I've been driving backwards and forwards past those Banded Stilts every day
for the last few weeks without bothering to stop and check what they were!
I'd just assumed they were all Black-winged until I read a note on Eremaea
about them. Certainly a magnificent sight, and so many juveniles amongst
them. I took a bit of a detour on the way home from work on Tuesday, and
had a good look at the stilts (I couldn't find ANY Black-winged at that
spot by the way) and also drove in to Hospital Swamps, where I gave up
trying to count the RK Dotterel - so thanks for persevering and giving us a
tally! Plenty of BW Stilts there, of course. I was also surprised by the
number of Great Egrets - this species is popping up on most wetlands
around the Bellarine at the moment, but were very thin on the ground only a
year or two ago.
I had a glimpse of what was probably a WB Sea-Eagle as well. They seem to
be more common now on the Bellarine side of Port Philip.
Any birding-aus readers looking to relocate might like to know that the
property next to Hospital Swamps is currently up for sale. I don't know how
much land is included, but it would be a good way to get some unusual
species on your backyard list, as they've had Lesser Yellowlegs, Red-necked
Phalarope and Ruff there over the years!
Enjoying summer in Ocean Grove
On Mon, Jan 16, 2012 at 5:09 PM, jenny spry <> wrote:
> Hi all,
> On a beautiful Sunday 15th the decision was made to do a loop drive down
> the Bellarine Peninsula to check out the local wetlands. Our first stop was
> Lake Lorne to look for Freckled Ducks again. They were there but mostly
> hidden on the islands. To make up for it though there were some
> Black-fronted Dotterels running around on the edge of the lake.
> The next stop was 13th Beach, down past Barwon Heads. Here we found that
> the tide was way out and a small group of stints and sharpies were feeding
> on the sand beside the rocks. Just past the path onto the beach we found a
> pair of Hooded Plover (or Dotterel depending on the list you are reading
> these days) with one immature bird that was almost independent from its
> parents. It was my first immature hoody and they are subtly beautiful with
> their soft grey colouring and shaded head.
> Scanning the ocean produced only one gannet and a few gulls but the sun was
> out and the wind gentle so it almost tempted me to sit down and contemplate
> the ocean. But that would get me covered in sand. I am not too keen on
> sandy beaches. If I had done the design work we would have green lawn grass
> right to the high tide waters edge.
> Next stop was Hospital Swamp and here we found our first “massed bird
> event” for the day. Along with Greenshanks, Marsh Sandpipers, Sharpies,
> stints, a single snipe and a few spoonbills there were at least 150
> Red-kneed Dotterels. They were feeding in a shallow inlet just before the
> car park at the end of the road and made for a magical sight. I wonder if
> they were all born at the swamp or does one of them put up a flag saying,
> “Red-kneed gathering here this weekend”, and then everyone converges from
> across the peninsula?
> From there we headed back down the very busy Barwon Heads to Geelong Rd and
> found our second massed bird event. We pulled off the road on the
> none-too-wide shoulder and saw thousands of Banded Stilts resting on the
> shallow verge of Lake Coonewarre. Another truly magic sight, and well worth
> a visit if you are down that way, but I would suggest doing it early as the
> heat haze made them hard to see through binoculars.
> The final wetland area we checked was the southern edge of Swan Bay and
> this provided our third and final massed bird event for the day. On the
> sandbanks between the Queenscliffe Lonsdale Yacht Club and the boat ramp
> there were at least 150 Bar-tailed Godwits.
> As we drove we collected sundry birds for our day list and I got home with
> 71 species on my list.
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