The Joys of Wader ID at the Tail End of Summer

To: Birding Aus <>
Subject: The Joys of Wader ID at the Tail End of Summer
From: knightl <>
Date: Wed, 23 Apr 2003 18:23:27 +1000
I was out photographing the late leavers [and overwinterers] at Thornside the other day. Not realising that Thornside is a couple of hours behind the Brisbane bar, I arrived at dead low tide rather than the middle of the incoming tide. There were still plenty of godwits about, and one male was virtually in full breeding plumage [so I guess it will be departing shortly]. There were also quite a few grey tailed tattlers and terek sandpipers and a couple of great knots.

There was a mangrove bittern lurking along the waterline, but it scarpered [about a kilometre] while I was moving to get the sun behind me. Similarly, the flock of golden plovers disappeared after I stumbled on their lurking place. The red capped plovers and red necked stints were also well camouflaged and hard to see at first glance. The RN stints made the RC plovers look big, and some of them indeed had reddish necks and heads. [I will get around to putting some RNS shots on Oz Birdpix].

Also of interest was a greenshank that appeared to be transiting to its breeding plumage - knot-like mottling on its coverts and chestnut barring on its secondaries. The interesting thing is that the basal third of its bill appeared to have a yellowish tint - a bit like the illustrations of a Nordmann's Greenshank in the field guides. Do common greenshanks develop a yellowish tint on the basal part of their bills when they are in breeding plumage? [As usual, the field guides don't mention it]. I have placed a couple of shots on Oz Birdpix.

Regards, Laurie.

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