Over Summer the Western Treatment Plant, associated wetlands and conservation ponds are home to many thousands of migratory birds that spend the breeding season in the Northern Hemisphere: Northern China, the tundra of Arctic Siberia and along the eastern Eurasian Arctic. After the breeding season the shorebirds birds migrate down south of the equator and spread out over the Southern Hemisphere including Australia and New Zealand. The return to and introduce first year birds to their favourite feeding grounds. At the Pooh Farm there are thousands of Sharp-tailed Sandpipers and Red-necked Stints, and many Curlew Sandpipers, and a number of Common Greenshanks and Godwits . Every now and again a rarer species turns up. This year we have had Pectoral Sandpipers, now becoming a regular in low numbers, a few Broad Billed Sandpipers and an exciting visit by a Red-necked Phalarope. A number of regular birders patrol the main shallow lagoons looking for a rare find. It can be difficult as many of the birds look the same, come in a variety of colours and plumage even within a species and may appear as a single slightly different bird amongst thousands.
This Summer I visited with a few neighbourhood birders including Dave, an experienced birder who has specialised in various shorebirds over the years. He managed to spot the Broad-billed Sandpiper, a stint sized species with a long flat bill. On two separate occasions, amongst thousands of birds, Dave has managed to find this little bird based on its features and its habit. The Broad-billed Sandpiper became my 321st Lifer and my 318th State Tick.