Lake Wollumboola and Comerong Island (NSW South Coast) - 17th March 2002

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Subject: Lake Wollumboola and Comerong Island (NSW South Coast) - 17th March 2002
From: "Edwin Vella" <>
Date: Mon, 18 Mar 2002 20:03:47 +1100
Myself and Bill Slight spent yesterday looking for various waders around the Shoalhaven area (approx 180 km south of Sydney CBD).
While we were down there we had a brief look around Orient Pt for the resident Beach Stone-curlew but it did not show itself at the time we were there. Historically, there was supposed to be a breeding pair of this endangered bird in the Shoalhaven area. Has anybody seen more than one bird here recently.
At Lake Wollumboola we did not see the usual crowd of waders as the water level has been quite high but saw in a shallow offshoot from the lake, 8 Double-banded Plovers (juv./immature/non-breeding adult birds), 2 Red-necked Stints and a few Red-capped Plovers. On the lake itself were 2 pairs of Australasian Shovelers amongst a few hundred Grey and Chestnut Teal as well as a few Australasian and Hoary-headed Grebes. There were also a pair of Bar-tailed Godwits by the edge of the lake. A pair of Whistling Kites also called and circled overhead.
At Comerong Island (from the northern side of the Island and opposite Shoalhaven Heads), we saw more waders as the tide was falling out. We saw a good number of Double-banded Plovers (40), Red-necked Stints (60) and Red-capped Plovers (20) all crounching down a bit away from the water's edge and below the dunes, as they tried to camouflage themselves in the sand. Some of these were half buried in the sand and they were a bit hard to see at first. Several of the Stints were starting to obtain breeding dress and some were juv. birds.  On the waters edge there were 130 Bar-tailed Godwits (a few just about in full breeding plumage) and 2 Great Knots amongst them were starting to assume breeding plumage. A Caspian Tern (in non-breeding plumage) was among them and there were also 2 Pied Oystercatchers on the beach.
Further up the estuary and in the saltmarsh or amongst the mangroves, more waders were seen which included 3 Pacific Golden Plovers, 2 Red-kneed Dotterels, 7 Sharp-tailed Sandpipers, 2 Eastern Curlews and a pale looking wader which we could not see well as it tucked behind the Sharp-tailed Sandpipers but looked a bit taller. The bird was too out of reach to get a better look but I suspected it to be something common. 
Back towards Shoalhaven Heads a Mangrove Heron was feeding and another Pied Oystercatcher was seen.
A good day to be out and about with hot summer weather still lingering about on the NSW coast.
Edwin Vella
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