Congo - NSW South Coast

Subject: Congo - NSW South Coast
From: "Paul Mahoney" <>
Date: Tue, 22 Nov 2005 11:59:05 +1100

The added information makes me far more comfortable with an ID of Sanderling. The option that I had thought of was Red-necked Stint, but had discounted it due to the ruddy / dirty colour on the nape which I am sure you would have noticed.

I have regularly seen Turnstones on sand before - in fact, they are far easier to find on sand than in rocks where their cryptic colour makes them disappear. When on rocks, they are only readily spotted by seeing the movement (but they are generally a 'busy' bird when on rocks.


To: "Paul Mahoney" <>
Subject: RE: [canberrabirds] Congo - NSW South Coast
Date: Tue, 22 Nov 2005 11:40:13 +1100

Hi Paul,

I dont mind people disagreeing, in fact I prefer feedback or comments on
sightings Im not 100% sure on.
I believe im not very good at identifying waders yet but spent a lot of
time trying to identify these birds, although I had no field guides with
me at the time.

I had both Red-cap Plovers and Sanderlings in the same bin view while they
were at rest so I could see the slight size difference. At one point I had
Redcap, Sanderling and Turnstone together resting on the beach.
When low tide arrived the Sanderling fed continuously in the surf.
Sticking together and running in and out as the small waves broke trying
not to get too wet. They fed for ages like this moving slowly along the
beach where the creek emptied into the ocean. They then seemed to spend a
little time feeding on the nearby exposed rocks along with Red-cap
Plovers. Mostly resting but sometimes feeding before working the nearby
sand again always on the waters edge.
The colour was very white overall but obvious greyish upper body and
distinctive greyish wedge down crown when seen head on. Almost a white
neck too.
I understand from the Eurobodalla NHS annual reports i have at home that
Sanderling arent that common but these birds didnt quite look like stints
(only other option i can think of). I think Red-necked Stints are more
brownish above rather than grey.
Please correct me if i am wrong and please suggest alternative species??

And the possible Turnstone spent hardly any time on rocks as its supposed
to. It was resting on the beach, although it was high tide and there
werent many rocks exposed. When low tide arrived I couldnt find it again,
but possibly saw it flying about further out on the rocks, where all the
godwits had flown as well.


"Paul Mahoney" <>
22/11/2005 11:28 AM


RE: [canberrabirds] Congo - NSW South Coast


Much as I hate to disagree with a person's identification when I have not
seen the bird myself, there are some aspects of your identification of
Sanderling with which I am uncomfortable.

I was watching a small group of Sanderling in a flock of Ringed Plovers
yesterday.  Because Sanderling are very pale (almost white) at this time
year, they look smaller than their measurements suggest.  Despite being a
little larger than Ringed Plovers on measurements, the Sanderlings looked
a size with the smaller, darker bird in the field.  Additionally, it would
be unusual to find Sanderlings associated with rocks - they are generally
bird of the beach and forage running in and out with the waves.

For your consideration.


>Subject: [canberrabirds] Congo - NSW South Coast
>Date: Mon, 21 Nov 2005 10:35:28 +1100
>I spent Saturday on the south coast of NSW at a little place called Congo
>(near Moruya). Highlights were 3 Sanderling and what I think may be a
>Ruddy Turnstone (maybe an immature or non-breeding bird after checking my
>guides. Other possibility is a dirty Red Knot?). The bird at high tide
>tried to sit among the resting godwits but wasnt allowed, so it
>sat close to the sanderling and plovers further up the beach.
>Also present on the beach were the usual Sooty and Pied Oystercatchers (4
>each), plus 24 Bar-tailed Godwits.
>The Sanderling (identified by size, colour and behaviour) were sitting
>quietly in the sand during high tide among the 8 or so Red-capped
>The Sanderling were slightly larger then the plovers (Red-necked Stints
>are slightly smaller) and were generally greyish above and white below
>with dark legs and a dark short bill. As the tide receded the Sanderling
>and plovers foraged on the exposed rocks as well as the usual sand.
>No sign of any Little Terns yet and the usual shoerbird breeding area had
>no fencing this year!? People were walking through it and kite surfers
>were laying there gear there. Can anyone tell me why the fencing wasnt up
>or dont Little Terns or any other threatened birds breed at Congo
>just Red-capped Plovers?
>On the way home outside Broulee I saw a Square-tailed Kite fly over the
>road while driving. Im about 90% sure as the squarish, almost forked,
>was distinctive, despite getting only a brief look.
>And at the Batemans Bay marina there was at least 1 Tree Martin among the
>swallows. Eastern Curlew were seen at Batemans Bay and Moruya Heads.
>I stopped briefly on the drive in at a picnic spot along the Deua River
>(close to Deua National Park) where I heard Cicadabird, Eastern Whipbird
>and Olive-backed Oriole.
>Marnix Zwankhuizen
>Ngunnawal  ACT
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