Coming back from spending some time at the family farm, I stopped at Hastings to have a look at the mudflats at low tide. Hastings has a popular fishing harbour as well as a mixed industry site. A good amount of work has been done to turn it into a seaside town with a growing tourism market. There is a nice tree lined walk right along the edge of the mudflats and mangroves. Pelican Pier has a cafe with great views of the harbour. I have not been there for a long time and I was surprised to find that it is a pretty interesting place with a lot of scope for bird and general photography. There is a pier with lots of fishermen in action at low tide, many birds (Ibis, Egrets, Spoonbills, Swans & Pelicans) out on the mudflats that move up closer to the shore when the tide comes in and at least a dozen Pelicans hanging around looking for a free feed from the fishermen as they fillet and clean their catch.
Hastings Harbour – heavy industry amongst the mangroves and Great Egrets
An old fishing boat wreck out on the mudflat island. I did not notice the hovercraft in the background until I processed the image.
Pied Cormorant – it took a bit effort to get the fish down. The cormorant kept juggling the fish trying to get it down head first. He got it in the end….
Silver vs Pacific Gull – to see the two together gives you an idea of the size difference – the Pacific Gull is a big bird.
Pelican – stretching and drying, and maybe telling stories about the one that got away….
Pelican – everything gets a stretch.
Pelican – with a long neck and bill you can pretty much reach anywhere….
Pelican in the mangroves
The pelicans did not mind me too much as I got in close while they waddled in to the fish cleaning tables. I took a number of close shots of their feathers, eyes and beak throat pouch skin
Jawbone Reserve is an easy to reach Marine and Park reserve along the shoreline of Williamstown. It has many water and heathland birds and a good list of 50+ species can be gathered in a few hours. Some of the bird visitors are seasonal but most are there all year round. It is an excellent site for beginners (birders and photographers) as the birds are generally used to the passing traffic and will ignore anyone on the paths. If you walk along the edge and stop and use a camera or binoculars they can get a bit edgy and some species will fly off or move away. Careful observations (and quiet calm movement) will result in rewarding sightings and photos. At low tide the outer lagoon drops right down exposing sand and mud bars and thousands of waders can cover the area. A birding scope is needed to get clearer views further out.
Jawbone Flora and Fauna Reserve, Williamstown, Vic – looking west towards Altona
Jawbone Flora and Fauna Reserve, Williamstown, Vic – looking out into the Bay across the lagoons and tidal flats.
Sharp tailed Sandpiper
3 Shags on a Rock – Little Black, Little Pied and Pied Cormorants
Mid Day Siesta – Swans, Stilts & Cormorant
Blue Billed Duck – one of only a few true diving ducks amongst Australian duck species.
Blue Billed Ducks – male with Blue Bill and the female. The female Blue Billed can often be mistaken for the rarer and endangered Freckled duck.
Great Crested Grebe
Black Winged Stilts – well named. In the strong wind they did have a little difficulty in maintaining their balance. When scared or flying they make a sound like a small barking dog.
During high tide at Jawbone many of the water birds move onto the sheltered lagoons including hundreds of Swans. When I visited this last week, there were a number of swans with neck tags. Previously I have researched what the tagging meant. If you see a swan you can go to the http://www.myswan.org.au site and log the bird. It is part of a study and research program. Once you log the swan via its tag you can get a bit of a history of it and where it has been. I once asked a researcher about the tag as I thought it might be a bit cruel but was advised that it does not bother the swan and is actually quite loose. The swan’s neck is quite thin and half of it’s width is actually feathers so the tag fits well. I logged the swans below.
Black Swan P45
Black Swan S75
Black Swan R47
Black Swan R45
Black Swan F09
Posted in Birds, Victoria
Tagged Australian Birds, Bird Photography, Black Swan, Black Swan Tagging, Black Winged Stilt, Blue Billed Duck, Great Crested Grebe, Jawbone Flora and Fauna Reserve, Nature Photography, Pied Cormorant, Royal Spoonbill, Sharp Tailed Sandpiper, Victoria