a bird feeder at a house and on the beach a single Sooty Oystercatcher flew past.

White-headed Pigeon
White-headed Pigeon (Columba leucomela)

Cullendulla Creek NR bird list 17/11/09

Rainbow Lorikeet
Yellow Thornbill
Superb Fairy-wren
Grey Fantail
Silvereye
Pied Oystercatcher
Sooty Oystercatcher
Black Swan
Little Black Cormorant
Little Pied Cormorant
Great Cormorant
White-faced Heron
Rufous Whistler
Mistletoebird
Galah
Sulphur-crested Cockatoo
Yellow-tailed Black-cockatoo
Cattle Egret
Australian Raven
Willy Wagtail
White-headed Pigeon

Resources:

Field Guide to the Birds of Australia (Helm Field Guides)

Australia: An Ecotraveler’s Guide

November 13, 2009

Rowes Lagoon Bird Photography 091113

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Rowes Lagoon Bird Photography – 13th November 2009.

Rowes Lagoon is just before Lake George on the highway between Goulburn and Canberra. I think it is the first rest area after you turn off the Hume Highway going to Canberra. Waterfowl and other wildlife depend on wetlands for survival. Areas such as Rowes Lagoon are threatened by siltation, drainage and pollution. The protection of Rowes Lagoon helps conserve Australia’s wetland wildlife.

The first thing you see here is a sign stencilled on a wall saying “Beware of Snakes”. So that really sets the mood. But when I was there it was cold and miserable and all the snakes would have been home in bed like any sane person instead of traipsing around the bush in the freezing cold. But anyway, I shall move on from my whinging and talk about the birds.

There were a flock of Straw-necked Ibis grazing out on the paddock and a few Welcome Swallows hurtling around the reserve. I could hear some twittering in the trees and eventually found the source of it – a heap of Yellow-rumped Thornbills who were hopping around on the grass pecking away and yabbering noisily. A couple of Galahs were feeding on the track, eating up all the yummy seeds from the grasses just nearby. A Sulphur-crested Cockatoo flew by skwarking noisily. A Pied Currawong suspiciously eyed me off from a nearby tree and a Nankeen Kestrel was hovering over some prey in the paddock. I could hear a raven calling plaintively in the distance.

Yellow-rumped Thornbill
Yellow-rumped Thornbill

The Yellow-rumped Thornbill (Acanthiza chrysorrhoa) group mainly in small flocks on the ground. The forecrown in black and spotted white. They have a white eyebrow with a dark eye-line and spotted cheeks. They are olive-brown above and creamy below. Their flanks are a buff wash with a dull yellow rump. The tail of the Yellow-rumped Thornbill is dark with a white tip. They are distributed throughout most of Australia except for the far north and some inland areas at the corner of New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia.

Yellow-rumped Thornbill

Rowes Lagoon bird list 13/11/09

Straw-necked Ibis
Welcome Swallow
Yellow-rumped Thornbill
Galah
Sulphur-crested Cockatoo
Australian Magpie
Pied Currawong
Australian Raven
Nankeen Kestrel

Resources:

Field Guide to the Birds of Australia (Helm Field Guides)

Australia: An Ecotraveler’s Guide

Cecil Hoskins NR Bird Photography 091113

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Cecil Hoskins Nature Reserve Birdwatching – 12th November 2009.

The Cecil Hoskins Nature Reserve is situated on the banks of the Wingecarribee River about 2 kilometres north of Moss Vale, NSW, heading towards Bowral. There is an access track about a hundred metres from the river, on the Bowral side. The reserve is 620 metres above sea level. It is in the Southern Highlands region of New South Wales.

That afternoon had been really hot, with strong north west winds making things very unpleasant. When I got to the Cecil Hoskins Nature Reserve, the clouds were just starting to come over and the southerly wind was blowing. At least it had cooled down heaps. I hopped out and went for a stroll along the river, which was fairly wide at this point, seeming more like a swamp than a river. I later found out that there was a weir further down the river.

Common Starling
Common Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)

I saw a few water birds such as Australian Wood Duck, Black Swan, Purple Swamphen on the river, as well as a few bush birds in the trees along the river banks. There were quite a few Superb Fairy-wren, as well as a Grey Fantail or two, New Holland Honeyeaters and Common Starling. Further along the river, I saw some Australian Pe1lican, Pacific Black Duck and Eurasian Coot. Well then the rain started so I rushed back to the van and read a book while I waited for it to stop.

When the rain stopped, I went around the bottom of the reserve , in the bush section. There were lots of Superb Fairy-wren around again. A young Sacred Kingfisher was calling out plaintively, and a troop of Silvereyes were scurrying around the blossoms in the eucalypt trees, trying to outdo the Brown Thornbills with their racket. I went along the river again and spotted a very young Laughing Kookaburra on a branch and he was just staring at me. I am not sure how well he could fly because he did not seem interested in flying away from me. So I just stared back at him for a little while and then left him alone.

Cecil Hoskins NR bird list 12/11/09

Australian Wood Duck
Black Swan
Purple Swamphen
Australian Pelican
Pacific Black Duck
Masked Lapwing
Dusky Moorhen
Willy Wagtail
Brown Thornbill
Australian Magpie
Laughing Kookaburra
Crimson Rosella
Silvereye
Sacred Kingfisher
Australian Raven
Grey Fantail
Common Starling
Superb Fairy-wren
New Holland Honeyeater

Resources:

Field Guide to the Birds of Australia (Helm Field Guides)

Australia: An Ecotraveler’s Guide

November 11, 2009

Newcastle Baths Bird Photography 091111

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Newcastle Baths Bird Photography – 11th November, 2009.

Last night I saw a Twitter post about there being some Common Terns at Newcastle Baths. Technology can have its uses sometimes, it seems. So this morning I got up nice and early and headed for the Newcastle Baths to look for these Common Terns. The tide was a bit high I was thinking and was not real confident. But when I got to the rock shelf out the back of the baths, there they were, hanging out with the Crested Terns.

Common Tern
Common Tern (Sterna hirundo)

I took a few photos of them and slowly snuck up on them to get a bit closer. Then I saw about half a dozen Ruddy Turnstones in a little hollow in the rocks. They are really hard to see with their excellent camouflage. I took a few photos of the Ruddy Turnstones and then went over to the end of the canoe pool, where there were another couple of Ruddy Turnstones.

Ruddy Turnstone
Ruddy Turnstone (Arenaria interpres)

I also saw what I think was a Short-tailed Shearwater, but I am waiting for an identification confirmation on that. Edit: Yes they were Short-tailed Shearwaters. They were reported as being here, so I am thinking that they are. Well anyway that was about it for the day. I was going to have a look at Stony Point inside the harbour, near the breakwater, but it seemed there was nothing much there, so I went home. All in all, it was a good morning because there is a possible two one tick in it. 🙂 Here is some information I found about the Common Tern.

Common Tern
Scientific name: Sterna hirundo
Family: Laridae
Order: Charadriiformes

In Australia we see mainly the non-breeding Common Terns which have a white forehead and underparts and a black bill. The Common Tern has a deeply forked tail and is a medium-sized tern. The non-breedin Common Tern has a conspicuous Black cubital bar and a dusky secondary bar on the upperwing and a dusky wedge on the outer upperwing. The legs are black or black faintly tinged with red. They breed in the northern hemisphere. The subspecies occurring in Australia is predominantly Sterna hirundo longipennis.

Queensland Tern ID Chart

Sources: birdinbackyards.net, environment.gov.au,

Resources:

Field Guide to the Birds of Australia (Helm Field Guides)

Australia: An Ecotraveler’s Guide

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