Ruff sighting Cairns

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Subject: Ruff sighting Cairns
From: "Keith and Lindsay Fisher" <>
Date: Sun, 18 Oct 1998 14:20:14 +1000
Birds Australia-North Queensland Groups field trip to Redden Island, Cairns
was held this morning (18th).
Main highlight was a Ruff/Reeve on a sandbar at the mouth of the Barron
River. This bird flew in from Casuarina Point on the opposite bank when
disturbed by fishermen. The jizz was immediately different from familiar
species such as Sharp-tailed Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper and Redshanks. The
distinctive tail pattern of white edges and central black feathers was
noticeable as was slight white wing bars. The bird landed about 30m away on
a sandbar and was immediately scoped (30x), it moved around nervously and
looked awkward with its long legs which were a greeny grey.  The head
pattern was reminiscent of a Sharp-tail and a slight eyebrow was noticeable.
The breast pattern was a fawny coloured wash with a white under-belly which
would lead us to believe it was a juvenile bird. Whilst stationary it
stretched into the air showing a longish neck and a bill which was longer
than Sharp-tailed Sandpiper. It was observed for 2 minutes before it flew,
it headed inland and rose steeply into the air (a bit like snipe) and the
legs could clearly be seen trailing behind the tail. We have previously seen
Ruffs overseas, but this was our first sighting in Australia.

Keith & Lindsay Fisher
PO Box 2209, Cairns QLD 4870

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