A day at Penrice Salt Fields, Adelaide

To: birdingaus <>
Subject: A day at Penrice Salt Fields, Adelaide
From: "Chris Sanderson" <>
Date: Sat, 3 Feb 2007 00:52:02 +1030
Hi all,

Just wanted to report a great day at Penrice Salt Fields in Adelaide.  I was
fortunate enough to have Trevor Cowie of the SA Ornithological  Association
agree to show me around the area.  We started with a quick look over the
mudflats at St Kilda, with many Sharp-tailed Sandpipers and over a thousand
Black Swans (by far the most I've ever seen in one place before), before
heading into the salt works.  After a few wader-related stops not producing
more than a few sharpies and some Curlew Sandpipers and Red-necked Stint we
reached the area where Slender-billed Thornbills are often seen.  Not to
dissapoint, the birds put on a distant show, with at least the olive back
and the pale yellow rump visable, but not much more.

After this we headed over to the central road where waders are easier to
see.  Our very first stop produced the goods, the Hudsonian Godwit showing
well, first getting a standing look (though we had to wait a while to see
the bill to confirm the ID - it was under the wing for some time), and then
wonderful views of the bird flying, showing the white over and underwing
strips very clearly.  It was associating with a group of 49 Grey Plovers at
the time.  We headed further down the road to see the few remaining Banded
Stilt at the facility - with so few at the salt works right now there may be
another breeding event about to occur.  Heading back to the area with the
Godwit and Grey Plovers we tried to locate any Golden Plovers that might be
in the area.  We eventually found them in the vegetation amongst the Grey

At this point I need the help of the list.  One Golden Plover was seen (from
a distance) to have primaries extending at least one bill-length beyond it's
tail tips.  Its primaries were clearly longer than the other Pacific Golden
Plovers it was associating with.  I was wondering what the minimum length
the primaries must be beyond the tail tips before American Golden Plover can
be considered as an ID?  Other features supported a possible AGP, with a
strong white brow, and a greyer cast to plumage than surrounding Pacific
Golden Plovers.  I suspect this bird will remain unidentified, however any
input to the contrary would be welcomed.

At the end of the day I added at least two new birds to my list and had a
great time to boot.  If you're in Adelaide in summer I'd highly reccommend
at least attempting to get to the salt fields.  The SAOA run regular walks
in the area while the waders are there, see for more details.


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