I visit Bastion Point each year to try and find the elusive Reef Egret. It has eluded me on 5 visits to Mallacoota. Many other birders seem to find and photograph the egret but I just keep missing it. I loop around the usual coastal spots where it likes to hunt in the rocks pools at the change of tides. While I miss the Egret I do quite often come across the Sooty Oystercatcher, a nice sized wader with all black plumage, bright orange/red eyes and bill and thick pink legs. The Pied Oystercatcher seems much more common than the Sooty and Bastion Point is a good location to find and photograph it (while waiting for my hoodoo bird to turn up)
While the Pied hunts across inlets, bays and waterways and is often seen in large numbers, the Sooty Oystercatcher prefers ocean facing rocky outcrops where it pries off molluscs from the rocks and catches small crustaceans wading in shallow rock pools. I often find them in pairs even in non-breeding season. I am always keen to try and find and photograph the Sooty.
Sooty Oystercatcher, Bastion Point, Mallacoota
The ocean beach side of Bastion Point, Mallacoota
Sooty Oystercatcher feeling for prey in a rock pool
A pair of Sooty Oystercatchers
Pied Oystercatcher, Shipwreck Creek, Mallacoota
As a follow up to my high tide visit to the Flinders Ocean Beach. My second visit to Flinders was at low tide. There were many more people around, exploring the rock pools, walking on the beach and fishing off the exposed reef. I found the Hooded Plover again further along the beach where piles of seaweed and kelp had washed up. There was no sign of the juvenile Hooded Plover and I hope he was hiding up in the grasses on the sand dunes away from all the activity. A few more bird species were around at low tide.
The area looked incredibly different at low tide. The mushroom shape of Mushroom Reef was exposed. At high tide the waves can come right up to the wooded steps.
Mushroom Reef Marine Sanctuary – at low tide. At high tide the water comes up to the wooden steps
White Ibis feeding in the grasses along the beach edge – there was something they really liked as they just munched away on whatever was living in the grass.
Sooty Oystercatchers and a Little Pied Cormorant – one of the Oystercatchers was Banded (yellow and silver rings)
I noticed that one of the Plovers was banded. There is an extensive banding program to monitor the Plovers across Southern Australia
Hooded Plover pair
Keeping low into the wind and catching anything that the waves bring in..
Hooded Plover – keeping low and facing into a strong wind
I was surprised to see blokes fishing way out on the last set of rocks at the edge of the reef. The waves were getting bigger and starting to crash near them and we have had bad weather and ocean warnings all week. They were at least packing up as I watched them and took some pics.
Posted in Birds, Flinders Ocean Beach, Hooded Plover, Little Pied Cormorant, Mushroom Reef, Sooty Oystercatcher, White Ibis
Tagged Australian Birds, Crazy Fishermen, Flinders Ocean Beach, Hooded Plover, Mushroom Reef Marine Park, Sooty Oystercatcher, Victoria, White Ibis