Tag Archives: Stockyard Point

Return to Stockyard Point

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

Little Stint Twitch, Stockyard Point, Jam Jerrup, Vic

Mixed wader flock, Stockyard Point, Jam Jerrup, Vic

Mixed wader flock, 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, Stockyard Point, Jam Jerrup, Vic

Little Stint and waders, Stockyard Point, Jam Jerrup, Vic

Little Stint and waders II

Little Stint and waders, Stockyard Point, Jam Jerrup, Vic

Little Stint III

Red Knot and waders, Stockyard Point, Jam Jerrup, Vic

Red Knot in bright breeding plumage and mixed waders

Twitching at Stockyard Point

Stockyard Point near Jam Jerrup in Western Port Bay is a good spot for some high tide wader watching. Once the tide rises many of the waders move across from feeding on the exposed low tide mud flats to the sand spits for a bit preening and sleeping. One of the many species found here is the Australian Pied Oystercatcher, a fairly common bird found along the coast. Not so common and in fact not previously reported in Victoria is the (NZ) South Island Pied Oystercatcher. The SIPO is very similar looking to the Aussie version but with shorter legs, longer bill and different white plumage on the back and underwing. In late June a keen eyed birder spotted this NZ vagrant, and since then many birders have taken the long beach walk to the point to twitch for the SIPO.  On the day we trekked to the point, we spent many hours on the spit, met quite a few birders, found the South Island Oystercatcher (lifer 346) and photographed many other waders. In winter one does not expect to see many waders in Victoria but we were amazed at how many different species had over-wintered in the south rather than fly back to Siberia to breed. A few of the experienced birders suggested that it was due to a very good breeding season in the north in 2016 and that 1st year birds tend to over-winter rather than fly back north. It was long day, standing for 6 hours, exposed to bitingly cold southerly winds, at times wet, but it was one of the best days of birding I have seen.

Stockyard Point Twitch, Jam Jerrup, Vic

Stockyard Point Twitch, Jam Jerrup, Vic – a brief sunny respite from the cold and winds

Waders at Stockyard Point, Jam Jerrup, Vic

Hundreds of over-wintering waders at Stockyard Point

Waders at Stockyard Point, Jam Jerrup, Vic

II

Waders at Stockyard Point, Jam Jerrup, Vic

III

Eastern Curlews and Godwits at Stockyard Point, Jam Jerrup, Vic

Eastern Curlew and Bar-tailed Godwits

Eastern Curlews and Godwits at Stockyard Point, Jam Jerrup, Vic

II

Eastern Curlews and Godwits at Stockyard Point, Jam Jerrup, Vic

III

Eastern Curlews and Godwits at Stockyard Point, Jam Jerrup, Vic

IV

Godwits landing at Stockyard Point, Jam Jerrup, Vic

Bar-tailed godwits landing on a sand spit at high tide 

Waders at Stockyard Point, Jam Jerrup, Vic

6 species in this shot: Red-capped plover, Red knot, Curlew sandpiper, Red-necked stint, Terek sandpiper, Double-banded plover.

Oystercatchers_SIPO at Stockyard Point, Jam Jerrup, Vic

South Island Pied Oystercatcher (left) and Australian Pied Oystercatcher