Recently I spent a few days down the coast working on the beehives and the garden. Each morning I visited a different spot on the Peninsula for a bit of bushwalking and checking on the local birds. On the third day I decided to revisit Flinders Back Beach – the scene of an old financial crime – I got my camera wet in strong winds and drizzly rain. $650 later my camera was repaired and a $40 camera rain cover purchased – lesson learnt. On this occasion it was again drizzly and the camera cover went straight into action. By the time I was on the beach it was sunny. Almost immediately I found a small mixed flock of Red-necked Stints and Double banded Plovers. After a while, watching, counting and photographing the flock, I walked around the point looking for the resident Hooded Plovers – now becoming rare on many beaches in Victoria due to increased disturbance, natural predation and people walking their dogs off lead. I usually see a few Hoodeds but this time I only found one adult. I hoped that a few more were tucked down into the beached kelp out of the cool winds.
Hooded Plover, Flinders Ocean Beach, Flinders, Vic
Flinders Ocean Beach, Flinders, Vic (the hooded plover is in the pic)
Double banded Plover – can be tricky to see until they move
Hooded Plover stretching its wings
Posted in Birds, Victoria
Tagged Australia, Australian Birds, Bird Photography, Double Banded Plover, Flinders, Flinders Ocean Beach, Hooded Plover, Mornington Peninsula, Nature Photography, Photography, Victoria
When I got home from the last twitch at Stockyard Point near Jam Jerrup, I saw a report for another rare vagrant to Victoria – the Little Stint. It was seen in the flock we had just left. Due to its brown/orange breeding plumage it stood out from the 100s of the plain grey over-wintering Red-necked Stints. Without the colour plumage it would have been identical to the others and no-one would have noticed it. We waited two weeks for another suitable weekend where the tide was high at a reasonable time. The weather, if possible, was even colder but at least newly purchased thermals helped keep me warm. It took a while to spot the little wader but an eagle-eyed and patient birder (Emma) finally found it – Lifer 347. We spent the next four hours watching it move from the sand spit to a small sand bank out of the strong cold wind. Much of the time its head was tucked in as it napped at high tide. When it looked up a dozen cameras would snap away. Several times it flushed and we thought we had lost it but it always seemed to come back to the same sand divot.
Little Stint Twitch, Stockyard Point, Jam Jerrup, Vic
Mixed wader flock, Stockyard Point, Jam Jerrup, Vic
Mixed wader flock
Little Stint and waders, Stockyard Point, Jam Jerrup, Vic
Little Stint and waders II
Little Stint III
Red Knot in bright breeding plumage and mixed waders
Posted in Birds, Victoria, White Browed Babbler
Tagged Australia, Australian Birds, Bird Photography, Curlew Sandpiper, Double Banded Plover, Little Stint, Nature Photography, Photography, Red Knot, Red Necked Stint, Red-capped Plover, Stockyard Point, Victoria
When I go to Greens Bush I like to drop in on Flinders back beach as well. There is a pair of resident Hooded Plovers on the beach that are surviving the conditions and the number of people that visit. It is a popular area, with the golf course above and the easy access to the beach at several points for locals and visitors. It is probably the closest point to Melbourne to find the Sooty Oystercatcher, the Hooded Plover and a good chance for the Black Faced Cormorant (though I have not seen them there yet). I visited twice on the weekend, once at high tide and again at low tide. At high tide the birds rest and groom at the high water mark waiting for the tide to turn and occasionally run into the waters edge for anything juicy that may become exposed or washed up.
Crested Tern & Silver Gull
The Hooded Plover is a closely monitored bird. It is endangered in many areas along the Australian coastline due to housing and commercial development and land clearing. It is particularly vulnerable to beach users especially dog owners. It lives and hunts on the sand and nests in scrapes amongst the sea weed at the high water mark or at the base of the dunes. It is hunted by cats, foxes and other predators and the nests are often disturbed or destroyed by walkers and dogs. Some councils will rope off areas when Plovers are nesting but so far I have only seen the Mallacoota council do this at Betka Beach. (On a busy day people did seem to stay clear of the ropes and the signs.) It is too bad that other councils don’t try it as well.
Hooded Plover II – hunkered down against the wind with plumage that helps camouflage against predators.
Hooded Plover III
Associating closely with the Hooded Plover was a Double Banded Plover. Due to its size I had thought it was a Juvenile Hooded Plover but I am happy to be corrected.
To Flinders Ocean Beach Part 2