Steve Happ Photography Ramblings and dissertations

October 4, 2009

Hunter Wetlands Bird Photography 091002

Filed under: Birds — Tags: , , — admin @ 1:46 am

Hunter Wetlands Bird Photography, 2nd October, 2009.

Little Egret
Little Egret (Ardea garzetta) in breeding plumage

Kooragang Dykes

Today I went for a boat ride along the Kooragang Dykes, just over the river from Stockton Sandspit. Liz and Chris asked me to come along to take photos of any birds that were tagged or banded. We did find a number of birds that had been banded, a Pied Oystercatcher and a Bar-tailed Godwit. I would be interested to know where they came from. The weather was a bit sloppy with a south-east wind chopping up the river somewhat. Also the tide was going the opposite way to the tide, so that did not help the general bumpiness.

Pacific Golden Plover
Pacific Golden Plover (Pluvialis fulva)

There were a mob of Pacific Golden Plovers roosting along the dykes – about thirty or forty of them. I also spotted at least one Grey Plover with the Golden Plovers and could clearly see the black armpit as he flew away. About ten Pied Oystercatchers were there as well and one of them had a band on. A Little Egret in full breeding plumage was feeding at the edge of the water where the tide was running out. I saw a pair of Eastern Curlews and about twenty Black-winged Stilts with a few young ones amongst them.

Pacific Golden Plover
Pacific Golden Plover

There were a few Curlew Sandpipers amongst the Golden Plovers and about forty Common Greenshanks were roosting closer to the water. I got a good look at a Pied Cormorant sitting on a dead branch.

Pied Cormorant
Pied Cormorant (Phalacrocorax varius)

Common Greenshank
Common Greenshank (Tringa nebularia)

Stockton Sandspit

After we pulled the boat out we went over to Stockton Sandspit to see if there were any Bar-tailed Godwits over there. We had the obligatory morning tea, and thanks to Liz and Chris, they had a spare cup. I forgot to pack some lunch, again! There were a few Bar-tailed Godwits over at the Sandspit, as well as some Eastern Curlew and Black-winged Stilts. A big mob of Bar-tailed Godwits with Red Knots were feeding on the sandbar with the usual mega-flock of nervous Red-necked Avocets.

Common Greenshank
Common Greenshank

A few little Red-capped Plovers were running over the mud flats like hyperactive schoolkids and a Caspian Tern and a Gull-billed Tern were hiding amongst the Bar-tailed Godwits and Red Knots. We saw at least one Bar-tailed Godwit with a band, but I could not make out the numbers on it.

Eastern Curlew
Eastern Curlew (Numenius madagascariensis)

Kooragang Dykes and Stockton Sandspit Bird List 2/10/09

Pacific Golden Plover
Pied Oystercatcher
Sooty Oystercatcher
Little Egret
Curlew Sandpiper
Common Greenshank
Grey Plover
Chestnut Teal
Australian Pelican
Eastern Curlew
Black-winged Stilt
Bar-tailed Godwit
Red-necked Avocet
Gull-billed Tern
Caspian Tern
Red-capped Plover
Red Knot
Australian White Ibis
Superb Fairy-wren
White-faced Heron
Little Black Cormorant
Pied Cormorant

Here is Liz’s bird count:

Species – Kooragang Dykes 2 October 2009 [9.10 – 9.55am]

Eastern Curlew [50]
Common Greenshank [60]
Grey-tailed Tattler 1
Sharp-tailed Sandpiper [5]
Curlew Sandpiper 3
Pied Oystercatcher 14 Yellow flag H7
Pacific Golden Plover 55
Grey Plover 1
Little Egret 3
Great Egret 1
Caspian Tern 3
Australian Pelican 44 1 dead
Pied Cormorant 8
Little Black Cormorant 8
Darter 1
Royal Spoonbill 1
White-faced Heron 5
Chestnut Teal 40+
Brown Honeyeater H

Species – Stockton Sandspit 2 October 2009 [10.15 – 11.13am]

Black-tailed Godwit y
Bar-tailed Godwit y White flag BLN
Red Knot y
Black-winged Stilt y
Red-necked Avocet y
Gull-billed Tern y
Black-shouldered Kite 1

March 16, 2009

Bird Photography Kooragang Dykes 090314

Kooragang Dykes Bird Photography 14th March, 2009

Note: Click on a photo, to get a larger version.

Today I had a boat ride to the end of the kooragang Dykes thanks to Liz and Chris from the HBOC. When we got there the Bar-tailed Godwits and Black-tailed Godwits were roosting. The Bar-tailed Godwits were a little fatter than the Black-tailed Godwits because they leave for the Northern Hemisphere about a week earlier in April than them.


The breeding plumage of the Bar-tailed Godwits as well as the Black-tailed Godwits is beginning to show. In this photo you can see the russet colours in some of the birds. There are also a few Pacific Golden Plovers in this photo.

Godwits and golden plovers

You can also see some of the Pacific Golden PLovers in this photo are starting to get their breeding plumage. The Pacific Golden Plovers get a black front with a white edge around it. Note that the Bar-tailed Godwit has a slightly upturned bill, whereas the Black-tailed Godwit has a straight bill which can be a little pinker.

Godwits and golden plovers

There were a few Pacific Golden Plover a little further west by themselves. Note that in one bird on the left, the white stripe that goes around the eye and down the chest is starting to form.

Pacific Golden Plover

That is about it, thank you very much to Liz and Chris for their excellent advice and for the boat ride. 🙂

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