FW: Mid week birding in Brisbane

Subject: FW: Mid week birding in Brisbane
From: REID Colin <>
Date: Sat, 22 Mar 2003 23:43:00 +1000
 I'll try again, if you've already read my first e-mail and still want to
read the rest you may want to skip down a bit.... to "DAMN" !!

Hi All
> Another day off work mid-week means another opportunity to go birding!
> (Thank Godness for a 9 day fortnight!)
> Left home at 6.30 intending to catch the high tide at Manly at about
> 11.00, but stopping off on the way, at a spot in Murarrie (eastern
> suburbs of Brisbane.)
> The spot in question may be known to some local birders as the Edgell
> Ponds, being between Edgell's processing plant and the main railway line
> to Wynnum and adjacent to Bulimba creek. It is a difficult place to
> access and, possibly, not available to everyone. A couple of months ago
> the main pond had been completely dry, however I found it refilled and,
> in fact, the whole area very wet underfoot.
> A WHITE-FACED HERON flew ahead of me as a MANGROVE GERYGONE sang from
> its' habitat name. PLE-HEADED ROSELLAS flew over (they seem to disappear
> over the summer months to re-appear in the last few weeks?) while BROWN
> HONEYEATERS and MISTELTOE BIRDS chased and fed in the scrubby trees along
> the creek. SUPERB FAIRY WRENS called from the long grass and a
> WHITE-BELLIED SEA EAGLE flew lazily out of sight.
> I finally approached the pond - one has to work around the edge of the
> 'swamp' to get to the slightly raised track that leads to the water's
> edge - SWAMP and MOOR HENS scuttled for safety in their panicy way,
> flapping and squawking. Ducks numbers were obviously lower than in
> summer, due, no doubt, to the recent rains - I've noticed this at several
> locations, but BlACK DUCKS(25), HARDHEADS(2), GREY TEAL(6) nd CHESTNUT
> TEAL(6) along with 6 LITTLE GREBES paddled arily in circles, then, what's
> that, check again, ? a FRECKLED DUCK hiding behind the blacks!! looking a
> little apprehensive, but following the locals and trusting they knew what
> to do! This close to the coast! Unreal! I watched for a while then left
> without flushing anyone. On the way out TAWNY GRASSBIRDS and CISTICOLAS
> scolded and warned and I flushed a LATHAM'S SNIPE from beside the track.
> Alomost back to the car and 4 STRIATED PARDALOTES sparkled on the muddy
> riverbank.
> Good start, I'm thinking, now for a Dowitcher or two at Manly!!
> I was a little apprehensive, as to access the wader roost, one has to
> around a couple of security fences running down the rock wall to the
> water and with a 8ft 4inch tide predicted I figured I was gonna get a wet
> a... coming out after the tide had peaked! I needn't have worried as the
> bay was as flat as a tack (wht the hell does that mean?) and access and
> exit remained dry. 
> Groups of waders were still arriving as I walked quietly in, head down,
> face averted, no sudden movements, sit down slowly below the rockline.
> There was some shuffling and murmuring among the birds but they quickly
> decided to pretend I wasn't there as I pretended not to really look at
> them and we all got along famously! I began scanning the 3000+ BAR-TAILED
> GODWITS Well, I'm pretty sure they were mostly bar-tailed. As the new
> flocks flew in I checked but didn't see any white rumps/black tails and on
> the ground - couldn't tell the difference if any existed! (I think it's
> really cool the way the new birds are welcomed by the earlier arrivals,
> it's so sociable, then again, maybe they're complaining at having to move
> to allow the new ones a roosting spot - who knows!) On the island also
> were (all nos approx) 130 PIED OYSTERCATCHERS, 40 - 50 GREAT KNOT, 10 -
> 25 CURLEW and 7 or 8 GREENSHANKS completed the count. The only small
> waders  - a flock of 8 RED-NECKED STINTS

DAMN - sorry - continued from above.....

STINTs occasionally jigjagged around the water's edges. A surprise visitor
was a STRIATED HERON who snuck in almost under the radar on the far side of
the island and tried to disappear into the massed bodies.
I scanned the Godwits for over an hour. My bins are only samll - 8X25, but
they zoom to X 24 so are really handy when one is 'scopeless and want to
move around easily. I scanned at X8, I scanned at X10 I tried X24 and every
combination in between but no matter how hard I scanned I couldn't scam one
Dowitcher, never mind two, Asian or otherwise. A large number of the
collected species were turning to breeding plumage and I thought of them
heading North in the next few weeks. I hope they don't stop in Iraq.
         Once again I left without disturbing the birds and, returning to
the car, decided to head for Fisherman's Island - at the other end of
Wynnum, about 20 minutes drive. I got there just after 11.00 and checked out
the massed birds at the Visitor Centre - 100 BLACK SWANS, 100 ROYAL
1 INTERMEDIATE EGRET. I moved on down the road on the Bay side of
Fisherman's Island to the new artifical(?) roost being created by the Port
Authority. (For those of you not in the know, Fisherman's Island is an
artifical 'island' on the south side of the mouth of the Brisbane River. The
Port Authority have shown a keen interest in preserving and /or creating a
natural environment and it is a work still in progress.)
The roost is an area of muddy sand probably about 1 acre (?) in size
protected by an earthen wall. Unfortunately, for me, it could only be viewed
from the road through an 8 foot wire fence and as I arrived I could see
heaps of small waders scattered across the entire area. Being scopeless I
realised I wouldn't be able to identify many of the individuals so in
desperation I focused on the closest ones and squinting in the glare began
RED-NECKED STINT, RED-N,,,hang on, same size, short legs, stabbing action,
longer bill, obviously thicker and blacker, down curved, eyestipe, was that
a flicker of crown stripe?, check again as a Curlew Sand moved into view -
yes, definitly smaller and different action, yes, Oh Yes, OH
YES...BROAD-BILLED SANDPIPER... YAHOOOOO. I've been trying for this species
for the last 2 summers and had almost given up hope this year. Just to check
I lowered the bins and scanned around to look for others, then back again
and, Yep, picked it up again. This time closer, then closer again, until it
was the closest wader in the whole area! How lucky was this? At X 24 and
about 40 meters it was pretty damn clear! I savoured the moment for a while,
then again scanned the area. There were close to 500 small stint/sandpiper
sized birds plus a mixed flock of about 100 KNOT sleeping in the mirage like
heat, 200 BLACK WINGED STILTS and 50 CHESTNUT TEAL          
No way I could positively ID other small waders so after a final few minutes
watching my BBS twinkle off across the muddy sand I headed back to the wader
roost at North Wynnum. Oh, yes, as I was salivating over my new sandpiper a
pair of MANGROVE HONEYEATERS were flitting around the small trees and bushes
along the fence - take note John (?) - maybe a better chance for your
upcoming visit in a week or two.
        I got back to the North Wynnum wader roost and walked along the
track to find a new hide has been built! I hadn't been aware of it, but it
provided a nice shady spot to brew a cup of badly needed coffee and sort
through the scattered birds sitting out the high tide. 200 Godwits - again,
20 GREY TEAL and 15-20 GREY-TAILED TATTLERS - the latter perched
individually on the dead mangrove stumps. A LITTLE EGRET waded in the lee of
the mangrove backdrop and a GREAT EGRET flapped lazily overhead. Finishing
my freshly brewed coffee (I hate flask coffee so carry a small gas stove -
best buy I ever made!) I packed up and headed back towards the car park. 50
meters short and I stopped to check on several small birds flitting around
the grass and bushes when a rail/crake type bird suddenly appeared on the
left side of the track. I'm not sure who got the bigger surprise, but it won
the recovery race! Before I could really focus either my bins or my eyes it
shot across the track and dived into the long grass uttering a series of
sharp 'cricks'..... I'm almost sure it was a Spotless Crake, but being
another long sought after species as yet unticked - it will need to remain
that way! I sat and watched the spot from a  distance for some time, but it
must have had a bigger scare 'cause it didn't come back out.... so I called
it a day and headed home. 
Freckled Duck on the coast and Broad-billed Sand, I called it a good day!
> -- 
>   Colin Reid
> So many birds, so little time...... 
> -- 
> - Send your email first class
  Colin Reid
So many birds, so little time...... 

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