Steve Happ Photography Ramblings and dissertations

November 27, 2009

Stockton Sandspit 091127

Filed under: Birds — Tags: , , , — admin @ 5:45 am

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
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)


  1. Nice write-up Steve. I envy you guys being so close to Stockton and all the fantastic wader species you get up there. It’s such a great spot for birds.

    Comment by myoung400 — November 27, 2009 @ 10:05 am

  2. thanks Mark,

    I will have to get to Long Reef some day. that seems like a top spot as well..

    steve 🙂

    Comment by admin — November 27, 2009 @ 7:06 pm

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