Wandering Tattler, Caloundra, SE Qld, Nov 2010.

To: "Birding-Aus" <>
Subject: Wandering Tattler, Caloundra, SE Qld, Nov 2010.
From: "Robert Inglis" <>
Date: Thu, 4 Nov 2010 09:58:21 +1000
Now is the time to be looking for Wandering Tattlers (Tringa incana) returning 
to eastern Australia.
On Monday, 1st Nov, I found the first one for the season (a juvenile) at Caloundra Head on the Sunshine Coast, SE Queensland (ref: Brisbane UBD Refidex Sunshine Coast Map 100 R16).
The next day I managed to take some photos of that bird and these can be seen 
by going to:
Click on the images in the Wandering tattler gallery.

Caloundra Head is probably the best place to see this species with up to 11 
individuals being recorded together in past years.
The birds may be anywhere on the rock shelf between Shelly Beach and King's 
Please be aware that this area contains areas of large and small rocks which 
can be difficult and dangerous to traverse.
Also, there are extensive areas of very slippery surfaces so extreme care is 
required for personal safety.
This particularly applies to any photographers who are intending to try to photograph the birds there. Carrying heavy camera gear makes the need to be careful even more imperative.
Even the flat rock-shelf areas can be extremely slippery.

I would also ask bird-photographers to be very careful when approaching the tattler/s. Wandering Tattlers are particularly jittery upon arrival so please do not rush at or crowd the bird/s.
After the tattlers have been in residence for a few months they can be much 
more obliging and much easier to photograph.
Once they have built their bodies up again they are probably more likely to be found 'loafing' in locations more easily accessed and approached by bird-watchers and bird-photographers. At the moment they are more likely to be indulging in a feeding frenzy and will be constantly on the move making photography particularly frustrating.

Photographers, please try to take time for the bird/s to get used to you and 
try to avoid sudden movements.
Wandering Tattlers feed in the rocks at the edge of the tide, particularly 
where there is wave movement.
That part of the environment can be extremely dangerous for photographers to 
Wave surges are one of the more unpredictable events that can be encountered.
Also be aware of the other birds in the area and try not to disturb them 
unnecessarily while 'stalking' the tattler/s.

I have spent a considerable amount of time photographing this species over the past few years and I have found it is possible to get reasonably close to these birds if one is prepared to take the time. Even so, I would suggest that the use of high powered telephoto lenses are the ideal equipment to use, preferably in excess of 400 mm. Last Tuesday I spent several hours 'working' carefully and slowly with the bird in my images until I was able to get the shots I was happy with. The bird gradually increased its tolerance of me but I still had to rely on a very high-powered camera/lens combination plus some cropping in the processing of the images.

Be aware, also, that the area of Caloundra Head is open to the public and their dogs. It is particularly popular on weekends but most of the visitors are not bird-watchers.
Weekdays are better and I was very lucky on Tuesday with the area being 
unusually devoid of humans.
The photos in my gallery were taken at the King's Beach end of Caloundra Head.
Note: Some people will know "Caloundra Head" as "Wickham Point".

Good luck

Bob Inglis
Sandstone Point


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