Yeseterday, myself and David Mitford spent an hour
or so in the early morning at Boat Harbour, Kurnell (about 20
km south of Sydney and south of Botany Bay) in just about prefect
conditions with the tide still high and being fairly overcast (quite ideal
conditions to look at waders in the early morning). We saw on the Pimelwi
rocks 10 Pacific Golden Plovers, 2 Lesser Sand Plovers, 100 plus
Red-necked Stints, 16 Ruddy Turnstones, a Wandering Tattler and 9 Sooty
Oystercatchers, an Eastern Reef Egret and 1 Little and 3 Common Terns amongst
the Crested Terns and Silver Gulls.
It was good to catch up again the Wandering Tattler
in Sydney. We got some great looks at it, initally roosting and preening with
the Turnstones, than it got up and started to feed along the edge of the Pimelwi
rocks for a a bit of a feed making its disitinct "ti..ti..ti..ti.." call
(not like the peu-wee call of the Grey-tailed Tattler) and after watching it for
an hour, if flew off with some Turnstones to feed on the just exposed
Merries Reef further out (which is accessible at around the peak low tide).
Besides its distinct call, other features that seem often consistant in
identifying the Wandering from the related Grey-tailed Tattler is the thin
(sometimes almost appearing non-existant in some individuals)
whitish supercilium line before the eyes that does not extend
over the forehead, which is dark grey as is its crown and the rest of the
upperparts. The Grey-tailed Tattler has a broader whitish supercilium which
usually passes over the eyes and both meet over its pale forehead.
The Grey-tailed Tattler is usually a paler shade of grey on the head
and upper parts than the Wandering, but I have seen some
relatively dark individuals on a beach near Brisbane over a year
ago. Both species do occur on reefs though this is prefered by
the Wandering Tattler.
We also briefly checked out Shell Point to find 12
Grey-tailed Tattlers (some appearing fairly agressive to each other), 30 or
so Bar-tailed Godwits (mainly seen in the distance at Towra Pt), a few Eastern
Curlews, a Pacific Golden Plover, Pied Oystercatchers and several Little
Terns (mainly in the distance at Towra Pt).