Hi all, went down to Lake Illawarra yesterday and
saw 53 species all in the same location - within the reserve and on the
fast drying lake just south of the Oasis Caravan Park (thanks Chris Chafer for
his earlier posting).
Highlight was at least 1000 Sharp-Tailed
Sandpipers present. Also present were 10 Marsh
Sandpipers, 4 Greenshank, about 200
Red-Necked Stints and about 50 Bar-Tailed Godwits. I
also saw a bird of interest but couldn't get close enough to it to be
confident of an ID. Unfortunately it was spooked by a Black Shouldered Kite that
was hanging around before I could get clarification on the pattern on the birds
scapulars. The bird to me looked close to a Little Stint,
as it had vague plumage features which are more akin to Little than Red-Necked
(I think). Little and Red-Necked Stints would be hard to separate in winter
The following features are the points of
1) Head shape appeared more "rounded" than the
nearby Red Necks;
2) Plumage was brighter than nearby Red-Necks with
a striking crown pattern (point 2)- the bird stands out, even after it flew to
another location some distance away I easily relocated it in the scope with
about a group of 40 RNs.
2) The crown was a rufous wash with a dark "stripe"
through the centre :- looking head on appeared "Broad-Billed Sandpiper
Like" (this was the most outstanding feature)
3) The Scapulars appeared to have a pattern
although this wasn't the distinct white V pattern - more like a broken line /
slight change in colour through the scapulars. However there was no
obvious rufous colour to any of the wing feathers.
4) Given the "freshness" appearance of crown and
wing feathers I would suggest that this was a juvenile bird
Anyway, I wouldn't be confident enough to claim a
Little (didn't get enough detail at close range) or "non Red Necked", but it
might be worthwhile checking out the spot if you're in the area - there's heaps
of good birding in any case.
Other birds present inlcuded both Royal and
Yellow-Billed Spoonbill, plenty of Whiskered Terns a
lone Little Tern and in the bush reserve adjacent to the lake
Shining Bronze Cuckoo, Fan-Tailed Cuckoo, Red-Whiskered Bullbulls
making plenty of noise with their distinct call and a flock of